Green Design 

WGBH IdeaLab: Designing Green and Equitable Communities

Language:
welcome back it's been a good day so farwe have one more excellent panel for youwhere we're gonna get into topics ofarchitecture and urban design and anddoing that in a socially equitable andwith social justice in mind put it thatwaybut before we do that this is our eighthyear doing this now a lot of good ideasover the past eight years and a lot ofgood projects have actually come out ofthis and none of this would happenwithout the generous and sustainedsupport of the candida fund die kniveswhere are you stand up take a bowreceive our adulation please we thankyou it's been wonderful and weappreciate it and we have a special wellI don't know tribute two minutes of loveheaded your wayso enjoy[Music][Music]all right so thank you thank you you andyour assignment is to go home tonight inbinge watch all of that you'll be somuch smarter trust me all right let'stalk about redesigning communities in amore equitable way in a greener way animportant topic our next speaker workswith small businesses community leadersand residents to build economic power inNew York in the Bronx we won't mentionthe world champion Red Sox in hispresence oh I guess I just did so sorryabout that his commitment to radicaleconomic transformation is evident heorganized young people around the issuesof sustainable economic developmenteducation reform and voter educationplease welcome Norman Nunez[Applause]perfect great alright chahello again I'm GermanI'm the director the just urbaneconomies program at MIT collab in thatcapacity I help advance the Bronxcooperative development initiative inthe Bronx which is what I'll be talkingabout today and shout out to Gristalright so what is the Bronx corporatedevelopment initiative and before I golike deep deeper into the model and theidea surrounding and stuff like that letme just tell you a little bit about theBronxso the Bronx is and I guess I could goyeah the Bronx is huge its 1.5 millionpeople if it was a city in the UnitedStates be the seventh largest city inthe country and if you grew up in theBronx or live in the Bronx chances areyou're poor it's the poorest urbancounty in the United States chances areyou're obese we have the highest rate ofobesity in in New York chances are youhave asthma highest rate of asthmachances are you're living in dilapidatedhousing right your landlord is trying tokick you out or has been you knowignoring the the building altogether andletting it fall in in disrepair and ahost of other things so the Bronx isoften characterized for all thosenegative statistics negative trends butat the same time while all that is truechances are you'll be near the world'slargest food distribution center theHunts Point Terminal Market it's adistribution point for 48 states 55 youknow foreign countries you know thehusband terminal market is in zip code104 74 and there's barely even likeenough supermarketszip code 104 so before you know also atthe same time you'll probably be aroundlike a large hospital or a university ora large what we call anchor institutionso even though you're probably brokeyou're on your way to work or on yourway to school or you know walkingthrough the neighborhood you're sort ofwalking by a massive in you knowinstitution right and and or chances areyou'll be around like one of the city'slargest commercial corridors we have afew for the road for example is the NewYork City's third largest commercialcorridor it gets as much foot traffic aslike Herald Square and you know in inthe city where the big Macy's big Macy'sis so all those things we call hopefulcontradictions and I just wanted to makesure I provided that and I'll talk moreabout hopeful contradictions becausethis is sort of what helped start theinitiative that this perspective thisway of looking at the borough was whathelped develop the energy and the visionthat became the bronze cooperativedevelopment initiative but BCE I wasreally started by grassrootsorganizations community organizers thathave been organizing the Bronx for along time particularly around issues ofequitable economic development and theyhad a self critique so they sat togetherI should say we all sat together and westarted saying what's up with you knowthe way we're doing organizing rightbecause if you put our organizingstrengths on a graph you know verticallyyou're let's say over over time you canargue we've been getting stronger andstronger we're joining larger and largercoalition's we're coordinating more withsocial media we're contacting ourmembers a lot more regularly a lot morerapidly we're doing trainings a lot moreeffectively a lot more frequentlyum every year we're putting out annualreports that are showing you know we'rewinning all these policy fights orwinning all these victories over andover and over again and if you take ourorganization's for that same amount oftime and looked at the residents thatare in our catchment area they've beengetting poorer and poorer so there's adisconnect between our victories and ourfolks owning and controlling the assetsthat are driving the policy changeswe're fighting in the first place and atthat point we basically asked ourselvesthe question how can we shift ourorganizing so that we could position ourour folks to own and govern the economyessentially right what would it looklike if we owned it what would it looklike if we ran it what would it looklike if we built it what would it looklike if we planned it right and fromthere we started to take seriously allright let's do that let's shiftorganizing how do we proactively buildbuild that capacity so we decided tothat we need to do an analysis right weneed to do a study let's look at all theassets in the Bronx because we generallyhad that attitude when I describedbefore right we always get characterizedfor our negative statistic so we saw allthese amazing things that we wouldalways tell that we would always youknow project that was central to towerorganizing so what we wanted to do wasstudy that more so we built apartnership and there's a whole storybehind that with MIT MIT collab shoutout to collab whoo-hoo we basicallydecided let's analyze the whole Bronxand do a development study so that'sonline you can looked at it looks at thethe boroughs assets their potential forshared wealth creation which was centralto what we wanted to do as well how weenvisioned a different economy for theborough in an outline short term mediumterm and long term projects for it andthat sorthelped the stakeholders that wereinvolved in this process thinkcritically about what could be look atassets that we didn't even realize youknow we had right in the borough andjust create a lot more room and space inthe like planning and the designing oflike what should our kind of you knowour local economy be we also did thiswas this was really hard to do initiallywe also did what we call our economic webuilt our economic democracy trainingseriesso as we're sitting together you knowyou can imagine I'm in a I'm in a roomwith like a bunch of senior organizersand directors and we're like alrightwe're gonna do this and then someone'slike yeah but if really we're gonna haveour members lead on this work they gotto be trained they got to be trained onthis who knows what economic democracyis like no one knows that economicdemocracy is like we got a do deep likecapacity building I'm deep training deepeducation so German go maker to you knowgo make a toolkit come back and then youknow we'll train our staff or leadersyou know all that kind of stuff sothat's what we did we made a 500 pagecurriculum it's also online you can goto call collab that MIT that either youit'll it's open source you can use itfor whatever you like it details 10modules and if and it breaks downexactly if you wanted to facilitate howto facilitate down to like each sectionwhat sentences you know you can say sowe did so we did those two things we didtraining and we did our analysis andthat led to us going alright now whatare we gonna advance advance in theborough and this is a picture of exactlyhow that was so this was just one of theretreats and the way we went about itwas we took the Bronxlike foundational challenges that wewant to address we put them like on oneside we also mapped out like in themiddle and that's not what that pictureis I'll tell you what that picture is ina second but we put in the middle sortof what exists to address thosechallenges and we obviously weren'tsatisfied with right what was in themiddle column and then in the right wesaid what should exist what could bedeveloped that could partner with whatexists and then like for you knowaddress those things and build aneconomy that builds you know sharedwealth and collective ownership forfolks at scale in the borough and whatthis what happened was we the piecesthat we you know that are left to buildwe said our role as a community our roleas a group is to build those thingsbuild those missing at what we calleconomic infrastructure so then we tookthat and put that on a wall and saidalright Green Green um what are the yarnyeah growing there you go green yarnrepresents money blue yarn representsideas red yarn you know representspeople let's actually map out how willthese even work together and let'sactually map out how this will behaveand enact exist in our communities to bepowerful and to to be able to allow usto be able to make big moves in theeconomy and position local residents tohave a lot more ownership and a lot moregovernance over planning and economicdecisions that happen that happen in theBronx and that pictures as a result ofthat you see it looks like a circuitboard but we've since then havesimplified it simplified it a bit sothis is as a result of that thisbasically became our model what wedecided to do was we want to build six adiscrete economic infrastructure piecesthat are interrelated that coordinatevery deeply you know with one anotherthat in many wayscan't even fulfill its own purpose fullywithout being in deep coordination rightwith one another that are communityowned and focus on building economicdemocracy in the Bronx and those sixpieces are the first we're building aneconomic democracy Learning Centre andthe point of the economic democracyLearning Centre is to really build thecurriculum and the programming for likeformal education in informal educationto help folks develop a framework forhow to even shift their economy andlearn how to how to how to get involvedso you can look up the curriculum wehave ten modules it's across a bunch ofstuff but the key thing is here we do wedo programming and you know we doworkshops with community residents wealso do it with anchor institutionrepresentatives we also do with electedofficials we do a lot of folks and thatcan explain why why we do why we decideto do that we also are building a policyand planning lab so the idea here iswhat is the long term plan for the Bronxwhat are people saying the Bronx isfeature is how are people looking at theBronx is you know competitive advantageyou know if you read a lot of a lot ofstuff formally by the city and in statethe Bronx it's competitive advantage ofsome of his assets people essentiallyare saying it's cheap labor force rightit's deep flavor a lot of folks willingto work travel to Manhattan so I wouldhave Brooklyn you know and and do stuffand we got to help you know and investin the Bronx to be able to effectivelydo that that's why it's really easy tolike you know if you're in the NorthBronx you can get to Manhattan 30minutes but if you want to see a familymember in the West or in the East it'lltake you an hour plus you know to goaround there's no investment in you knowcommunity there it's all like back andforth but anyway so how do we positionourto build that long-term plan for thefurther Bronx and engage in those inthose planning processes so in thatcapacity we do quite a few things thatI'll talk that I'll talk about later wealso decided to build something calledthe Bronx exchangeso speaking of hopeful contradictionsone of the things we we we saw was welooked at the top 22 hanker institutionsin the Bronx collectively they spendnine billion dollars on goods andservices a year where's that money goingright so we started thinking how couldwe capture that and reinvest it inthings and drive it down towards thingsthat build shared wealth and collectivegovernance at scale in the borough let'sbuild the Bronx exchange the Bronxexchange is a social enterprise thatconnects large institutional purchasersand small businesses in the Bronx and itdoes it in various ways it's it'soutlined there but the idea there is howcan we build a competitive advantage forentrepreneurs for small businesses thatare committed to building communitywealth and are committed to buildingeconomic democracy that's that's theidea and also folks were really behindthis idea too because we want to advancerevenue generative models we want to notjust be dependent on private foundationsor government contracts we want to buildthings that generate revenue that canreinvest back into the network and helpsupport stuff we you know we love youDiane you know we love Candida right butwe're trying to return and enact aself-sustaining you know sustainablemodel we're also trying to build theBronx innovation Factory so the ideahere is how could we change how we makethings in the borough how can we preparepeople to even make things in the in theborough how could we and create a sectorthat intimately connects you know skillsyou know manufacturing and politicsright economic democracy and planninginnovations because all those kinds ofall those kinds of things and thisoriginally came right because we'rethinking you know we started mapping outstuff and then we was like hey if we'replanning to take over the economy we gotto be able to make stuff you know whatI'm saying like we have to be able to dothat just out of basics we have tocontrol like what what that isand that thinking you know help startthe initial thoughts for the Bronxinnovation Factoryso where we're building fabricationfacilities and right now it's in youknow in its pilot stage and we run cool3d printing CNC you know the stuff youwere talking about for young folks andentrepreneurs in the Bronxand this is just a quick thing you knowwe have Siri a big poster of her like inthe innovation Factory and that'sbasically what we want to do right foranyone that's seen black panther that'swhat we're trying to build and we'regonna do it in the bronx and it's it'sno coincidence that what you know whatdo they do the the X you know what I'msaying Bronx so we take that we takethat very seriously and said it's ourresponsibility right to build thisinfrastructure piece for the people andfor the culture and we're also we'realso trying to build the Bronx fund allright the idea here is what's the sortof financial asset what's the financialinfrastructure we can build that'll keepfunding and resourcing this type of workand leverage the huge assets that wehave we have in the Bronx so the ideahere is that this would be like anendowment plus a business acquisition areal estate acquisition fund plus abusiness development fund and that's thethat's the vision and this is still inits conceptual stagesbut we're prototyping how we want tobuild this actually through the Bronxexchange we're building capacity to lendto small businesses and and are learningsort of what it takes to do that infiguring out how we can get to buildingsomething like a the Bronx fund and thenfinally a civic action hub and the ideahere is all these all our communitybased organizations you know there's alot of CBO's in the Bronx throw a rockhit a CBO you know and we all have we'reall some of us coordinate not all of usand we all like for the most part workin silos what's the thing we can buildthat'll sort of connect all of us andallow us to do coordinator such a higherlevel to do much stronger and morestrategic policy and political sort ofmoves in in the borough so all thosethings together is what we call ourcommunity enterprise network and well wehope to to do is make the communityenterprise network the foundation ofeconomic democracy in the Bronx so allthose pieces you know we're buildingthose the first four I presented they'relike in different stages of ofadvancement but in some ways you can sayall right you're building those pieceswhat are what are you actually doingthough like what are the kinds of movesyou're you're able to make in theeconomy and before I before I talk tothat there's one person slightcontribution we'd like to make on ourthinking on like what scale is so also alot of what drove the design behindthose specific infrastructure pieces andin that model is our thinking aboutscale and a lot of the time you know thefirst time we were thinking about skillsbecause a foundation sort of said areyou thinking about scale and it wasscale a case what the skill mean no oneknows the skill means is different fordifferent for everybody but we startedthinking about what it what it means forus and I do think that's that'simportant for folks to decide right whatscale what scale means and defines thata lot of the times folks describe scaleas you got a model you got a projectmake that ten or a hundred times biggerthat scale you were you know you'veachieved you've achieved scale and ascommunity organizers that really getfrustrated with non comprehensiveapproaches to addressing problems rightwe started thinking like no scale ismore about diversity than then big scaleis more about do you have the capacityto tackle the problem at all sides toaddress root causes so that that kind ofthinking as well is what drive the ideasbehind the community enterprise networkand to us we have we're you know fourout of the six pieces are up and runningin some form when we get to six all sixand they're all you know workingtogether that's our idea of like we'veachieved scale now we're gonna focus onhaving a larger impact and you knowbeing more sustainable and all that kindof stuff but we've achieved scale andI'll describe why a little bit more whyin in a second but what are the what arethe moves what are the type of moveswere making in in the economy the pickokay this I think this isn't the mostup-to-date slide but I'll I'll leave itright here so for example in the Bronxwe have a huge displacement pressuregoing on a lot of folks are you know alot of landlords a lot of differentrezoning czar happening that are drivingup property values that are you knowthat are making it easy for a landlordto harass you and kick you outand it's been happening all throughoutthe city Harlem Brooklyn Queens I meanI'm sure everyone here is aware and theBronx is sort of the last frontier rightand one of the things because we have apolicy and planning lab that works withour the Bronx exchange right that workswith our economic democracy LearningCenter one of the things we have beenable to do is work with community-basedorganizations values aligned developersvalues aligned finance to do planningfor the Bronx on how comprehensiveplanning for the whole borough on how tohow to stop displacement which isstarting to become really effectivebecause a lot of the times folks eitherto curb this place may think at theneighborhood level or the citywide leveland we're thinking at the at the boroughwide level and that has given us a lotof tools helped us generate a lot oftools to stop displacement and do fightback and fight forward strategies fightback meaning you know a landlord isstarting to raise rent well a fight backstrategies all right we're gonna startorganizing tenant associations there butwe're also doing is fight forwardstrategies we have this mapping toolthat I was hoping to show y'all thatallows folks to see all right what arethe drivers of displacement we're seeingthat this neighborhood is getting hot orthis neighborhoods blue and it'sstarting to turn huhone of the things we can do proactivelyto stop it from being a you know abastion of of gentrification and youknow are we gonna acquire lands or we'regonna are we gonna acquire parcels arewe gonna put them in Community LandTrust etc etc so this type of planninghappens on a monthly basis and theeducation work the planning work and theworking with small businesses work iswe're able to do that kind ofborough-wideplanning because of the pieces thatwe've we've developed some of the otherthings that were that we've been able todo for example iswe have been able to take electedofficials of color at the city and statelevel in the Bronxto learn more about economic democracyand understand how successful examplesin the Bronx and throughout the worldcan how can we learn and adapt lessonsfrom those experiences and apply them inin New York City so this is actually thesome of the elected officials there's 13elected officials this is them in 1 thatare going we took them to to timon thatare going to learn about you know theco-operative ecosystem that has beenbuilt there and and what that has led tois a historic hearing that's happeningNovember 20th actually not too not toofar off from now there's never been ajoint city and state hearing in thehistory of New York as far as as far aswe can tell and as far as as as they cantell so they want their organizingthey're sponsoring the first one andit's going to be focused on economicdemocracy and the hearing question ishow can we build an economy that worksfor New Yorkers of color and they'regonna hear different stakeholders talkabout their ideas talk about assets thatexist in New York City is to scale upthose ideas and talk abouttransformative partnerships and at theend of this hearing one of the thingswere one of the processes we're going tostart is that each borough that shows upwe're gonna say do your own planningprocess in your in your borough on forhow you would build economic democracyand then let's do this event the sameagain next year come back with yourplans and let's have a differentconversation right with governmentthat's more like resources plan and andjump off and start they're like organiccommunity you know ground up planningprocess for building economic democracythat these electedscutler could could could support soeconomic democracy that NYC if you wantto learn you know more more about theevent and we're asking folks to submittestimony digitally as well so you couldyou know do a quick video on InstagramFacebook or you know Twitter with thehashtag and why for economic democracywe're gonna capture everything that'spopulated there and submit that to thegovernment as well so I'll stop I'llstop there with them I wanted to end offwith some questions like what are thehopeful contradictions in your placeright because there's is where we seeopportunity for folks to to leadtransformative economic development howare you investing in local leadership ofcolor and if you and your community didyour own like design process for theeconomic infrastructure you want it tobuild what would it look like are youworking on that is your work you knowprepares you to do that thank you[Applause]thank you very much continue on thistheme to our next speaker has spent twodecades of effort trying to makeAmerican cities more democratic throughart and design he's created a nonprofitcalled the center for urban pedagogywhich aims to demystify policy improvecivic engagement and cities especiallyamong young people and marginalizedgroups please welcome Damon rich allright good afternoon alright so they'refantastic it is really excellent to bewith a group of people who care a lotabout how we tell stories in publicbecause right now I'd like to start bytalking about before after and beyond soprobably more than a press release ormailed flyer or even a speech by themayor here's one way that I like peopleto learn about some new urban designprojects in their town around the clockthis is News 12 New Jerseywell you may have heard about a plan tospruce up the Passaic River area inNewark but the dreaming goes far beyondcleaning up a blighted area as News 12New Jersey's Rick Holmes shows us thenew vision could bring hundreds of jobsand even several new building projectsto the Brick City so you started thisback in October you guys yeah right so Igot a I'm seeing all this trash out hereyou weren't cleaning up a trash it wasmess out here the work began with agroup of Newark teens who wanted tolearn more about their hometown riveryou have to walk the river yeah see whatwas down here really like get up closeand personal with their work is paid offNewark City Hall wants to turn theNewark riverfront into a brand it's alittle fast and loose with the facts butopposed to the classic booster ishbefore and after which dramatizes thetransformative powers of design for methis story of curious kids lookingaround like the Bloodhound Gang where welearn by following their steps seems tohave a better chance to slip into whileexpanding people's everyday experienceof the world and sense of how it getsshaped so it's their interviews andinvestigations discovering all kinds ofthings like dead birds and boxer shortsto their own cities long tradition offighting for environmental justice thatdrives the design process beginning withvisions of shoreline roller coasters andchocolate smelling smokestacksleading to a public unveiling and a CityHall installation right outside whereyou pay for your water bill drawingpassers-by into its intense vision andthen calling into being new institutionsand powers of collectivity forphysically shaping the environmentcreating screens for projecting desiresspaces for self determination unexpectedobjects like an orange boardwalk grownfrom this particular culture and newways for the city to see itselfas you walk along the railing tellsstories about fights over sewerinfrastructure and dioxin contaminationthere's these logs that talk aboutconflicts over land and labor disputessummoning up the characters and thespirits of this place trying to connectit to its surroundings through new civicrituals giving spaces for the threads ofculture to tangle in new ways and bringeverybody you can to the dance floorbreathing in the cool darkness andcommemorating the light so when somebodywalks by and asks hey who put that therethere is a cosmos full of answersincluding activists who worked for 25years and some curious kids so once wehad gotten that far maybe then peoplemight be curious to know a little bitmore of the details that it took tostitch this new piece into realitymaybe the funding or the politics orhell even the landscape architects andurban designers who were involved nowthis sense of collective contestationin changing the environment was not howI experienced where I lived for my first18 years in the Farwest post-war suburbsof st. Louis Missouri even as thatenvironment beckoned my friends and I toget curfew tickets for trespassing overCountry Club grounds or 7-eleven parkinglots I thought of that landscape asneutral as somehow just having happenednot as a project of planning and designand while there I experienced manyadvantages I also acquired some serioussanctioned ignorant about how the suburbwhere I grew up came to be for examplehow it became so segregated with over93% of residents registering as white onthe census and how did all these peoplebecome whiteso while different than the fastviolence of a shooting on our minds or astabbing this kind of slow violenceis written into our landscapes and allkinds of overbearing and also subtleways and design often serves as a way tocover over what's really happening to bepower evasive now I think that wordslike equity inclusion and participationcan be really useful to build sharedunderstandings about where we want to gobut unless we're paying carefulattention to the forces that shape thesystems that we're trying to changewe run real risks of our work beingshort term and easily undone so whileit's important to talk about who ismarginalized we better also be talkingand learning about who and how they dothe marginalizing and so this is what mypartner Jason and I had in mind when wenamed our practice Hector which is ourimaginary friends name but also a verbmeaning to speak forcefully even to thepoint of bullying because we wanted tonever forget that whether we like it ornot design and planning aren't alwaysabout warm comfortable feelingsthese are hectoring businesses so I'mnot going to try to convince you thatarchitecture is something brought downby flying babies from the heavens togive us dignity or comfort or a goodiebestowed from on high by professionalslike me sort of like a magical pixiedust generously sprinkles down doing itsbest to avoid political dilution on itsway to reality and instead at Hector wesee our work like when you show up at aparty not knowing anyone and are happyfor any temporary alliance you mightfind which puts our work in a broaderfield of place politics where all kindsof people are trying to push all kindsof agendas on the places that we shareand that may be by paying closeattention to place politics we can avoidcreativity serving as a power evasivecover story and instead use it togenerate and support productivedeliberation about how we plan designand buildnow telling these stories requirescritical attention to the agendas andthe nuts and bolts that push and pullthe landscape including the manyconflicts between the prerogatives ofproperty ownership and the ideals ofdemocratic decision-making and over thepast 120 years our society has developedsome pretty intricate mechanisms fortrying to connect democracy to how webuild our environment from buildingcodes and zoning laws to things likeCommunity Design centers and these havecreated the mechanisms that today wecall things like public participation orcivic engagement although sometimes evena hundred and twenty years into the gameyou can go to a so-called public hearingand not see much public there or maybeyou go to a meeting that seems solelyfocused on the understandableaggravation of residents facing overlyscripted planning exercises you betternot get out those post-it notes andsticky dots but usually this kind ofbreakdown is not just in the meetingitself but must be understood as part ofa longer chain of democratic controloften the idea of democratizing bygiving things out or increasing accessgets a lot of gusto but the challenge ofresolving all of those people through anact of abstraction and decision-makingand then getting into the building thepower to do anything let alone planningdesigning and building with all of thelarge and tiny questions that it posesso while discussing participation wealso need to talk about power and how itis assembled and used like many of myfellow speakers have today maybe wedon't need responsible design so much asa serious reworking of to whom designresponds so now I'd like to suggest afew ways that design and modest waysmight help us deal with power moreopenly and in a more manipulable fashionbefore after and beyond and to bringthis a bit down to the ground and maybeput a little muscle on these bones I'dlike to share some work-in-progress verymuch so that Hector is doing in SouthPhiladelphia that we certainly hope fitssquarely within this tradition ofcommunity design so this is a park youcan see that Green Square in SoutheastPhiladelphia called Mifflin square ifyou know Philly this is near theintersection of six and Ritenour there'sabout 40 blocks surrounding the parkwhere you'll find about 17,000 peopleliving in row house homes like thisshopping on the abbé which since the 80shas been primarily full of businessesowned by immigrant business owners themajority from Cambodia it's aneighborhood that has extremedisparities and income just a few blocksapart and this is a map that has one dotfor every person color-coded by theircensus identified race or ethnicitywhich shows established african-americanIrish American Italian Americancommunities and since the 1970sincreasing numbers of residents who comeas immigrants or refugees from placeslike Vietnam Cambodia Laos and morerecently Afghanistan Syria and Bhutanand so this park in this pretty denselypopulated neighborhood is an importantand lively social hub but it's also beena place where real social social dramaplays out real issues of turf and theracialization of space the most recentincident of which was after after someshooting in the park about three yearsago a celebrated if unlicensed group offood vendors was shut down in theaftermath by the authorities in additionas you might imagine for a park that wasbuilt a hundred years ago and hasn'treceived much public investment sincethere's a long list of complaints thatyou don't need to ask too much about tohear from we need more places for tweensto climb on so they're not making theirown play equipment we've needed placeswithin this generally passive Park toplay all kinds of sports and activitieslike this DIY foot volleyball courtwhich works pretty well for the peoplewho play foot volleyball except when itkicks up big clouds of dust that floatover to where these elders bring theirown furniture so they can play cards andof course on rainy days it's a bit of amessso the very first way I want to suggestthat design might make dealing withpower more more accessible is by makingpolicy public coming out of a longtradition known as popular educationhere represented by a woman in themiddle anybody know her septum--ah Clarkand so in this case we were able tolaunch before any design started anyplanning started a project called Parkpowers where 15 high school studentswere employed for for eight weeks overthe summer through a Summer YouthEmployment Program working with thePhiladelphia mural arts restored spaceand spaces initiative and they werecharged by a nation coalition ofneighborhood organizations to try toanswer one seemingly simple questionwhat does southeast Philly have to do toget Mifflin Square Park rebuilt how itwants so we started off with somegeneral brainstorming what do we knowabout Parks surveying the territorytrying to mark down what we found andread out the life of the community fromthere we visited the free library tounderstand how the neighborhood evolvedaround the park itself to see how itlooked differently over time and we hitthe pavement to talk to adultdecision-makers asking questions of theleaders of neighborhood organizationsbut also policy advocates around openspace the landscape architect's insidethe parks department how do all thesedecisions get made and every time we metsomeone we would use our skills associal critics and artists to try tobreak down what we heard what webelieved what we were skeptical of andteenagers oftentimes being much lesspower evasive than us older people withzero in on things like their percyperception that the parks departmentstaff was differentially treating saycambodian unlicensed food vendors whothey said things like well maybe theydon't know how to use a trash can versussay this depiction of a unlicenseditalian grandmother selling meatballsand how she might be treated further aswe dug into the archive the studentswere amazed to find a whole series ofmaterials that really gave the lie toall kinds of stories we had heardblaming bad things on the most recentset of people to arrivelike things were pristine and you couldeat off the sidewalk until theVietnamese people showed up or it wassuper peaceful and quiet around hereuntil the Cambodians showed up you knowfinding an article from 1941 whereinit's italian-american kidsknifing each other up or shooting eachother really I think show that that wasnot a true narrative and when we met thecity councilpersonhe blew everyone's mind by saying thatmaybe raising the four million dollarsto fix up the park wouldn't be thebiggest stretch but getting a minimum ofeight out of ten residents to agree on asingle idea for rebuilding the park thatwould be the challenge so we began tothink about what we had learned and howto reformat it and communicate it to abroader audience like studying The Rockthe bureaucracy of the parks departmentand wondering if any kind of policy ideacould make it from the upper upperechelons of local government with themayor the council down to the physicalparks we were looking at or trying toimagine how a coalition could grow itspolitical power in the neighborhoodimagining what each group could offer tothe coalition and receive from itimagining that combination is this kindof Voltron character that would ingestall of the organization's to become somekind of superhero we got feedback fromthe organizations that we had learnedfrom and made drawings like this thattried to connect individuals recorded bythe census through neighborhoodorganizations into the Voltron characterwho transforms into a superhero who usessoda tax money to fix the park or thisdrawing that breaks down how the parksdepartment typically rebuilds a park andthe points at which a neighborhoodusually has the most success inadvocating for the way they want it tobe the group drew all kinds ofcharacters that we met in the park thegood things that we saw the things thatwe thought were bad to make drawingslike this one a tribute to MC Meek Millcalled Park dreams and nightmares meantto spark discussions of the worst youcould imagine and the end the best forthis space these were then shared withthe decision-makers and displayed inpublic just looking to increaseincrementally the amount of discussionabout this place and what it would taketo make it differentthe second way I want to suggest thatdesign can play a role in a process likethis is by producing the public fromcommunity organizers and this is shownhere as a 1972 first-ever NationalConference of neighborhoods held inChicago we learned that the public isnot something that just exists out thereit's something that has to be painfullyassembled by knocking on doors flyeringmaking email lists Facebook groups andso the first thing that the coalitionsaid is we want to send something homewith every school kid in thisneighborhood about 7,000 kids that usesthe graphics that were created over theover the summer so this is in 8languages it shares some of the thingsthat the students found and as well asoffers a fleeting a fun opportunity toproject a personal vision on to the parkof the future that then opened the doorto being invited into the spaces of manysmall organizations throughout theneighborhood to use these kinds ofmaterials in order to talk about ourdreams of open space our memories whatwe thought should be in the park etcusing each of these small scaled objectsthat would show you like how big avolleyball court is but also these moreopen-ended ones to have a discussionthat might not happen otherwise you knowshould there be hills in this flat Parkcould the playground more reflect thecultures of the people that live herecould there ever be a bathroom and someof the discussions happen and these areoften times between interpreters likethis meeting was in Swahili Korean andEnglish and the most amazing confluencesof identity what sometimes happen likethis gentleman they said oh well acouple generations back my family camestraight from the south farming to thebig city and then this Korean woman fromBurma said who had arrived like twoyears earlier so that's so crazy that'sexactly what happened to me and so inthis way identities can melt and we'renot talking about necessarily whatequality is or equity as a definitionwe're talking about where the volleyballcourt should go and this ends then withpeople being able to bring together theideas from those smaller gatherings tobe able to appreciate or criticize theideas of their neighbors and so thefinal way that I'm gonna suggest todaythat design might play a role here isfinding ways to build with roots inorganized communitiesand so we took some of the first andmost popular ideas that came out likemore places to sit and began to try tobuild those right now even before wehave the four million dollars that thecouncilman promised us working with agroup called public workshop inPhiladelphia we were able to prototypeand build this which is called the superseating and we even working with CMACour primary client we're able to get afood truck that could be shared byvendors that is fully licensed now mostpeople we talked to said that after allthese DIY alterations to the park itfelt too small people were stepping oneach other's toes and it was causingconflict and we began to think that itwas kind of like when you leave yourhouse in a hurrykind of like I did last night and youdon't do such a good job of packing yoursuitcase and not as much stuff whichwould fit as otherwise and so the goalbecame to repack the suitcase to try tomove around the things that peoplealready did in a way that created morespace overall but this required actuallytalking to all these user groups thekids the moms the volleyball players theguys always sit here on this table totry to find a potential shared agreementabout how this space could work and thenhaving times where these differentgroups could come together to argue outthe pros and cons of the designs and thevisions that they supported bringingtogether people who might not alwaystalk so much in everyday life but sharedthis neighborhood and and needed to finda way for it to work together so earlierthis summer we were able to release aconcept plan and now because I told youas before after and beyond we're doingthe really hard and critical work ofbuilding up the financial power thepolitical power to make it real tryingto make drawings that show and reflectback in this loop of feedback what thisspace could be and how it could look andof course this took many many hands sohere's you see some of those people andso even though this process does not yethave a kind of clean crisp before andafter I can't tell you exactly what theconstruction details will look like Icertainly hope that the look on thisyoung woman's face is not just becauseshe finds a drawing aestheticallyappealing but perhaps she imagines thatmaybe distantly in the future once thisspaces is really changed althoughkeeping the community around it andsomeone walks by and asks her hey whoput that therethank you very much thank you very muchwow what a cool little park huhall right our final Speaker of the dayjust got in she's she's here she's hereexcellent she's works on the issues oflarge-scale land use changes in the 20thcentury of this country and she looks atcities and examines the social andGeographic implications of structuralpoverty she has a book out recentlycalled people before highways whichlooks at opposition in Boston tointerstate and other highways whichwould have torn the city apart in the1960splease welcome just in from meetings inher other capacity working for the cityof Boston Carolyn Crockett[Applause]good afternoon hi it is so great to beherefantastic conversation I'm sure I hopethat I know that my fellow panelistshave regale you with all kinds ofstories of a power and might and willand potential and what we need to do andhow to get it right and design and allthat yeah yeah and equity yes so mypresentation is not that so I'm gladthey got you covered my presentation isa little bit of a rumination and I thinkhopefully a public service announcementabout the need to remember and hopefullythe role that memory can play in helpingus remember what equity is what it needsto be and what we can do about that soI'm just gonna roll up my sleeves alittle bit and dive into it so Ientitled my presentation the ground wewalk upon progress quote unquote what isprogress how many times has that thingchanged before us kind of like a geniein a bottle that we don't know what todo with an equity battle so many of themnow in our midst in our faith andthrough time the fight the same fightover and over again will we get it rightdo we have the might do we have the willdo we have the collective commitment tosee it out and the production of healthycities what are they and I would saywhat is the production of healthy citieswithout people without memory withoutjustice one of my favorite writers is isJames :kona theologian and james caan remindsus that there is no justice withoutmemory so welcome to Boston some of youare here for a little bit of timesomething some of you have been here fora while I've been here for a whileI was born here and have definitelyspent so much of my time in my careertrying to understand this place that Icall home sometimes I struggle to callhome I try to understand and try to makesense of and so many of the gifts ofstories that have gone before me andmake clear what I inherit in this cityhave shaped my outlook and my sense ofpossibilityso even when things seem so challengingand sometimes I would say hopeless Ipromise you that the past and so muchcourage of so many before us havedefinitely paved the way to the futureso Boston right so although we like toremind you over and over and over thatwe are a city of Championshurrah Red Sox right that we are a cityon a hill that we are the cradle ofLiberty and all that big talk hurraha city of firsts right its first schoolfirst public school in America firstsubway first telephone all these thingsgrab any Bostonian and that person canfill in the rest of this list on cue youtell you all the things that we are soproud of and that we did first I promiseyou but what I want to share is is iswhat not to do and how Boston hasexemplified over and over againsometimes to our great peril what not todo so a public service announcement onwhat not to do okay and the power ofmemory and what can these stories tellus about equity battles of the past andpresent and what can they teach us rightnow and give us a sense of hopefulnesseven when it seems like we have anythingbut so here is an image for usmaybe looks familiar to some of you soonce upon a time tell you a storyprogress in older post-industrial citieslike Boston meant destructiondevastation and displacement and it waslegal in common before you as a pictureof an old neighborhood called the WestEnd many of you are familiar with thisimage because it has gained us some fameon what not to do so the story is thatessentially in 1958 we had a moment ofgenius and we decided that the way tomake progress was to destroyneighborhoods like this on a veryvibrant mixed-race neighborhood a strongItalian community a strong Jewishcommunity a sizeable black community ina part of the city that was dense thatwas working-class that was poor butdecided to be ground zero for the newBoston its future and everything wewould become and in the process reallystruck a chord in the middle of the ofthe city's heart in terms of whatdeterrent to fighting what is progressand for whom if 1948 and then 49 and 58and 59 would be the time to determine anew Boston a new sense of progress andequity what would that look like in whomwould benefit well no one who lived herewas basically the conclusion so in frontof that slide you see now a smear ofdirt so on April 25th 1958 messe letterswere sent to all the residents in thisneighborhood and by December of 1959 theneighborhood was completely demolished2,000 people were the remaining set offamilies from about 11,000 folks wouldlive there at its peak and werecompletely pushed out of the side anddispersed to the wind and so this wasprogress this was legal this was themoment in America's history were urbanrenewal dislocation was the way to makeyourselves anew to way awaythink about investment and the way tothink about a future so our renewal cutgaping holes in the city's landscape andpermanently displaced displacedlong-term residents who were notconsulted who were not givencompensation but were moved rightthrough and so this was the beginningmoment of saying what what do you meanwhat's next in what's coming and so whatwould be the next the set of fightsahead this is what the people said westill won't moveto hell with urban renewal so just incase you were sitting there and we'rewondering what did residents have to sayabout this act of dislocation this iswhat they said they said to the mayorthe Boston Redevelopment Authority andtheir seek offense nicely the committeefor North Harvard Street for nine yearswe've waited we've been trying to meetwith you and there's nothing we won'tmoveto hell with urban renewal and so awake-up call for again rethinking whatthe city's future would be what thecity's commitment to a type of progressthat did not include the people who wereliving here and what they were entitledto not even their homes not even theirneighborhoods not even their networks orwhat they knew and so the next questionis so then what happened did we learndid we learn from this well no then wesaid we know what we're gonna makehighways here we're gonna bring aninterstate highway through the citybecause that's what the government issaying is progress and so in 1948 thecity of Boston comes up with atremendous plan to bring 10 to 12 lanehighway thright through the city'sCenter core actually the edge of it sowe're looking toward the east andlooking toward if you know it as alandmark the Prudential Tower Back Bayyour slice right here through the edgeof Roxbury and Jamaica Plain there'spublic housing that's here there's aroad that's there looks kind of nicemaybe the future always looks nicedoesn't it until you ask the questionforto what end so this road was meant tobring 160,000 cars through the middle ofthe city it would have displacedthousands of residents long-termresidents through the core of Bostonneighborhoods of Roxbury Jamaica PlainCambridge Brookline Somerville all ofthat would have just been pushed to theside but this time the neighborhoodresidents come to came together slowlyand steadily and said no in fact theysaid hell no and so the question was forus again now fast forwarding not from1959 but a little bit ahead to 1969 whatis our future who is engaged in it whois deciding what progress is and what dowe remember about what happened beforeand what happened before this was theWest End so when we look at this map ofthe highway the question sort of cameback to people if this is what we'reimagining to be Boston's economic futureit's social future who is coming intothe city at this moment this is arendering from around what the 1965 mapwould have looked like so you can seethis highway represented by the dottedlines we're going to take us northconnecting up through some suburbs toNew Hampshire coming down taking usthrough through some southern suburbsand through the southwest and taking usdown to Rhode Island this would putMassachusetts right in the middle ofsort of this northern front thisnorthern break in an interstate 95what's interesting about the story is itthis time around the residence reallymobilized got together and said no saidhell no we didn't believe you before andwe don't believe you now and so theconversation point for me is then whatdoes that look like what does it meanfor people to really take action to cometogether and to protest what they thinkis an unsustainable unjust future andthat's exactly what happened this is anarchival image from January 25th 1969when this coldthat had been bubbling up slowly thathad already remembered and relived andlived through the devastation of theWest End would come together and see thethreat of a highway in their face andsay not this time and so you can seewhat is an incredible array of folksfrom the suburbs from the city fromworking-class communities to affluentcommunities to ladies who lunch toladies who smoke to children who arecoming out into Cambridge intellectualsreally raising the question and in thismoment of like intense consciousness andmobilization where folks are alreadyactivated by the civil rights movementand the ante high of an anti-warmovement the student protest raisingquestions about planning raisingquestions about roads about their futureand what the city sustainability shouldbe and could be and so that's our momentand then you say well you know okay wesort of figured it out we figured outthat progress that the progress that wasbeing sold by the governor ofMassachusetts at the time by many cityofficials by intellectuals even was waswas bankrupt residents really takinginto their own hands what it would meanto redefine the future to think aboutnot just road building but mobility moregenerally how do you get around readyyou live the city of dealing with anaffordability crisis at this very momentand you say okay so that's great that'sthe pastBoston has all this incredible culturalcapital and social capital now we haveall these great schools and it waswonderful we celebrate the region wellwe have these great schools perhaps butwhat if you were trying to go to schoolbefore now what if you were trying to goto school and say 1975 and you're inhigh school and you were trying to go toschool at South Boston high and this wasthe day that you were leaving school togo home and not only were you happy thatschool was over but the security and thesafety around your school wassuch that they had to back the schoolbuses up to the front door of the schoolbecause the safety and the violence ofyou just pursuing your right toeducation was such that you had to walkdirectly out of the front door of theschool into your school bus waiting foryou so many of us know this story thisnarrative of school desegregation whichis just an example of Bostonians tryingto get better education for theirchildren by court orderthe bus the Boston's desegregation caseis notable because it is an example ofagaincitizens coming together and demanding avery different kind of future thequestion I raised is is it necessary forthat to be by court order every timewhen we think about an alternativefuture is it necessary for citizens tomarshal the political will themselvesdirectly to bring equality to the cityor cities the school desegregation casein Boston is notable because it was theresult of a petition filed by 43 blackparents who sued the Boston SchoolCommittee to integrate many of us knowhow that story wound up very verycontentious and violent but the questionremains or the issue remains that thosethe quality of education in the city ofBoston is always and will always befront and center I would say even thoughunresolved because of what parents andtheir children did to try to raise thebar and raise the conversation for whatjust an equitable education could looklike in the city so okay we learn thatlesson did we we're still learning itbut the memory of these residents andtheir commitment to justice was clearand stays with usso what else what else can we say aboutthe city what else can we say aboutBoston oh well we like the water hereright the water is beautiful this is athose the water side at the CharlesRiver some of you may be sailorsswimmers the water is beautiful we likeit well that's how we that's how itlooks it looks very pleasant youwouldn't complain about that youwouldn't have a problemuntil unless you remember that it lookedlike that that is what the Boston Harborlooked like not long ago barely ageneration ago and led none other thanGeorge Herbert Walker Bush in 1988 tocall it the dirtiest Harbor in Americathough he was embittered and upsetbecause Michael Dukakis had the audacityright to run against him if a presidentas a Democratic nominee but theconversation about the cleanup of theharbor was front and center nationalnews and what happened herenothing nothing until again residentsthemselves took it upon themselves tosue the city sue the state and led to afort federal court order to clean up theBoston Harbor which for us winds upbeing now a national story a story ofone of the nation's biggestenvironmental victories 3.8 billiondollars invested in the cleanup ofBoston Harbor so what is the story herethe story is all of these moments ofintervention when what was taken to bethe true kind of high-water mark ofprogress of equity was dismantledredefined and totally challenged bycitizen actions and their commitment tointervening and saying no and thankgoodnesswhether it is fights around goodeducation a more livable urban spacewalkability mass transit clean water forrecreation or what have you we owe anincredible debt to the folks here andother places that I've taken to thestreets to command something differentand so my question remains what wouldwhat political will what is ourcommitment to letting not only thememory of the past and what has happenedguide us but let that lesson of citizenaction and mobility tell our story andso here is a collection of folks thatreally were responsible for deliveringon these stories for us butunfortunately here like in so manycities we actually don't know our ownstories we don't have memories of thevictories of the lessons of the previousgeneration many of these folks here thisis from that first day of the sort ofanti highway fight and the 60s peopleshowing up to protest on the State Housesteps and many of the people who wereorganizing as as architects actually hasradical planners they're featured here Isee Fred Salvati who would go on to bestate transportation secretary fromMassachusetts here in the middle he isnotable because he was a radical plannerand organizer who remembered the storyof his grandmother in her beingdisplaced by expansion of the massTurnpike and how terrible the experiencewas for him and his family and for hisgrandmother he would take that into thegovernment bureaucracy and become thestate transportation planner and usedthe power of the memory and the justicethat was not exactly to his grandmotherto change state policy and many of thesepeople here I see there like a Hall ofFame because they helped us rememberwhat what we need to remember and whathappened to what our values can be andshould be and again so the question forme largely is around how do you getthose stories shared how do we take thememories of fights against power offights against pure political visionsthat are not inclusive that are notsustainable that are not equitable andmake sure that the stories of onegeneration can be passed to the next sofor about the past 20 years I've beenworking with young people to think aboutdifferent kinds of projects to sharestories of the past not only for thesake of putting things in a jar but touse these stories as tactical play booksfor action for information andconsciousness-raisingthis is a project of for this projectwas using was working with for youngpeople high school students in JamaicaPlain in a neighborhood that is underintense pressure for gentrification anddisplacement and I had them talk totheir family members andtheir neighbors about what theneighborhood was like and how they weresuccessful in stopping a highway somefolks were in the way of what would havebeen the road that that highwayexpansion project how they had been ableto hold ground and you can see themusing photographs and meeting with eachother and meeting with family members tokind of verify stories to talk to createtimelines to create presentations butthey which they then took out to theneighborhood and then taking thosestories to the street so through thesekinds of projects allowing young peopleto be sort of empowered around not justwhat happened but in power to be incharge of educating people around thecity and even visitors to the city sothrough this work we were able to createan alternative and a tourism model whichtakes a really deep dive into politicalorganizing strategizing really thinkingabout transferring tactics of politicalpossibilities that have already beenlived through real examples of what weknow what works we can blue store we canblue sky all day about I know whatshould happen but it's incredible toimagine what has already happened asgiving us incredible fodder forimagining the future and how to activatecommunities locally across generationsto take ownership of these stories andto make sure that there's a way to keepthem in circulation so one of thechallenges before us in terms ofthinking through equitable cities andsustainable cities is how can we makethe transmission of our stories and ourtactics more sustainable more fluid andmore accessible and so this is ourmoment and I will leave it here on thisvery slightly depressing slide this iskind of the end of my public serviceannouncement but it's asking us to lookfor look at what are the issues righthere and now this may be true for whereyou're coming from but this is asnapshot of Boston we have we are in themiddle of an incredible and powerfulconstruction boom the city is growing weare a city of about 650 substantive40,000 people with about14 or 15 billion dollars in constructionhappening right now by some accountsit's the it could be the third largestconstruction boom in the city's 400 yearhistorylots of people are engaged lots ofpeople want to come here and go to workhere and bring their businesses here butat the same time we have an incredibleincredible economic equity gap in aracial gap we know the color color ofwealth report was put out by the FederalReserve Bank a couple years ago andreminded us that for every one dollar ofliquid assets for a white family youhave two cents for black family versus14 cents for a Caribbean family versusless than one cent on the dollar forPuerto Rican and Dominican family and sojust that snapshot alone you get a senseof what we're not doing what we're notgetting right despite all of theopportunity that's here we have notconnected the dotswe look at this number that's also fromthe Federal Reserve that lets us seethat we have two hundred and forty seventhousand dollars in and wealth that'sheld by a white family versus eightdollars for a black or african-americanfamily that is not a typo that is thedata that is letting us know the racialwealth gap story that's letting us knowabout the work that we have to do we'veearned the unenviable distinction acouple years ago from the BrookingsInstitution of having the highest rateof income inequality in the country andso as I sit and look at this incrediblelist of challenges and issues thequestion remains for me what can welearn about what this moment is tellingus progress is it's progress more ofthis is this the direction or what canwe take from the past from thegeneration before us as similar battlesto tell us that there's there's got tobe a different direction and there's gotto be more people engaged and they gotto be younger than the folks who aretypically in these rooms so I will stopthere with my public serviceannouncement and thank you for your[Applause]

WGBH’s 2018 Innovation IdeaLab convened powerful writers, grassroots activists, economists, architects and green designers around the theme of The Changemakers for the popular day-long gathering supported by The Kendeda Fund. The purpose of the IdeaLab is to plant new stories for public media, with sessions ranging from Saving Nature, Saving Ourselves; to The Future of Work; and Designing Green and Equitable Communities.

In This Session:

» Michael Murphy, Architect & CEO, MASS Design Group

» Yorman Nuñez, Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative; MIT CoLab; Grist 50 Fixer

» Damon Rich, Designer, Urban Planner, & Partner, Hector Design; MacArthur Fellow

» Karilyn Crockett, Author, People Before Highways; MIT Urban Studies and Planning

WGBH Forum Network ~ Free online lectures: Explore a world of ideas

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