Social Design Insights is a weekly podcast of conversations with leading designers who discuss innovative projects and practices that use design to address pressing social justice issues. The podcast is hosted by Eric Cesal and Emiliano Gandolfi, and produced by the Curry Stone Design Prize. Learn more.


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our sound engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Taryn Turner, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation, for pulling everything together.
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Episode 67
Agency Architecture

Fronts: Security in the Developing World, Pt. II

Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller of Agency Architecture reveal their global projects on urbanism and resistance
Episode 66
Agency Architecture

Fronts: Security in the Developing World, Pt. I

Ersela Kripa and Stephen Mueller of Agency Architecture begin our discussion of tactical urbanism and the criminalization of informality.
Episode 65
Laura Kurgan

Data, Design and Social Practice

Laura Kurgan of the Center for Spatial Research joins us to talk about how data and the design of data systems can be applied to social justice.
Episode 64
Bryan C. Lee Jr. and Sue Mobley

Design as Protest, Protest by Design, Part II

Bryan C. Lee Jr. and Sue Mobley of Colloqate Design continue our discussion about design as a tool against oppression.
Episode 63
Bryan C. Lee Jr. and Sue Mobley

Design as Protest, Protest by Design, Part I

Bryan C. Lee Jr. and Sue Mobley of Colloqate Design join us to discuss how design can support or deconstruct systems of institutional oppression
Episode 62
Suzanne Lacy

Finding Empathy, Making Art

Suzanne Lacy talks to us about the role of art in the pursuit of social justice, and how to navigate the lines between art, activism, design and space.
Episode 61
Deanna Van Buren and Raphael Sperry

Justice, Incarceration & Design, Pt. II

Deanna Van Buren and Raphael Sperry join us to discuss the architecture of incarceration, and how their respective work campaigns for reform.
Episode 60
Deanna Van Buren and Raphael Sperry

Justice, Incarceration & Design, Pt. I

Deanna Van Buren and Raphael Sperry join us to discuss the architecture of incarceration, and how their respective work campaigns for reform.
Episode 59
Ronald Rael

Architecture at the Border of Design and Politics

Ronald Rael is an applied architectural researcher, design activist, author, and thought leader in the fields of additive manufacturing and earthen architecture.
Episode 58
John Cary

Public Interest Design, Past & Future

John Cary is an American connector, writer, speaker and curator focused on social change
Episode 57
Clifford Curry and Delight Stone

Social Design Insights 2017 Year in Review

Cliff Curry and Delight Stone join Eric and Emiliano to discuss the first year of Social Design Insights and look to what’s ahead.
Episode 52
Dr. Joshua Silver

A Vision for the Future

Dr. Silver of the Centre for Vision in the Developing World shares how innovative design can change the future for millions.
How big a problem is vision in the developing world?
Centre for Vision in the Developing World

Dr. Joshua Silver

How did you bring your invention ‘out there’?
Jas Broome and Andrew Mirmanesh for Centre for Vision in the Developing World

Young people receiving an in-field vision test.

What is the ultimate scale of the goal?
Jas Broome and Andrew Mirmanesh for Centre for Vision in the Developing World

A child being fitted for new glasses.

Episode 53

Designing After Revolution

Omar Nagati and Beth Stryker share their thoughts on CLUSTER Cairo, and the design of urban activism.
How did CLUSTER Cairo arise out of the Arab Spring?

Omar Nagati and Beth Stryker of CLUSTER Cairo

What role do young people play in your practice?

CLUSTER team showing the proposed design at one of the organized community workshops with the girls and women of the Izbat Khayrallah informal neighborhood.

Where do you see the future of CLUSTER Cairo headed?

Cairo Downtown Passages Iftar, in the Kodak Passageway

Episode 54
John Fetterman

Designing a Post-Industrial Future

John Fetterman of Braddock, PA, shares his thoughts on how to imagine a new future in a post-industrial landscape.
What was your first inspiration? How did you come to work in Braddock?
Would you consider what you’re doing in Braddock to be urban planning?
What’s your advice for young designers?
Episode 55
Diébédo Francis Kéré

Designing for the Future, Pt. 1

Diébédo Francis Kéré discusses the origins of his practice, and how good design builds community.
How did you begin your social practice?
Erik Jan Ouwerkerk,jpg

Diébédo Francis Kéré

What is the learning curve, when working with community?
What are the lessons that arose out of all this work in Gando?
Kéré Architecture

The Gando Library

Episode 56
Diébédo Francis Kéré

Designing for the Future, Pt. 2

Diébédo Francis Kéré discusses offers lessons for young designers about how to design the future.
How should designers work in the developing world?
Kéré architecture

The Léo Surgical Center

How do you put people at the heart of architecture?
Erik Jan Ouwerkerk

The Opera Village

What is the first lesson of architecture that you teach your students?
Erik Jan Ouwerkerk

The Gando Primary school

November 17








Episode 47
Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading

Using Design to Bring Down Crime

Kathryn Ewing and Don Shay of VPUU outline how community-based planning can make real results in crime prevention.
What were the issues that prompted the creation of VPUU?

Aerial view of Harare Safe Walkway 2013 (AFTER)

What has been the cumulative effect of all these projects?

Lotus Park Neighbourhood Centre 2016 (AFTER)

What’s the paramount value of a community center in these townships?

Drakenstein Community Profiling Workshop 2014

Episode 48

Nurturing Collective Imagination in Rome

Lorenzo Romito of Stalker discusses the ‘territory’ of architecture and how it can be expanded.
How did the Stalker collective originally come together?

Stalker across the Actual Territories, 5 days-walking tour of Rome, 5-8 October 1995 credit: Stalker Archive

How do we repurpose empty spaces in an era of mass migration?
Stalker Archive

The Flying Carpet, 2000, reproduction in ropes and copper of the wooden Muharnas ceiling of the Palatine chapel of Palermo (XI century) built together with the Kurdish refugees from the Ararat cultural center of Rome

What is “collective imagination”?

Immaginare Corviale, 2004. Rome. Map of all the people and actions that took place in the two years of Immaginare Corviale lab, in the biggest social housing building (1000 meters) in Rome.

Episode 49
Vera and Ruedi Baur

Designing the Politics of the City

Vera and Ruedi Baur of Civic City discuss how graphic design can be a tool of political change.
How did you originally begin to politicize graphic design?

“Voyages entre les langues”, urban intervention with multilingual literature
in 6 places in Switzerland, 2017, Karelle Menine, Vera and Ruedi Baur.

How does design ‘make contact’ with the city?

“la Phrase”, expérience of urban poetry, Karelle Menine et Ruedi Baur,

How do young designers begin to envision their own practices?

“Notre Monde à changer”, a book about the state of the liberal world, a
collaboration between Attac and Civic city; Lars Müller Publishers, 2017.

Episode 50

How to Mobilize a Billion People

Kalle Lasn discusses ‘culture-jamming’ and political resistance.
How did Adbusters originally get started?

Kalle Lasn

How do you prevent your messages from being co-opted?

Occupy Wall Street. Bring a tent!

Absolute on Ice – Adbusters’ anti-consumerist campaign.

Absolute on Ice – Adbusters’ anti-consumerist campaign.

Episode 51

Collective Mapping as a Tool for Social Change

Iconoclasistas discusses the practice of collective mapping and how it can be mobilized to achieve social justice.
What were the original social issues that instigated your first work?

Plenario en taller de cartografías, Belo Horizonte (Brasil), 2014

What has been the response of the government to your activism?

Cartografía "La República de los Cirujas", Argentina, 2013

What’s the next step in helping people escape the colonization of the mind?

Cartografía "Ni por todo el oro del mundo", 2010

Episode 42
Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems

A Green Vision for the Future of Cities Pt. I

Gail Vittori and Pliny Fisk introduce our hosts to their work, thinking at multiple scales about how to live & work ecologically.
How do you initially form the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems?
How do you start mapping resources?
What are the materials of the future?
Episode 43
Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems

A Green Vision for the Future of Cities Pt. II

Gail Vittori and Pliny Fisk expand on the lifecycle design, ecology and the future of cities.
How do you look forward to the future?
How do we improve the uptake of our best ideas into policy?
How do Social Designers evolve when Governments turn openly hostile towards sustainability?
What’s your advice for young designers wishing to get started?
Episode 44
Superuse Studios

The Blue Economy of the Future

Jan Jongert of Superuse Studios shares experiences in designing new forms of ecology within the city.
How did you start thinking about cities as ecosystems?

Partners Superuse Studios, from left to right, Jos de Krieger, Césare Peeren, Jan Jongert, Floris Schiferli, Jeroen Bergsma in front of the rewind seating element designed and built with discarded windmill blades.

What sort of enterprises make up the ecosystem of the city?

Tropicana, the former tropical swimming pool in Rotterdam is being transformed into Blue City, a place for workspaces, events and meetings to investigate the possibilities of the circular economy and put value to waste.

What are ‘Harvest Maps?’

Harvestmap.org (Oogstkaart in Dutch) is an online marketplace for redundant and second hand materials. Harvestmap allows companies or individuals to make an inventory of their supply of materials, components or even buildings for reuse. All materials, ranging from small quantities to continuous flows of (industrial) leftovers are represented.

Episode 45
Nance Klehm

Finding Nature Beneath our Feet

Nance Klehm shares her experiences as a ‘radical ecologist’ and her strategies for helping cities connect with nature.
How did you begin your interest in urban ecology?
Jason Crebs

Nance Klehm

How do you spark people’s curiosity about the nature around them?

Klehm leads a kindergarten composting class on the west side of Chicago

How do your projects draw together a diverse audience?

A public composting and planting workshop in Doha, Qatar; this public workshop involved both students of Qatar University engineering program as well as service workers to join in creating a compost operation together and later planting an edible corridor on campus.

How do we escalate our efforts for the future?
Episode 46

Gardening as Urban Action

Marco Clausen of Prinzessinnengärten discusses how they came to pioneer a form of mobile gardening, and the positive impacts it has had on their city.
How did Prinzessinnengärten initially move from empty land to garden?

Wasteland Moritzplatz: site at Moritzplatz before Prinzessinnengärten started to transform the wasteland into an urban garden.

How did the project transcend from mere garden to unifying public project?

Prinzessinnengärten Restaurant: a restaurant and café in Prinzessinnengärten, serving dishes from organic, regional and fairly produced products.

How do you deal with encroaching gentrification?

A view of Prinzessinnengärten at Moritzplatz in Berlin-Kreuzberg

Episode 38
Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency

The Architecture of Stateless Nations, Pt. I

Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal introduce their work on statelessness and human rights.
What are the issues that led to the creation of DAAR?

Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal

What does “Decolonizing” actually mean?

Children at play in Fawwar

How do you reconcile the right to return with the right to stay?

The project of the concrete tent in Dheisheh refugee camp deals with this paradox of a permanent temporality that petrify a mobile tent into a concrete house. The result is a hybrid between a tent and a concrete house, temporality and permanency, soft and hard, movement and stillness. Photos: Anna Sara for Campus in Camps

Episode 39
Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal of DAAR

The Architecture of Stateless Nations, Pt. II

Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal discuss the details of how they work between the temporary and the permanent.
How did your philosophies and methods play out in the Fawwar Camp?

A public meeting at Fawwar

What role do educational programs play in your work?

Campus in Camps meeting

What’s next for DAAR?

The Shu’fat School. The Shu’fat camp is enclosed by walls and fences built by Israeli governments since 2002, trapped in a legal void, neither inside nor outside Jerusalem borders.

Episode 40
Isella Ramirez of Hester Street

Activating Community Voices

Isella Ramirez of Hester Street discusses their strategies for making communities be heard.
How did the original Hester Street Collaborative grow out of a private architecture practice?

Visioning session with the Institute for Community Living to inform the development of a Neighborhood Health Hub in East New York.

How do you find your clients?

Queens residents share their thoughts on arts and culture at the Queens workshop for the CreateNYC Cultural Plan

What were the issues at play in the East Harlem Plan?

Final public forum for the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan, where community members prioritized 300+ recommendations on topics ranging from Land Use and Zoning, to Schools and Education, and more.

Episode 41
Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory

Recognizing the Unrecognized

Malkit Shoshan of the Foundation for Achieving Seamless Territory discusses the architecture of conflict.
What inspired the creation of FAST?

Malkit Shoshan

How do you formalize an informal village?

The book Village is complementary document to the Atlas. If in the atlas the Israeli­Palestinian conflict captured on a state scale, village is like zooming into one dot on the map, one place and from it narrate and extrapolate the complex reality of the conflict. The place chose by Shoshan was the unrecognized village of Ein Hawd. The research, advocacy and design project included the production of an alternative master plan for the village together with the local inhabitants and use it as a document to negotiate basic civil rights such as housing, water and electricity for the locals with the authorities. In the photograph, the model of the plan is explained by Muhammad Abu el Hayja the mayor of Ein Hawd to Carmel Selma ­ the head of the regional council.

Can Architecture Reverse Policy?

Advocacy at the Dutch Pavilion. Discussing the importance of legacy and accountability along Peace Operations with the Dutch Chief of Defense and representatives of the Dutch government.

Episode 33
Line Ramstad of Gyaw Gyaw

Finding Plenty in a World of Scarcity, Pt. I

Line Ramstad discusses the origin of G’Yaw G’yaw and introduces their methods.
How did you originally begin working with the Karen people?

The Gyaw Gyaw collective

What was your first project?

The Gyaw Gyaw team process adobe stones for future building.

How did the team come together?

The Gyaw Gyaw team gathers on a Monday morning to plan the week ahead. Photo by Jonathan Gonzalez.

Episode 34
Line Ramstad of Gyaw Gyaw

Finding Plenty in a World of Scarcity, Pt. II

Line Ramstad discusses the origin of G’Yaw G’yaw and introduces their methods.
What’s working and what’s not?
Photo by Line Ramstad

The headmaster of the Gaw La Heh School inspects the inside of the completed school.

What does the future hold for Nobu?
Photo by Jonathan Gonzalez

The foundation work begins on the Kler Deh Highschool.

What does G’Yaw G’Yaw actually mean?
Episode 35
Ashok Gadgil

Big Problems, Simple Solutions

Ashok Gadgil speaks to us about simple, low cost solutions to global public health.
How did you get started?
Photo by Liz Mangelsdorf

Ashok works with a student in his lab.

How do you move from research to a product?
Photo credit Dipti Vaghela

Picture taken in Odisha, India of a tribal woman using Berkeley Darfur Stove for the first time. Field testing is an essential component of the Lab’s work: not only to establish performance, but to evaluate cultural fit.

How do you reach 3 billion people?

The Mudinepalli Water Treatment Building inaguaration. By focusing on solutions that are scalable, the Gadgil Lab looks to solve massive problems in simple steps.

Episode 36
Dean Still of Aprovecho

Changing the Way We Make Fire

Dean Still of Aprovecho talks to us about the history of Aprovecho and their work to improve cookstove technology.
How and where did Aprovecho get its start?

From its beginnings in Guatemala, Aprovecho has spread all over the world. Here, ARC led an evaluation of 9 stove designs in Bangladesh.

How do these stoves change people’s lives?

The ARC designed rocket stove and super pot. The combination can reduce fuel use by up to 2/3rds saving families time, resources and protecting the environment from harmful smoke.

How do you create knowledge transfer?

ARC spreads its reach by supporting and training other organizations. Here, the U.S. Peace Corp hired ARC to assist in developing a training manual and performing field training to Peace Corps volunteers.

Episode 37
Yatin Pandya of Footprints E.A.R.T.H.

Finding Holistic Design Through History

Yatin Pandya discusses his philosophy of ‘holistic design’ and how he seeks new solutions for India’s future.
How do define ‘holistic’ design?

In Indore, the Aranya social housing project has demonstrated an innovative approach to integrated development, creating a holistic environment rooted in the sociocultural and economic milieu of the place and sympathetic to the way of life of the urban poor.

What are the first steps in bringing back some of the lessons of history?

The Manav Sadhna campus is built as a live demonstration for the application of recycled waste as affordable, aesthetically pleasing and efficient building components. Every part of the building attempts to educate.

How does your process begin?

Yatin Pandya

Episode 29
Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner

The New Informal City Pt. I

Urban­Think Tank discusses their urban strategy and how they work against structural inequality in cities.
Tell us about the origins of Urban Think Tank.

The MetroCable project brought new access to the barrios in Caracas

What tools should a social planner have in their toolbox?

The Vertical Gym encompasses many of U­TT’s strong principles on bringing verticality to informal communities.

What should a young designer consider as an entry point into political work?

U­TT’s community workshop for the Empower Shack project. Building community will and local partnerships helps overcome political inertia that keeps slums from developing.

How do we design housing and economy to intersect in a symbiotic way?

The Empower Shack: an innovative housing solution for Cape Town which is built incrementally and with the participation of the residents.

Episode 30
Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner

The New Informal City Pt. II

Urban Think Tank shares their ideas on how to make the formal informal, and vice versa.
How can incremental housing spur development?

A colorful example of U­TT’s Empower Shack – a new form of incremental housing.

What is hybrid formality?

An Empower Shack under construction.

How do allied arts facilitate architecture?

U­TT in Barranquilla, Colombia, bringing together Carnivale, the arts and international funding.

What do you recommend to young architects about how they can engage in society?

The founders in Munich

Episode 31
Anshu Gupta

Clothing, Currency and Community

Anshu Gupta of Goonj discusses his unique methodology for community development: clothes as currency.
How did you originally conceive of trading cloth for development?

Using underutilized urban school material as a tool for bringing behavior change in children.

How do you define priorities?

Large scale Rural participation for community development under 'Cloth for Work' initiative.

How did Goonj scale the way that it did?

Large scale Rural participation for community development under 'Cloth for Work' initiative.

How does Goonj collaborate with designers?

For designers to help, Goonj recommends that designers ‘stop wearing their own glasses’ and embrace the wisdom present in those they’re wishing to help.

Episode 32
Himanshu Parikh

Slum Networking, Explained.

Himanshu Parikh discusses the evolution of cities and slums, and how a historicist read can lead us to new engineering innovations
How did you conceive of the idea of slum networking?

A typical Indore slum before any sort of intervention

What does the history of first world cities teach us about how to address infrastructure in the developing world?
How does infrastructure improve health outcomes?

Integrated slum infrastructure improvement in Indore.

How do you create and formalize alliances to facilitate redevelopment?

How slum improvements can fully transform a street.

Episode 24
Interboro + Ecosistema Urbano

Tools for Urban Action, Pt. I

Ecosistema Urbano & Interboro share their stories about how they shaped a practice around public space.
Tell us about the origins of Interboro, and what guides your work?

Daniel D’Oca, Georgeen Theodore, and Tobias Armborst, the three founding partners of Interboro

How did Ecosistema Urbano come to be, and what continues to be your ethos?

Ecosistema Urbano founders and partners Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo

How do you establish a conversation with communities?

Ecosistema Urbano designed a specific toolkit to let kids reflect about their perception of the urban environment and allowed them to develop a vision for their ideal Distrito Central. Photo by Lee Jaruzelski Marin

Episode 25
Interboro + Ecosistema Urbano

Tools for Urban Action, Pt. II

Interboro and Ecosistema Urbano get tactical and walk our hosts through the nuts and bolts of how they do their work.
How can we use digital tools in community engagement?

Ecosistema Urbano conducted a two­week workshop with Architecture students in Asuncion that consisted of several activities, such as mapping the Historical Center, and then proposing and carrying out urban actions by taking to the streets establishing a dialogue with the local community. Photo by Juan Carlos Meza, Santi Carneri

The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion

The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion is already out! Get your copy today!

How do designers defend public space while still living in a market economy?

The Ecopolis Plaza ­ conceived as an open air environmental classroom. It provides welcoming child care facilities and seeks to educate a younger generation on issues of sustainability, so that they might grow into a new generation of environmental stewardship.

How do we make public space a catalyst for urban regeneration?

A photograph of Reststop – a temporary waterfront park on Manhattan’s Pier 42. After Hurricane Sandy, New York City lost approximately 10,000 trees. The project presented a unique opportunity – the temporary park was established using trees in transit. The planters in which the trees were held were refashioned as benches and while the trees were awaiting relocation to their permanent home; a new bit of public space was created in the middle of Midtown! New York, 2013, photograph by Interboro

Episode 26
Kounkuey Design Initiative

Making Public Space Productive

Chelina Odbert and Jennifer Toy of the Kounkuey Design Initiative share their thoughts on how to engage community.
What was the original catalyst for KDI?

Some of the KDI Kenya Team with Executive Director Chelina Odbert in November 2015 during research for the Urban Flooding project. Photo: Katie Nelson/KDI

What are the differences between working in public space and working on a building?

Baile Folklorico dancers perform at the opening of Saint Anthony’s Productive Public Space in Coachella Valley. Photo: KDI

How can we design public space in a way that generates economy?

A handover ceremony at KDI's Kibera Public Space 05, completed in 2013. The site includes a laundry pad, multipurpose space, business kiosks, water and sanitation block, and a wetland system fed by natural spring.

Episode 27
EXYZT + Basurama

How All Space Becomes Public Space, Pt. I

EXYZT and Basurama detail new ways to think about public space.
What originally brought your collectives together?
Cyrile Weiner

Metavilla at the French Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2006. One of the first very visible projects where EXYZT established their ideas of ‘occupation’ – living and working on site for the duration of the project.

How did Basurama originally define a design ethos around waste?

A schoolyard transformed with waste. Basurama uses waste as a pedagogical strategy at all levels.

How do we make a temporary project permanent?

Dalston Mill, where EXYZT used a temporary installation to make permanent commentary on the gentrification of the neighborhood in advance of the London Olympics. A temporary physical structure can and should create a permanent political statement.

Episode 28
EXYZT + Basurama

How All Space Becomes Public Space, Pt. II

EXYZT and Basurama tell us strategies for how to take over public space.
How do you make architecture in such a way that it can influence the more formal systems of the city?

Bubble Station, from ReCreate Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan, 2016. The project focused on working in public space, urban waste and local communities, as part of a government push to reinvigorate playgrounds.

How do playgrounds form an entry point for urban renewal?

Reusing the abandoned electric railroad track Basurama invited the community members and local artists to participate in the creation of a new public space. Almost the entire amusement park was built from recycled material such as tires and other car parts.

What is the future of public space?

“City is Land” – a temporary urban island by EXYZT. EXYZT believes that any member of the public space should be able to create public space, and that public space can be anywhere but the public square. Your house, a carpark, etc. can all take on a public function, depending on how we design it, and how we use it.

May 17






Episode 19
Sergio Palleroni

The Trajectory of Social Design, Pt. I

Sergio Palleroni discusses his thirty year career in Social Impact Design
How did you come into a career in public interest design?
How did your early work fit within the design ethos of the time?

The Basic Initiative’s first completed school in Mexico, here being used by the local community as a site for a birthday party. Basic’s model is based on this kind of community intimacy.

What is the role of conversation in a designer’s process?

Palleroni in Montana discussing plans for straw bale housing with Native American Reservation clients.

Episode 20
Sergio Palleroni

The Trajectory of Social Design, Pt. II

Sergio Palleroni outlines the lessons of his practice at a project scale.
The American Indian Housing Initiative

The American Indian Housing Initiative brought design students onto Cheyenne and Crow reservations in Montana to work on housing projects with residents.

How translatable are the lessons from each community where you’ve worked?

The Druk White Lotus School in Shey, Ladakh, in northern India.

Episode 21

Building Community a Block at a Time Pt. I

Brent Brown of bcWORKSHOP tells us how they serve marginalized communities in the Rio Grande Valley.
How did you get your start in public interest design?

bcWORKSHOP begins every project with a conversation, working with communities to understand existing vulnerabilities; in this case, discussing drainage hazards in the neighborhood.

How did you originally start working in the Rio Grande Valley?

bcWORKSHOP begins a community engagement process.

How do you define a successful Project?

The Congo Street Initiative

Episode 22

Building Community a Block at a Time Pt. II

Brent Brown of bcWORKSHOP tells us how they serve marginalized communities in the Rio Grande Valley.
What is “Precovery” Planning?

Organizing transportation mapping

How do Designers intersect with local government?
How do you draw attention to underserved communities?

bcWORKSHOP leads a community exercise asking residents to visualize their neighborhood and its resources.

Episode 23
Project Row Houses

How do we make life into art, and vice versa?

Project Row Houses is a neighborhood­based nonprofit art and cultural organization working on grassroots development in Houston’s 3rd ward.
How did Project Row Houses come to be?

Founders Rick Lowe and Jesse Lott during an early renovation in 1993, right at the project’s inception.

Houston’s 3rd Ward has a rich built tradition, with a dominant shotgun house typology. However, decades of disinvestment had taken its toll.

Are the successes of Project Row House able to affect other communities?

Carlos Sandoval De Leon lectures as a visiting artist in the summer of 2015. Project Row House has brought an international cultural anchor point to Houston’s 3rd Ward. DeLeon’s work focuses on found objects, and trying to reinvigorate the commonplace and the everyday.

How do we see our own lives as art?

Rick Lowe at Project Row House

Episode 15
Build Change

A Homeowner-driven Approach to Rebuilding After Disaster

Dr. Elizabeth Hausler of Build Change details a homeowner-driven approach to rebuilding after disaster.
What initially brought you into the field of disaster reconstruction and resilience?
Lola Gomez

Brickmakers at work in Indonesia. Addressing disaster requires intervention at all levels - often the best way to ensure sustainable recovery is to make sure that a community can make their own materials.

Why do we have so much trouble preparing for disasters which we know are coming?
Build Change

Build Change's Nepal staff explaining a housing retrofit. Build Change's model looks to strengthen existing structures in place, where possible. Even buildings undamaged in an earthquake can represent a future hazard if not addressed.

What strategies do you employ to disseminate the lessons which you’ve learned through your work?
Build Change

Here, Build Change leads a community awareness training program at a school in Port au Prince. Community education is critical to prevention, and features heavily in Build Change's ethos on disaster and resilience.

Episode 16
Heritage Foundation of Pakistan

Design, Development and Disaster Mitigation in Pakistan

Yasmeen Lari details the growth of resilient architecture and sustainable development in Pakistan.
How can designers be smarter about preparing for disaster?
What is the strategy to rebuild when communities are under future threats?
How do we counteract the risks created by rapid development?

Yasmine Lari, visionary architect and founder of the Heritage Foundation of Pakistan

Episode 17
Mohammed Rezwan

Mitigating Climate-Based Disaster Before it Strikes

Mohammed Rezwan of Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha details his designs for floating communities.
How did Shidhulai get it’s start? What was the initial inspiration?

School-boat inventor Architect Mohammed Rezwan’s idea was to ‘combine a school bus with the schoolhouse, and use the traditional wooden boat to create a floating space to bring primary education at the doorsteps’.

How would you describe the reach of your work?

A floating farm measures about 56 feet long (including the duck coop, vegetable garden and fish enclosures) and 16 feet wide, and made of recycled materials including steel and plastic cylindrical containers, fishing net, corrugated iron sheet, and steel sheet along with locally-grown bamboo

What are your most urgent challenges?

A teacher teaches Bangla to the students studying in grade III on the lower deck of a two- tier school-boat where a circular bench is introduced for the teacher and student bonding.

Episode 18
Geohazards International

Unifying First and Third World Strategies for Disaster Mitigation

Geohazards International shares their groundbreaking methods for disaster mitigation.
What’s the difference between hard and soft resilience?

Planning tsunami evacuation routes in Padang, Indonesia. Residents will have roughly 30 minutes to reach high ground by foot after a major earthquake triggers a tsunami.

How do you adapt local materials into safe seismic design?

Schoolchildren learn about the physics of earth shaking and safe construction as a part of training an entire community to better prepare for earthquakes.

Where, globally, does the greatest risk lie?

GHI and Bhutan engineers at the Trashiyangtse District Hospital that can be isolated after a disaster. Doctors, nurses, and staff are learning how to continue to offer medical care after a major earthquake to the growing population of its 20,000 residents.

Episode 10
Project H + Public Architecture

Emily Pilloton and John Peterson Argue for Design as the Great Equalizer, Part I

Part 1
John Peterson and Emily Pilloton share their practices and discuss how design can subvert structural inequality
What are the origins of Project H?

Windsor Farmers Market in Bertie County North Carolina 2010. One of the first projects completed by Studio H, the project was designed and built entirely by high school students.

How do designers respond to the needs of their community?

Public Architecture helped to develop an anchor strategy for University of Texas Rio Grande Valley that aligns with priorities of low-income communities and encourages equitable regional development throughout South Texas.

Episode 11
Project H + Public Architecture

Emily Pilloton and John Peterson Argue for Design as the Great Equalizer, Part II

Part 2
We continue our discussion with John and Emily about what role design can play in challenging rising economic and social inequality.
What does the future of social design look like?

Girls Garage participants with a sign that reads FEARLESS that they welded as a group.

Tell us about the Girls Garage?

Completed thesis projects by Girls Garage participants.

Episode 12
El Equipo Mazzanti

Why All Architecture is Social

Giancarlo Mazzanti shares his thoughts on transforming Medellin and how great architecture can bring neighborhoods together.
What’s the most important question to answer when engaging a community?

Pies Descalzos School, Shakira´s foundation in Cartagena by Sergio Gómez

How do we bring the lessons of the Medellin transformation out into the world?

Santa Marta´s park renovation, canopy by Rodrigo Dávila

Episode 13
Al Borde

How to Design a School for $200

David Barragan of Al Borde discusses how design can empower a community to become their own designers & builders.
How did you find a common language between the designers and the community?

Al Borde at work. Each project begins with an extensive consultation and the building of relationships within a community.

How do you translate the wisdom of the field into pedagogy?

Esperanza Dos, Under Construction. All of the Esperanza projects were made using materials local to the village, and expertise cultivated in partnership with its residents.

Episode 14
Active Social Architecture

Combining Ancient Traditions and Contemporary Social Design

Active Social Architecture is a Kigali-based architecture practice that designs and builds contemporary re-elaborations of vernacular Rwandan architecture.
How do you initially frame a project?

A celebration: handing over an open-air kitchen module to the community.

What are the most important findings in your research?

Interior view of a pre-primary classroom. Much of ASA's work focuses on the exploration of space, void, shape & color. It's their belief that the organization of space can itself be a tool of education, providing stimulation from the earliest ages.

How do you implement a project in remote conditions?

Aerial view of Mugombwa refugee camp, South Province, Rwanda. Active Social Architecture has worked extensively with communities affected by flooding in rural Rwanda.

Episode 6
Breaking Ground + Jonathan Kirschenfeld

Fighting for Dignified Housing, Part I

Part 1
Jonathan Kirschenfeld and Brenda Rosen share their thoughts on the right to housing, and methodologies for doing supportive housing well.
Is the Right to Housing Real?
Setting Aside Clichés, What Does Homelessness Look Like?
What is the Difference Between “Supportive” Housing and “Affordable” Housing?1
Episode 7
Breaking Ground + Jonathan Kirschenfeld

Fighting for Dignified Housing, Part II

Part 2
Jonathan Kirschenfeld and Brenda Rosen share their thoughts on the right to housing, and methodologies for doing supportive housing well.
How Can Housing Rehabilitate a Neighborhood?
What’s the Difference between a Community Facility and a Residential Property? Why is that Important?
Can Doing Good Work Inadvertently Encourage Gentrification?
Episode 8
Asian Coalition for Housing Rights

Growth, Equity & Asian Cities

The Asian Coalition for Housing Rights is a large broad­based coalition of like­minded groups fighting for housing advocacy throughout Asia; they share with us their strategies.
What Are the Main Issues Confronting Asian Cities?
What is a ‘ParaArchitect?’
How do you Ensure that New Housing is Done Well?
How Does an Architect Work with Other Disciplines?
Episode 9
Anne Lacaton & Jean Phillipe Vassal

Add, Transform, and Reuse!

Lacaton & Vassal Deconstructs Their Widely­ Acclaimed methods for the Re­adaptation of Modernist housing blocks in France.
Through the Lens of ‘Less is More,’ What are the Important Challenges Facing Architects Today?
How do you Create an Inclusive Community with Disparate Populations?
How Must Housing Evolve to Accommodate the Needs of Evolving Society?
Episode 1
Teddy Cruz & Fonna Forman

Reimagining the Border, Part I

Part 1
Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman of Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman discuss their practice at the Tijuana/San Diego border, and how design transcends politics.
How do Designers enter the world of policy? Can Designers be Policy-Makers?
How can Design empower communities?
Episode 2
Teddy Cruz & Fonna Forman

Reimagining the Border, Part II

Part 2
Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman of Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman continue their discussion of design & politics at the San Diego/Tijuana border.
How does design decriminalize a border? Can Designers position themselves against anti-immigrant rhetoric?
Can Designers provide language which can bridge communities?
Episode 3
Mark Lakeman (City Repair)

The Street As a Revolution

Mark Lakeman of the City Repair Project discusses motives and methods for igniting neighborhood change, street by street.
How does Guerilla Practice become Policy?
Is the U.S. Exporting Sprawl to Developing Countries?
How has the CRP philosophy played out in the streets of Portland?
Episode 4
Arquitectura Expandida

Engaging Community, Engaging Practice

Arquitectura Expandida discusses its approach to working in informal communities alongside (and sometimes around) government.
How do Architects Engage Informal Communities?
How do you engage with the Government?
How do you convince a community to build something?
Episode 5
Santiago Cirugeda (Recetas Urbanas)

Flirting with Illegality

Santiago Cirugeda - Spain’s 'Guerrilla Architect’ - explains how he challenges urban authority and makes neighborhoods work for everyone.
How did Recetas Urbanas get it's start?
How is Your Practice Shifting to Deal with Larger, Systemic Problems?
What do you do went public agencies won't let the public use public buildings?