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September 1, 2021
by Center for Architecture
The brand identity for the Center for Architecture Lab's second residency with the Community Design Collaborative.
A photograph showing some of the members of the congregations participating in the Community Design Collaborative's Sacred Places/Civic Spaces initiative.
Reception for the capstone exhibition for the Community Design Collaborative's Sacred Places/Civic Spaces initiative. Image courtesy of the Community Design Collaborative.
A photograph showing some of the members of the congregations participating in the Community Design Collaborative's Sacred Places/Civic Spaces initiative.
Reception for the capstone exhibition for the Community Design Collaborative's Sacred Places/Civic Spaces initiative. Image courtesy of the Community Design Collaborative.

Earlier this year, the Center for Architecture launched the Center for Architecture Lab, a multi-month, multi-disciplinary residency program to highlight new voices in architecture and design, with inaugural residents the Indigenous Scholars of Architecture, Planning and Design (ISAPD). We are proud to announce our second residents, the Community Design Collaborative, who will be activating our digital platforms from September 13 to October 31, 2021.

Founded in 1991 as a program of the AIA in Philadelphia, and now an independent 501(c)(3), the Community Design Collaborative is dedicated to the idea that design is a tool used to build a smarter, more effective, and more efficient environment that strengthens its communities, bolstering their sense of identity and agency. Their roots are in the community design movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, which championed community involvement as a key component to the design process, addressing the distrust and displacement caused by urban renewal efforts characterized by top-down development.

The displacement and systemic divestment in predominantly poor, often Black and Brown communities leave neighborhoods underdeveloped and neglected. The Collaborative’s community-engaged process, supported by the pro-bono services of a robust volunteer workforce, is their direct response to combat the divestment and displacement of gentrification. The Collaborative understands that not all communities have access to critical resources—capacity building, design knowledge, and funding—necessary for driving the development of their own built environment. The goal of the Collaborative’s work is to ensure that all communities, but especially underserved and divested communities, gain access to these resources.

For the Collaborative, joining the Center for Architecture Lab is an opportunity to elevate the history, contemplate the present, and envision the future of neighborhood-strengthening design.

The Collaborative sees the built environment as a powerful agent for activism, elevating the voice of communities. As such, they are designing an interactive residency to elevate their work. They will share intimate stories from their nonprofit partners, who are on the ground every day as community change agents. They will bring to the fore their most talented and passionate volunteers, dedicated to transforming the world around them. The Collaborative is also planning live events, featuring brilliant candid conversations between the best and brightest practitioners. We invite you to join the conversation, starting September 13.

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