Join two AIANY Medal of Honor Awardees, Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA, and Andrew Bernheimer, FAIA, for a discussion of Pedagogy of a Beloved Commons: Pursuing Democracy’s Promise through Placed-Based Activism (Fordham University Press, 2023).

An essential, timely book, Pedagogy of a Beloved Commons is about how low-income youth of color work within justice-oriented, community-based organizations to transform their surroundings. It draws from hundreds of pages of data to present verbatim quotes that describe their amazing efforts to improve their disinvested neighborhoods, whether through political or place-based activism. The youth who populate the pages of the book—the very youth whom architects would like to recruit into the profession—are campaigning for better food and better schools, tackling gang violence and over-policing, creating gardens and farmers markets, painting murals and staging art festivals, cleaning up rivers, and even building housing. The book posits that the disinvested neighborhoods where youth experience abandonment and marginality in fact can serve as a call to action, given appropriate organizational support. The book talk posits that architects should set aside their unsuccessful 50-year attempt to create a pipeline into the profession and instead lend their support to what young people are already called to do as the “architects” of their communities.