buildingcommunityWORKSHOP [bc] and the University of Virginia School of Architecture will pilot a design-based
research partnership to identify new avenues to address rapid development in the Washington DC area in a sustainable and equitable manner. As a nonprofit community design center, [bc] seeks to improve the livability and viability of communities through the practice of thoughtful design and making. [bc] approaches projects through a community first model and works with communities to make sure their voice is leading the discussion.
Funded by the National Endowment for the Art’s ArtWorks program, [bc] will partner with School of Architecture’s Assistant Professor Barbara Brown Wilson and her planning course, PLAC 5812, to utilize community-engaged research and design methods to address a timely equitable development challenge. The course, titled Ecological Democracy, broadly introduces students to the interconnections between equity, health, ecology, and urbanity – helping to shape an awareness in students of the roles planning and design can play in supporting socio-economic vulnerable communities to increase their own social and ecological resilience. This year, the 15 students in the course will work with buildingcommunityWORKSHOP and the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, to assist in the development of community-appropriate signage that better connects this national park to its urban neighborhood.
The partnership constructs a mutually beneficial relationship between The School of Architecture and [bc]. UVA students directly learn from leaders in the field wherein they can serve as resource allies and [bc] is supported in its mission to contribute to the thought leadership in DC around equitable development through collaboration on place-based projects. In addition to several other project leads, UVA School of Architecture alumna, Michaela Accardi (MUEP ’16), a Design Associate at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, will play an integral role in this project.