Contemporary American society has become increasingly fragmented, with people separated both physically and socially based on ability, age, income, and belief. This fragmentation is built into the urban fabric of cities, suburbs, and rural areas, which wittingly and unwittingly isolate certain groups from larger communities through the design of spaces according to specific needs. A host of colliding crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, embedded structural racism, and deepening political polarization, have only exacerbated these divisions.
Reset: Towards a New Commons aims to open dialogues that foster more diverse and inclusive solutions to building community. Rather than designing specific spaces for specific needs, the exhibition considers how spaces may be designed for all, addressing the importance of barrier-free environments and practices rooted in “Universal Design.”
The majority of the exhibition will be dedicated to four projects developed by interdisciplinary design teams—one focusing on New York City, one on Cincinatti, Ohio, and two in the San Francisco Bay Area—which were selected by an advisory committee through an open call for proposals in the spring of 2021. The projects envision environments that encourage new modes of living collaboratively and more holistic approaches to inclusion, with special attention paid to ameliorating the divisions of age, race, and ability.
Barry Bergdoll, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, 19th- and 20th-century Architectural History, Columbia University
Juliana Barton, Director, Center for the Arts, Northeastern University
Natasha Jen, Pentagram
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