THE PLAN Journal (TPJ) intends to disseminate and promote innovative, thought-provoking and relevant research, studies and criticism in architecture and urbanism. The criteria for selecting contributions will be innovation, clarity of purpose and method, and potential transformational impact on disciplinary fields or the broader socio-cultural context. The ultimate purpose of the TPJ is to enrich the dialog between research and professional fields, in order to encourage both applicable new knowledge and intellectually driven modes of practice. (Maurizio Sabini)

Latest Articles - Theme: "Design for Social Impact"

 Open Access
Project

Walk the Line. Architecture as a Catalyst for Socio-Spatial Connectivity

by: Tatiana Bilbao VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.07, published: 2017-03-16

Miravalle is a relatively new neighborhood in Iztapalapa borough, by the eastern edge of Mexico City. It has been identified as a highly-marginalized area, as its 11,000 residents have poor access to public infrastructure, high rates of violence, and socio-economic discrimination is something most experience. Nonetheless, the community has worked together with the aim of improving the conditions and quality of life in a small but outstanding way. As a group of architects, we are working with them to transform the main park of the area and neighboring communities into a walkable and safe recreational area. The prerequisite for city life is a walkable urban environment. If a safe line crossing the park could help diminish the insecurity and strengthen the connections between people and space within the neighborhoods, then architectural interventions as a stead for social development are guaranteed.

 Open Access
Essay

Dotte Agency: A Participatory Design Model for Community Health

by: Shannon Criss , Matt Kleinmann VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.09, published: 2017-03-16

As community activists resist racial injustice, food insecurity, and infrastructural delinquency, many groups are attempting to articulate the voice of the citizen. It is within this landscape that architects have historically struggled to find common ground to afford democratic access for citizens to engage in discussions about the future of their city. Based upon surrogate models of other professions, there has emerged a proactive movement towards Social Impact Design. Like many urban core areas, our community faces a health epidemic compounded by poverty. In response to requests for collaboration, and through cross-disciplinary academic partnerships in both public health and social welfare, we have begun to leverage design advocacy to improve health outcomes. This has evolved into an alternative model of practice that advances public design through interdisciplinary, adaptive and incremental spatial agency. It is a sustainable practice that fosters conversations and supports events originating from within the community. Our approach seeks to scaffold an infrastructure of public health through methods of participatory design and advocacy. Through new forms of design intelligence and collaborative design tools, our critical spatial practice demonstrates new ways for how architectural design can be relevant to society.

 Open Access
Article

Designing with Dignity: Health and Design Research for Underserved Communities

by: Yvonne Michael , Diana Nicholas VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.06, published: 2017-03-15

“Designing with Dignity” is a course that examines how Health and Design research can inform problem-solving for underserved communities. The educational arm of the new Center for Health in the Designed Environment (CHDE) received a foundation grant for a course entitled “Health and Design Research: Designing with Dignity” that was piloted spring 2016. In this pilot, students from multiple disciplines examined the relationship between the built environment, health and behavioral health issues. The course linked these issues with the over-arching theme of housing insecurity. Within this central theme, the students were particularly concerned with underserved groups who may be suffering poor health outcomes due to their lack of access to safe and healthy living spaces. Frameworks within the course exposed the students to multi-level social determinants of behavioral health for underserved groups. Students then learned techniques to innovate solutions for these groups that would improve their limited access to housing resources. Taught by faculty from health and design, this curriculum is designed to help students ask questions and create solutions. They engage in a process that centers on melding human-centered design approaches with public health research. The course participants are taught to create fresh solutions that will have positive impacts on behavioral health in the urban environment.

 Open Access
Article

Social Impact through Design: Experiments in Urban Agriculture

by: Sallie Hambright-Belue , Martin J. Holland VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.05, published: 2017-02-15

This paper describes the work of students at the School of Architecture and the Department of Landscape Architecture at Clemson University with a local, non-profit organization - the Feed & Seed - in creating alternatives to the current threads that affect the urban area of West Greenville, South Carolina. Starting on the definition of Food Desert as an area without access to fresh and whole foods, students address issues of economic equity, community building and social justice by developing urban agriculture solutions that focus on food hub and food cycle, promote education and foster social cohesion. With the gaps between the haves and have-nots apparently widening each and every year students perceive, challenge, and test the role that designers have in the decision making processes that constitute possible solutions of fractured neighborhoods, cities and regions.

 Open Access
Article

How Does Work Shape Informal Cities? The Critical Design of Cities and Housing in Brazilian Slums

by: Ana Rosa Chagas Cavalcanti VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.04, published: 2017-02-15

This essay is conceived as a reaction to the past conference Shaping Cities of the Urban Age at the 2016 Venice Biennale, Reporting from the Front. In light of numerous global crises, urban explosion, housing shortages and rising social movements, contemporary architecture is increasingly being pushed to investigate the social dimension, impact and implications of urban design.

In particular, architectural education institutions and practices are expected to be more focused on the social fabric and to address current economic and politic scenarios. How could design dialogue positively influence the great social phenomena in cities where the scarcity of resources, migration, urban informality, global warming and economic crises are the most thriving endeavours? The essay speculates that the importance of labour of slums’ dwellers can assist planners and architects to design with social impact. Authors who study informal settlements usually do not mention that labour practices are the main driving force behind the design of slums. Labour is currently shaping the slums, in terms of material usage and otherwise.

 Open Access
Article

Gentrification and the Heterogeneous City: Finding a Role for Design

by: Sally Harrison , Andrew Jacobs VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.03, published: 2017-02-03

That cities will change is indisputable: urban evolution mostly signifies healthy growth, but it is also true that in the contemporary context, gentrifying neighborhood change increasingly operates on an extraterritorial plane, happening quickly, opportunistically and unilaterally. Neighborhoods are evaluated and disposed of as trading commodities in a process that violates the citizen’s fundamental right to the expectation of a stable dwelling situation. Gentrification also threatens a city’s spatial heterogeneity which, through its diverse forms and meanings, can support the enactment of democratic urban life. It leaves little room for a broader discourse around place – a discourse that might lead to the creation of more porous urban space, to the emergence of hybrid institutions and to new sites of pluralistic engagement. This paper will consider a pair of contiguous neighborhoods in Philadelphia where market-driven gentrification has come face to face with powerful grassroots civic advocacy; and it looks at what architects, landscape architects and urban designers can do to help neighborhoods resist gentrification and support heterogeneity in making places where the hand-print of multiple publics might be found.

 Open Access
Project

S House n. 3

by: Vo Trong Nghia VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.02, published: 2017-01-20

The third prototype house for low-income classes designed in response to housing shortages in countries struck by natural disasters was built in Ho Chi Minh City. Thanks to passive design methods, natural lighting, a galvanized steel structure that weights only 1,200 kg set on a reinforced concrete foundation, the model combines quality control, cost management, easy transportation, DIY modular components and fast on-site construction. Now suitable for mass production, the S HOUSE project is designed to be flexible and adaptable to expansion or new uses as the next prototypes will showcase.

 Open Access
Polemic

Challenging the White-Savior Industrial Complex

by: Thomas Fisher VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.01, published: 2017-01-20

Social-impact design challenges many of the assumptions that guide architectural practice such as: What should we design? What program should we design to? What site should we design on? Who should be involved in the design? And what else needs designing beyond what we have been commissioned to do? In raising these questions, social-impact design essentially inverts the expertise model that has guided both architectural education and practice and leads to a more open and responsive mode of practice that looks for the underlying reasons why a problem or need has occurred and the larger systemic issues that surround the project and that may require redesigning themselves. Through a series of social-impact design projects conducted by the Minnesota Design Center at the University of Minnesota, this essay explores what this means in specific ways, through actual projects with diverse communities of people.

 Open Access
EDITORIAL
Editorial

In This Issue [1/2016]

by: Maurizio Sabini VOL 1 2016 - Issue 1 , Pages: 5 - 6 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.01.09, published: 2016-10-21

Board