Time and again, the mainstream media has analyzed and debated the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012, inside the perimeter of the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community in Sanford, Florida. In the search for answers that make any sense of Martin’s untimely death, many have sounded proposals to rescind Florida’s stand-your-ground law. Far fewer, however, have called for reconsideration of the urban planning practices that continue to perpetuate the gated community typology, which — by nature of its spatial organization — was not only the site of Martin’s death but also, in part, the cause. Developers, urban planners, and lawmakers must be held accountable for their roles in building communities of exclusionary gates and poorly planned public spaces, where the physical environment validates discriminatory sentiment that renders the unusual as suspicious.Read More
As a youngster growing up in Highland Park, Michigan I was always baffled by the barren, dilapidated concrete structures which sat at the corner of my elementary school. The mystery was heightened when I was I child, because the structures remained covered by metal shutters for obvious security issues. The metal shutters used to cover the stairs were frequently used as an impromptu instrument as students stood atop and stomped repeatedly to make as much noise as possible during the walk to school or at the end of classes. The reverberating noise created by the metal panels over a voided structure was soul satisfying for some odd reason. I can also remember those loud thunderous noises being the soundtrack to various childhood fights I witnessed. Standing atop these structures were the best seat at the intersecting corners where skirmishes would frequently occur. It was not clear to us as children that these concrete structures were actually stairs which lead children to underground passages.Read More
"I grew up here in New York. It's changed," Lee said at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute, an art, design, and architecture school. "And why does it take an influx of white New Yorkers in the South Bronx, in Harlem, in Bed Stuy, in Crown Heights for the facilities to get better? The garbage wasn't picked up every motherfucking day when I was living in 165 Washington Park. ... The police weren't around. When you see white mothers pushing their babies in strollers, three o'clock in the morning on 125th Street, that must tell you something."Read More
Once the powerhouse of America's industrial might, Detroit is more recently known in the popular imagination as a fabulous ruin, crumbling and bankrupt. But city planner Toni Griffin asks us to look again -- and to imagine an entrepreneurial future for the city's 700,000 residents.
Griffin recently served as director of the Detroit Works Project, and in 2012 completed and released Detroit Future City, a comprehensive citywide framework plan for urban transformationRead More
This blog is about my first publication related to Hip Hop Inspired Architecture and Design, outside of my thesis at University of Detroit Mercy. The article details how LeCorbusier and his grand architectural visions inadvertently contributed to the creation of the environments which birthed Hip Hop. Thus deeming him, the first hip hop architect.