Last weekend over 60 architects, designers, activists, artists, students and community members from around the country turned up at the Miami University Center for Community Engagement in Cincinnati for an on-the-ground design charrette. The Center for Community Engagement is located in Over-the-Rhine, one of the most neglected and under developed areas in the city. The three day event, co-hosted by my organization Architecture for Humanity, ran in parallel with the 40th anniversary of the Freedom Summer.
The participants divided into five groups and tackled issues related to urban planning, architectural intervention and social activism. My group worked on designing and building voter registration booths. These booths would be adapted into small flower stalls or news stands (small community based micro-economic engines) after the election. We were very fortunate to have Hollis Watkins apart of the project who gave real perspective to the work the team was doing. Hollis was one of the first African Americans to be involved in voter registration in Mississippi and is still involved in increasing voter turnout in the state. We had a fun couple of days and I am looking for ideas for the next one.
Here are a few photos of the weekend.