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Tuesday, October 27 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Session 10: The Urban Living Lab: Co-Design Strategies to Adapt Rural America to a Resilient Future /Richmond, Virginia is Burning? Who Holds the Legacy? Who tells the Story?/ Lowtech: design group, interdisciplinary space for cooperative creation

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The Urban Living Lab (Brisotto, Carney) - Designers at the Florida Institute for the Built Environment Resilience (FIBER) at the University of Florida are conducting research that aims to assist the resilient development of rural Florida facing growth due to climate immigration from coastal areas. This research is at its initial stage of developing the interdisciplinary methodology that facilitates inclusion, equity, and long-term solutions using a co-design approach as framework. Designers work to co-create; not merely translate or to dictate outcomes collected from the community. In this light, design offers a place to creatively think about the future of one’s town, providing interdisciplinary academic expertise and knowledge to the community so that it can be understood and processed through art and design. This presentation seeks to visually narrate the application of Urban Living Lab in rural contexts, collecting case studies from around the world providing insights on the method, its characteristics, strategies, and outcomes.

Richmond, Virginia is Burning: Who holds the legacy? Who tells the story? (Chessin)
Following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, Richmond, Virginia was one of the many cities that erupted in protest and violence. Richmond's legacy as the capital of the Confederacy holds a unique position in the U.S. history of racism, oppression. With the end of the Civil War clearly in sight, the retreating Confederate Army ignited the city's arsenal. The fires raged out of control as the city quickly became engulfed in flames. Less than thirty years after the end of the war, the Jim Crow era seized the imagination of the wealthy power brokers of the city, now rebuilt. To honor "the lost cause", enormous statues were erected to honor several Confederate generals, most notably Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Army of Northern Virginia whose surrender to General Grant of the Union Army marked the beginning of the end of this chapter in Virginia history. It is commonly believed that the monuments served as a way to create a lasting statement of white supremacy to serve the city of RIchmond in perpetuity. Everything changed by early June when the Lee statue became the canvas for graffiti announcing that Black Lives Matter. Over the summer the 20' high base and the surrounding lawn was transformed into a monument to Black bodies killed by law enforcement. With this presentation I will present the transformation of this monument and then share individual stories told to me—a middle-aged white woman—by young Black males during a Father's Day celebration. As I tell the stories they shared with me, I am raising the questions that must address not only the past history, but our current crisis: who tells the story?

Lowtech (Durán) - Lowtech UC design group refuses to assume that every problem needs to be solved with high technology. Sensible, sensitive, and pertinent responses to local realities can instill value in the productive and educational processes of our communities. The technology transfer mechanism, outreach and implementation of high-end scientific knowledge developed in Chile and the rest of the world presents an evident challenge; its costs and complexity are not consistent with the economic and technical scenarios of a large percentage of society. This high technology innovation dynamic makes it difficult to integrate into socially vulnerable or productive environments. In this way, a renewed perspective for the development of products and systems that take advantage of the state of the art in science, but simplify the processes and materials used, has had interesting results. To achieve these objectives, we have developed and implemented a design methodology based on the didactic extrapolation of evolutionary biological phenomena referring to the emergence of new species from symbiotic relationships.


Carla Brisotto

Carla Brisotto is a Ph.D. in Design, Planning, and Construction from the University of Florida. Her dissertation focused on the emergent practice of urban agriculture through the analysis of its design process. The study enlightens how installations are used as a method of persuasion... Read More →

Laura Chessin

Laura Chessin is faculty in the Graphic Design Department at Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches a wide range of courses including design fundamentals, design research, and writing. Her creative practice includes book arts, stitching, drawing, and film-making.

Alejandro Durán

Alejandro Durán is a Chilean designer, research, science educator and teacher. He is Chief Designer at Lowtech Design Group, initiative of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Studies of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Durán serves as teacher on the School... Read More →

Tuesday October 27, 2020 4:00pm - 5:00pm EDT