location: Chicago, IL
type: design/build, pedagogical
From 2008-12, Learning in the Built Environment connected teens to their communities by developing a better understanding of the design of the built environment through a design apprenticeship program. The program aimed to develop a civic literacy with teens in order to empower them to have a stake in their surroundings. We did this by teaching them the tools that architects, designers, and planners utilize in everyday practices, demonstrating how those tools are used to shape their own environment, and how they can be used to effect positive change in their communities. We emphasized healthy, socially responsible, and environmentally conscious design practices/projects that utilized the reduction of waste, re-use of materials, and material innovation. The end goal was to complete several design and build projects that embody as many of these principles as possible.
Projects were built for Public Media Institute, Neighborspace, Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm, Coalition to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children, and the Resource Center.
This program was a partnership with After School Matters and Voice of the City, and co-teachers included Mejay Gula, Kelly Van Eaton, Daniel Splaingard, and Nina Cherian.