Earlier this month, I had the privilege of attending Harvard GSD’s first ever Black In Design Conference, hosted by GSD’s African American Student Union (AASU). The two-day symposium involved local and national speakers covering the roles of both professor and practitioner in all facets of the design and digital media industries.
The primary focus was on the impact of equitable design and the contribution that African Americans have made to design within the built environment.
What was interesting was hearing the variety of stories, struggles, opportunities, and accomplishments with an emphasis on the development of urban cities across the U.S and how certain social injustices have become the accepted norm. We looked at a number of historically cited transitional zones between low income parts of cites to more affluent suburbs to better understand the socioeconomic trends and common catalysts that form ones understanding of the city, for better or worse.
Participants were asked to consider design from a series of scales–from building and neighborhood to city, region, and the globe. In doing so, it was eye-opening to understand how the range of issues either become more or less complex depending on what lens you are viewing from.