THE PLAN Journal (TPJ) intends to disseminate and promote innovative, thought-provoking and relevant research, studies and criticism in architecture and urbanism. The criteria for selecting contributions will be innovation, clarity of purpose and method, and potential transformational impact on disciplinary fields or the broader socio-cultural context. The ultimate purpose of the TPJ is to enrich the dialog between research and professional fields, in order to encourage both applicable new knowledge and intellectually driven modes of practice. (Maurizio Sabini)

Latest Articles - Theme: "Design for Social Impact"

 Open Access

Stretching Design Intelligence to Make a Difference

by: Maurizio Sabini VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, Pages: 137 - 138 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.13, published: 2017-04-26
 Open Access

Challenging the White-Savior Industrial Complex

by: Thomas Fisher VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, Pages: 139 - 151 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.01, published: 2017-01-20

Social-impact design challenges many of the assumptions that guide architectural practice such as: What should we design? What program should we design to? What site should we design on? Who should be involved in the design? And what else needs designing beyond what we have been commissioned to do? In raising these questions, social-impact design essentially inverts the expertise model that has guided both architectural education and practice and leads to a more open and responsive mode of practice that looks for the underlying reasons why a problem or need has occurred and the larger systemic issues that surround the project and that may require redesigning themselves. Through a series of social-impact design projects conducted by the Minnesota Design Center at the University of Minnesota, this essay explores what this means in specific ways, through actual projects with diverse communities of people.

 Open Access

Walk the Line. Architecture as a Catalyst for Socio-Spatial Connectivity

by: Tatiana Bilbao , Nuria Benitez VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, Pages: 153 - 171 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.07, published: 2017-03-16

Miravalle is a relatively new neighborhood in Iztapalapa borough, by the eastern edge of Mexico City. It has been identified as a highly-marginalized area, as its 11,000 residents have poor access to public infrastructure, high rates of violence, and socio-economic discrimination is something most experience. Nonetheless, the community has worked together with the aim of improving the conditions and quality of life in a small but outstanding way. As a group of architects, we are working with them to transform the main park of the area and neighboring communities into a walkable and safe recreational area. The prerequisite for city life is a walkable urban environment. If a safe line crossing the park could help diminish the insecurity and strengthen the connections between people and space within the neighborhoods, then architectural interventions as a stead for social development are guaranteed.

 Open Access

S House n. 3

by: Vo Trong Nghia VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, Pages: 173 - 184 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.02, published: 2017-01-20

The third prototype house for low-income classes designed in response to housing shortages in countries struck by natural disasters was built in Ho Chi Minh City. Thanks to passive design methods, natural lighting, a galvanized steel structure that weights only 1,200 kg set on a reinforced concrete foundation, the model combines quality control, cost management, easy transportation, DIY modular components and fast on-site construction. Now suitable for mass production, the S HOUSE project is designed to be flexible and adaptable to expansion or new uses as the next prototypes will showcase.

 Open Access

Temporary Houses for Post-Disaster and Social Emergency

by: Mariagiulia Bennicelli Pasqualis VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, Pages: 185 - 211 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.11, published: 2017-04-12

The research focuses on the theme of the resolution of the problem of emergency housing in urban and metropolitan areas, and on how to house about ten thousand of people within a short time, with comfortable and low cost dwellings, following a catastrophic event or a social emergency.

The aim of the research is defining a model of open residential building system, based on high density and reversibility strategies.

On one hand the research analyses the actions undertaken during the earthquake occurred in L’Aquila on April 2009, focusing on the “mistakes” which were clear since the beginning but only today clear to everyone, and the “merits” of what is an extraordinary operation, never seen before, of building in few months a very large number of dwellings, through a wide repertoire of procedures and technologies.

On the other hand the research analyses the need of creating new temporary dwellings to allow heavy interventions of urban development.

The combinations of these two realities, post-catastrophe and social emergency housing, will create, in time of peace, a supply chain for temporary, reversible and low cost dwellings.

 Open Access

Dotte Agency: A Participatory Design Model for Community Health

by: Shannon Criss , Matt Kleinmann VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, Pages: 213 - 237 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.09, published: 2017-03-16

As community activists resist racial injustice, food insecurity, and infrastructural delinquency, many groups are attempting to articulate the voice of the citizen. It is within this landscape that architects have historically struggled to find common ground to afford democratic access for citizens to engage in discussions about the future of their city. Based upon surrogate models of other professions, there has emerged a proactive movement towards Social Impact Design. Like many urban core areas, our community faces a health epidemic compounded by poverty. In response to requests for collaboration, and through cross-disciplinary academic partnerships in both public health and social welfare, we have begun to leverage design advocacy to improve health outcomes. This has evolved into an alternative model of practice that advances public design through interdisciplinary, adaptive and incremental spatial agency. It is a sustainable practice that fosters conversations and supports events originating from within the community. Our approach seeks to scaffold an infrastructure of public health through methods of participatory design and advocacy. Through new forms of design intelligence and collaborative design tools, our critical spatial practice demonstrates new ways for how architectural design can be relevant to society.

 Open Access

Gentrification and the Heterogeneous City: Finding a Role for Design

by: Sally Harrison , Andrew Jacobs VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, Pages: 239 - 259 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.03, published: 2017-02-03

That cities will change is indisputable: urban evolution mostly signifies healthy growth, but it is also true that in the contemporary context, gentrifying neighborhood change increasingly operates on an extraterritorial plane, happening quickly, opportunistically and unilaterally. Neighborhoods are evaluated and disposed of as trading commodities in a process that violates the citizen’s fundamental right to the expectation of a stable dwelling situation. Gentrification also threatens a city’s spatial heterogeneity which, through its diverse forms and meanings, can support the enactment of democratic urban life. It leaves little room for a broader discourse around place – a discourse that might lead to the creation of more porous urban space, to the emergence of hybrid institutions and to new sites of pluralistic engagement. This paper will consider a pair of contiguous neighborhoods in Philadelphia where market-driven gentrification has come face to face with powerful grassroots civic advocacy; and it looks at what architects, landscape architects and urban designers can do to help neighborhoods resist gentrification and support heterogeneity in making places where the hand-print of multiple publics might be found.

 Open Access

Unconventional Engagement: Reviving the Urban Marketplace

by: Ahmed K. Ali VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, Pages: 261 - 285 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.08, published: 2017-04-04

In this paper, the outcomes of a two-year design research study that investigated the impacts of architectural design on the social, cultural, and economic factors influencing the revitalization of the urban marketplace are summarized. These two case studies in designing and building urban markets in Central Texas — one in the city of Austin, and the other in the town of Bryan — are presented and synthesized. Both cases were initiated, designed, and built by university students in the disciplines of architecture, construction science, and landscape architecture, in collaboration with a cross-disciplinary oversight team of experts, government officials, and professionals. Platforms for engaging in active and dynamic learning experiences in the specific areas of planning, budgeting, and scheduling, as well as design and construction, within the broad field of community development, were provided to the students in both cases.

 Open Access

Social Impact through Design: Experiments in Urban Agriculture

by: Sallie Hambright-Belue , Martin J. Holland VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, Pages: 287 - 302 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.05, published: 2017-02-15

This paper describes the work of students at the School of Architecture and the Department of Landscape Architecture at Clemson University with a local, non-profit organization - the Feed & Seed - in creating alternatives to the current threads that affect the urban area of West Greenville, South Carolina. Starting on the definition of Food Desert as an area without access to fresh and whole foods, students address issues of economic equity, community building and social justice by developing urban agriculture solutions that focus on food hub and food cycle, promote education and foster social cohesion. With the gaps between the haves and have-nots apparently widening each and every year students perceive, challenge, and test the role that designers have in the decision making processes that constitute possible solutions of fractured neighborhoods, cities and regions.