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
Article

Social Impact through Design: Experiments in Urban Agriculture

by: Sallie Hambright-Belue , Martin J. Holland VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, 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.

 Open Access
Article

How Does Work Shape Informal Cities? The Critical Design of Cities and Housing in Brazilian Slums

by: Ana Rosa Chagas Cavalcanti VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.02.04, published: 2017-02-15

This essay is conceived as a reaction to the past conference Shaping Cities of the Urban Age at the 2016 Venice Biennale, Reporting from the Front. In light of numerous global crises, urban explosion, housing shortages and rising social movements, contemporary architecture is increasingly being pushed to investigate the social dimension, impact and implications of urban design.

In particular, architectural education institutions and practices are expected to be more focused on the social fabric and to address current economic and politic scenarios. How could design dialogue positively influence the great social phenomena in cities where the scarcity of resources, migration, urban informality, global warming and economic crises are the most thriving endeavours? The essay speculates that the importance of labour of slums’ dwellers can assist planners and architects to design with social impact. Authors who study informal settlements usually do not mention that labour practices are the main driving force behind the design of slums. Labour is currently shaping the slums, in terms of material usage and otherwise.

 Open Access
Article

Gentrification and the Heterogeneous City: Finding a Role for Design

by: Sally Harrison , Andrew Jacobs VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, 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
Project

S House n. 3

by: Vo Trong Nghia VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, 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
Polemic

Challenging the White-Savior Industrial Complex

by: Thomas Fisher VOL 1 2016 - Issue 2 DESIGN FOR SOCIAL IMPACT, 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
EDITORIAL
Editorial

In This Issue [1/2016]

by: Maurizio Sabini VOL 1 2016 - Issue 1 , Pages: 5 - 6 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.01.09, published: 2016-10-21
 Open Access
THEORY
Article

Building Portraits

by: Elena Manferdini VOL 1 2016 - Issue 1 , Pages: 7 - 16 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.01.01, published: 2016-07-14

Building Portraits is a suite of elevation studies developed by Atelier Manferdini for an exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015 called Building the Picture and a subsequent solo show at Industry Gallery in Los Angeles in 2016 called Building Portraits. These 42 drawings were produced during the past two years and they explore the potential of intricate scripted line work depicting building facades. The collection exists simultaneously as architectural research and as autonomous artwork. These drawings can be understood as scaled down reproduction of buildings, and at the same time as full scale printed artifacts. The collection plays with the graphic potentials of woven grids and scripted vector lines, while exploring the canonical relationships of shape vs form, ground vs figure, pattern vs coloration, orientation vs posture. The title of the suite Building Portraits alludes to two distinct disciplines, the field of architectural drawings, building, and the one of fine artistic pictures, portraits. This body of work tries to claim a territory where these two attitudes find a common ground, where pixels and vectors get closer in scale of perception.

 Open Access
THEORY
Essay

Towards an Ethical Technique: Reframing Architecture’s "Critical Call" through Hannah Arendt

by: Paul Holmquist VOL 1 2016 - Issue 1 , Pages: 17 - 29 doi: 10.15274/ tpj.2016.01.01.03, published: 2016-07-15

This paper examines how the critical vocation of architecture might be reclaimed through reconsidering the interrelationship of technique and politics in light of the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt. I argue that Arendt’s conception of a fabricated common world that is essential to establishing a properly human sense of reality opens up ways to rethink the constitutive political role of architecture. As a discipline, architecture comprises an "ethical technique" by which to guide the fabrication of the condition of "the common," and to constructively embody the recognition of a primary political reality arising out of human plurality. In so doing, architecture can projectively envisage and prepare for the emergence of a potential politics alternative to the apparatus of capital.

 Open Access
THEORY
Article

Planning Criticism: Operative Contingencies in the Project of the Italian Tendenza

by: Pasquale De Paola VOL 1 2016 - Issue 1 , Pages: 31 - 44 doi: 10.15274/tpj.2016.01.01.05, published: 2016-10-07

In order to re-assess architecture’s critical role and redefine the disciplinary domain of its production, this essay looks beyond forms of technocratic utopias, while it historically analyzes operative theoretical contingencies relative to the “project” of the Italian Tendenza, which is examined as an historical form of ideological criticism of the discipline of architecture and its contentious relationship between intellectual and capitalistic production. Particularly, this essay explores the ideological and historiographical production of the 1960s and 1970s. This was when the term Rationalism and its theoretical body of work acquired renewed prestige replacing the ephemeral aesthetic of the Modern Movement with a grounded and critical discourse based on Aldo Rossi’s and Massimo Scolari’s position relative to the need for architecture to re-affirm its own statute, in order to free itself from any form of technocratic utopia. While questions of interdisciplinarity remain essential toward an understanding of future architectural contingencies, it is only by questioning the status quo of architecture and re-examining its past that a new sense of criticality can be generated.

Board