Social Justice Urbanism

dc.contributor.authorArakkal, Akhila
dc.contributor.chairMergold, Aleksandr
dc.contributor.committeeMemberRichardson, Henry
dc.description29 pages
dc.description.abstractThis report offers an in-depth analysis of my journey through the course of the M.S.AAD program at Cornell. With ‘Urbanism’ as my territory of Investigation, my studio projects have allowed me to work across multiple geographic scales ranging from rural contexts of Chongqing, China where I explored unique local spatial and construction practices, to urban environments of extractive degraded landscapes attributed to human intervention as seen in Trinidad and Tobago. My Mellon Urbanism Fellowship at Cornell has equipped me with resources to study the devastating effects that dilapidation, sprawl, and failed urban environments can have on society and well-being. In an age where even the natural environment has been curated by mankind, I believe that the lack of sensitivity for the impact of our own constructions is a constant notion for (re)evaluation. My study of social injustice in the built environment, of existing and newly emerging national, religious, and ethnic conflicts and their relation to urban space was the focus of multiple courses at Cornell. I try to address this injustice in the built context by analyzing the indelible imprint left behind by the spatial patterns of exclusion. While disparities in cultural and political systems have always had a long-standing tradition in architectural history, the sudden emergence of new spaces of conflict has considerably altered architectural discourse, threatening to re-configure our living environments. This understanding has enabled me to re-evaluate the forces that shape cities by bringing to light the economic and cultural attributions of architecture. Resilience and Sustainability should be civic inputs into the spaces we try to create. For architects to advance design justice, we should create buildings that prioritize people, places, the planet, and prosperity. I hope to have fulfilled this social responsibility of architecture through the various examples of my work showcased here.
dc.titleSocial Justice Urbanism
dc.typedissertation or thesis
dcterms.license University of Science, Architecture
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