Questioning the status quo of urban value creation through the agency of design, this studio attempts to design components for an expanded notion of what could constitute a collective good. By simultaneously developing organizational structures that are built on non-profit, community-based entities – such as public institutions, community associations, or limited equity co-operative enterprises – the studio seeks to re-think and (re)-design urban elements and systems that can create more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable urban environments.
The studio makes use of architecture as a transformative practice where and activist approach to design could allow to change underlying mechanisms as well, and thus becomes a vital part of systemic change towards spatial and social justice within the urban realm. Doing this, the preceding research seminar has questioned predominant notions of value creation within the urban realm, which have resulted in an array of social inequalities and asymmetric distributions of wealth and resources, while the following degree design studio attempts to explore and design more democratic, bottom-up approaches to innovation, ownership, urban production and inclusive value creation.
Exploring these trajectories for a large site in South Los Angeles surrounding the USC Campus, every project pursues its own topic, challenge and specific agenda, while the collection of all projects can be seen as a complementary set of ideas, designs and strategies that can contribute to new forms of collective goods. The resulting interventions thus engage with everyday sites, spaces and situations to simultaneously address specific issues in detail, and provide possible approaches at a more systemic, interrelated level.