Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture

Department

Architecture

Primary Advisor

Pegah Zamani

Secondary Advisor

Ameen Farooq

Abstract

Have you ever heard of the Black Lives Matter Movement, or B.L.M.? B.L.M. was created as a response to the resurgence of racism and xenophobic hate-crimes against Black people and their communities, often at the hands of police. It was the hate crimes plus the scape-goating of Blacks add in poverty rates, the exponentially high Black unemployment rates, and the over policing of Black neighborhoods. B.L.M. is the modern activist response to the continuance of Richard Nixon’s War on Drugs, Bill Clinton’s crime bill and the massive, and the disproportionate incarceration of Black men. B.L.M. is the representation for what it looks like to grow weary of seeing Black men and women ignored in healthcare, evicted from their homes, bullied by police, as much as I grew weary seeing it on MARTA bus rides in Atlanta every week day to go to high school.

Black Lives Matter made a bold social statement, but it only made a splash in the ocean of political debates over war on poverty, drugs, and crime. Lyndon Johnson on his War On Poverty once said

“Negro poverty is not White poverty , many of its causes and many of its cures are the same. But there are deep, corrosive, obstinate differences — radiating painful roots into the community, and into the family, and the nature of the individual.”

His approach to subtract the responsibility of White person’s contribution to the problem, correct the Black individuals, specifically targeting Black men, as if they were wrong for their naturally tinted skin complexion to begin with, rather than addressing the economic issues within the community at hand is unbecoming because urban poverty and urban unrest in the Black community has been addressed as problem of discipline, rather than a problem of denied opportunity.

However, there is some truth to his comment on urban warfare in North America and its cure being rooted within the community. I agree, community healing begins with the way American society addresses the urban warfare within the Black community. Instead of completely altering the existing aesthetic and erasing the cultural roots of the neighborhood through the development of overly-ambitious or tin-eared design initiatives, let’s transform urban environments without disrupting them.

This study challenges how society approaches urban warfare in the minority community with the equitable design in the Sweet Auburn Historic District and redevelopment of the Atlanta APEX Museum. The inquiry underlines environmental injustice; explores strategies of EQUITABLE DESIGN and SOCIAL ARCHITECTURE to promote cultural awareness and improve the overall community well-being.

The intent of this thesis research is to REVITALIZE a once-thriving, culturally rich, and urban community through equitable design and establish the neighborhood center.

This proposal will result in the transformation of the existing APEX Museum retrofitted into The Museum.

Most importantly, the study responds to the deficiency of space that fails to respond to its community and presents design solutions that respond to the issue of individual hindrance from lack of community-centered design that improve the quality of life and well being of its community

Comments

This thesis discusses issues of environmental racism, environmental injustice, lack of equitable design, violation of human rights, prejudices and detrimental their side effects, and contains strong language.

While this written work is relative to my own personal experience as a Black person in America, raised in the thriving predominantly Black southern City of Atlanta and a female professional in a predominantly male society, it appeals to universal issues of mistreatment of people based on both gender and race and the manifestation of mistreatment reflected onto the planet Earth.

THIS THESIS: -Challenges how qualities of equitable design improve the emotional and physical wellness within a community raise cultural awareness -Promotes a livable, equitable and ecological community -Reestablishes a sense identity and community through historical relevance -Manifests effective equitable design through environmental justice -Implicates social architecture, urban recreation and the modern museum to promote cultural awareness and pride, improve mental health, increase social networks, and social capital through elements of equitable design -Renovates and expands the African American Panoramic Experience (APEX) Museum located in the Sweet Auburn Historic District in Atlanta. -Enforces the following types of design: Urban design values, Ecological, Universal and equitable design, Local and Neighborhood planning.

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