Connecting Community with the Built Space
It is no surprise that architecture, design, and community intersect as we all are in constant conversation with the built space throughout our day-to-day experiences. However, deliberately connecting community values and perspectives into the ideation of future spaces is not often prioritized in practice. We at Studio Luz aim to change that, to center voices of the community when it comes to the places that will employ, house, provide recreation, and generally support them throughout their lives. Across all of our projects, we listen to those being impacted in the community, and in many instances engage the community directly in workshops and discussions, whether in small or large groups, or by taking a 1:1 individualized approach. This collaboration allows us to better understand and serve the communities we work in, facilitating a deeper connection to their shared spaces.
Currently, in our work with the City of Revere, we are conducting a series of remote and in person workshops with the goal to engage different stakeholders and community members. Always centering the importance of accessibility, these workshops are translated into Spanish and we hold additional workshops solely in Spanish via Zoom. Hearing from as diverse a pool of participants as possible is of the utmost importance when envisioning the future of the space, especially in a city with such diverse make-up as Revere. In order to support these goals, we and the City have been mindful of how we plan these meetings, taking into consideration factors such as meeting times – which we host at different times throughout the day to ensure those who work are able to attend and lend their voice. For this reason we also hold live and virtual workshops to accommodate those who cannot for those who do not feel comfortable leaving home and gathering in person. All meetings – whether in person or virtual, synchronous or asynchronous – have provided translation services to ensure no one is left out of the conversation.
The first meeting for the City of Revere was vibrant and productive, including the input of officials such as the Mayor, as well as residents and community organization representatives.The discussion provided ample feedback from the community on their vision for the Mckinley School and how it could be transformed into a major asset. We have two more virtual meetings next week for this project and are looking forward to continuing the fruitful conversations we’ve been having.
Keeping the community centered in conversation is what fuels the work of Studio Luz. We are thrilled to continue our work in collaboration with community members who have become more like colleagues.