Dear advocates for healthy and connected communities in which everyone can thrive,
The pandemic brought to the foreground the hidden nuances behind the “We are all in this together” motto. In the US, communities of color are disproportionately affected, experiencing higher death rates and unemployment. Flattening the inequality curve is an instrumental step in moving forward. We are now called to rethink every aspect of our designed environment, from homes to schools, restaurants, workplaces, healthcare, hotels, streets, and parks. Culturally Enriched Communities share resources that can be a medium for building synergies and collaborations when pivoting your courses, broadening your research questions, or searching for solutions that meet your business and community’s needs. Here you can find:
- Vulnerable populations: Over 25 groups that have experienced a disproportionate impact due to the pandemic and can benefit from educators’, scholars’ and practitioners’ attention, from communities of color to refugees, slum dwellers, children with special needs, etc.
- Environmental interventions: Solutions and challenges in supporting well-being from around the world in homes, hospitals, streets, parks, etc.
- Educational initiatives: Courses that tackle Covid-19 challenges and inspire students to explore how design can be used in creating a better world.
- Studies: Research questions that arise due to the pandemic.
- CEC-Connects: A forum for thought leaders to inform dialogues – we are currently inviting 500-word commentaries on the role design can play in recovery efforts.
Below, I share some of our featured environmental interventions that can spark innovation and creative energies. Look forward to hearing your thoughts and featuring your design solutions and ideas.
Tasoulla Hadjiyanni, Editor
As Navajo Nation surpassed NY state for the highest infection rate in the country, we must be even more intentional in designs that help reclaim Native American identity by reinvigorating crafts, language, and traditions and initiatives that increase Native American representation and worldviews in design schools.
Parks have been instrumental to health and well-being, particularly during stay-at-home orders. Diverse neighborhoods have limited access to parks that are safe, instill dignity and pride, engage residents of different ages and abilities, and provide spaces for activities such as sitting to relax, gather with friends, smell the roses, or simply feeling the wind on your face.
Roughly 6% of Minneapolis’ positive cases are found in Cedar Riverside neighborhood, where a vibrant East African community resides. Although affordability has long been tied to density and smaller spaces, the pandemic raised questions around the future of high rise apartments. Lack of indoor/outdoor connections, such as functional balconies that allow for light and air along with space for children and adults to decompress can greatly suppress mental well-being.