URBAN RHYTHMS MARCUS GARVEY VILLAGE 2015, BUILT 2016
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Brownsville Community Justice Center in Marcus Garvey Village
Over the course of a 10 week studio, youth in Marcus Garvey Village in Brownsville researched their own urban patterns, safety areas, and how to make their spaces turn up using their tools and intellect. They designed a community center in their space, built and opened Oct 2016. They presented their work to their tenants association and then, in Columbia University, they presented their work to Professor Kenneth Frampton, the original architect of their development, the Marcus Garvey Village.
Youth discussed their daily patterns, lifestyle, and "flow." This culminated in the map at right (hidden for confidentiality), an index of the psychosocial spectrum of value participants described as "don't get caught lacking." This is the feeling of risk associated with potential attack due to straying into oppositional gang territory, measure of how unsafe participants feel on their block and the surrounding area.
Gang territory, based on the collective identity of participants living in the particular zone, becomes a physical territory registered in violence on the body. This ecosocial situation - in which social systems of identification, spread unevenly upon a physical territory, become registered in bodily physicality - requires an ecosocial solution.
As participants discussed their reality they saw themselves enacting the cycle of violence, visualized this as a group, and brainstormed ways to address it.
In the safest zone, participants decided to design and build a recreation center. An existing lot at right was selected, mapped, and then a rendering produced that embodied the values articulated.
Below, right is the rendering produced of the intended recreation area, and below left is its plan.
The intervention as well as the spectrum of danger that reflected the Marcus Garvey Village's particular architecture was presented by participants to Kenneth Frampton, who designed the Marcus Garvey Village in 1970.
The result was an articulated vision of how psychosocial use and perspective creates landscape and architecture physically, mentally, emotionally, and bodily, over time. This landscape theory for the urban environment became the basis of further development of the Urban Rhythms Studios involving environmental co-creation in real time.
With some negotiation and help from L&M Development Partners, the recreation center was built on site and opened in October 2016. New York State Assemblywoman Latrice Walker is pictured giving a speech below. James Brodick, director of the Brooklyn Community Justice Centers smiles at right. Participants friends and family stand and sit between.
Photo credit Quardean Lewis-Allen