VIDEO – There’s no end to the prescriptions that adult pundits make for dealing with urban issues. But how would a preteen or teenager who lives in an inner-city community rethink and remake his or her environment?
Answers will emerge from the Hip Hop Architecture Camps, cosponsored by the Urban Arts Collective, the Universal Hip Hop Museum project , and architectural software firm Autodesk.
The weeklong camps, underway this summer in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta, Detroit, and Austin, Texas, are intended to introduce design concepts and practices to young people, K-12, from communities that are underrepresented in the architecture, design, and placemaking worlds. But they’re also intended to put a fresh, hip-hop-inflected lens on urban design itself.
The young people team up with established architects, urban planners, activists, and hip hop artists to create images of the city that are in line with the kids’ wishes, dreams, and visual and storytelling styles.
A key player in developing the camps is Michael Ford (aka “the Hip Hop Architect”), cofounder of the Urban Arts Collective and lead designer of the Universal Hip Hop Museum project, which is working to create a permanent institution to celebrate the genre’s world-wide impact. Rap pioneer Kurtis Blow, a confounder of the Hip Hop Museum, is also involved in the camp project.
“Hip Hop Architecture Camps both expose future generations to potential design careers and provide kids with the chance to think critically about what their communities can look like in the future,” Blow tells the design web site GraphicSpeak.
In a pilot project in Madison, Wisconsin in February, Architecture Camp participants created designs that included a grocery store/greenhouse complex that would offer fresh produce grown on site, a “superschool” that would take in students from kindergarten through college and allow young mothers to be near their children, and a homeless center attached to a community garden.
After each camp session, participants will produce a music video that sums up their vision and their work. Check out the video that the Madison students made, below: