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Thursday, August 11, 2022

What would a city “designed with care” look like?

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden has signed a bipartisan infrastructure law, An allocation of $ 1.2 trillion for a wide range of physical investments – from the rehabilitation of energy networks to the reconstruction of roads and bridges. But infrastructure is more than just these national projects.

In an article titled “What does this mean for DSet a space for ‘treatment’,Alexandra Lang Claims that city planners and city designers take into account the planning of a neighborhood’s infrastructure. based on Twitter Thread by Hotel Foundation Program Officer Justin Garrett MooreLang says that a dedicated “treatment department” can connect social, cultural and economic forces to the physical world. Today these worlds are separate.

Marketplace Amy Scott spoke to Lang about her macro-level appearance in city design out of thought. Below is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Amy Scott: What do you and others mean when you talk about the idea of ​​caring when it comes to design?

Alexandra Lang: Architecture care is basically adding a social and temporary dimension to the design of a physical space. It means thinking about who is going to clean up this space, and how best to clean it up and think about the culture of the community in which it was built and how they like to use something like a park. So it’s really adding this kind of infrastructure that involves people and organizations to the design of the physical space.

Scott: Do you think part of it is just a redesign of the way cities think about their citizens? I’m thinking of the idea of ​​sitting in public spaces. I mean, so many public areas are actually meant to prevent people from sitting comfortably as a way, you know, to prevent the homeless from settling in the place. How will caring change this attitude?

longing: Yes. I mean, you’re absolutely right, that a lot of the reasons why cities are so hostile are actually fear of uninhabited people. And part of what this care department will do will be try to be more proactive about providing benches, providing public services – but also providing connections to social services to try to get people into housing. Because the very constant exclusion of these provisions does not really do anything about the larger issue of high housing costs in cities. So, I think it will really require a good change in attitude, where cities pretty much admit to themselves that it is an ongoing issue and think they are proactive in dealing with it both in physical design and in something like a civilian department. .

Scott: If I understand correctly, the original idea for this was based on a Twitter thread by Justin Garrett Moore, an urban planner, who advocated a treatment department as an alternative to police departments as part of the restriction of the police movement. But it sounds like you’re thinking about it more broadly.

longing: Well, I think Justin’s original idea was pretty broad. Yes, he plans cities, and currently works for a hotel fund. And part of what he said is that many of the services that a treatment department will provide are already provided by other departments that do not fit into it, you know, where it is not part of their job description. So you have, you know, librarians who actually need to oversee the safety of public services in libraries, or you have police departments that deal with the homeless, but they do not have the training and do not have the resources to do so in a positive way. So, a treatment department would take money from departments that kind of have to provide these services and give that money to people, you know, pretty much know what to do with it and can be proactive about it.

Scott: So, “treatment” became a kind of buzzword, it sounded like, in architecture and urban planning. What does this mean for the average person if there is a municipal department dedicated to it?

longing: Well, I think the first type of most people about what care is, is thinking about child care or caring for the elderly, who were also a lot in the news in terms of policy. But a treatment department will add a physical and design dimension to these things. For example, like, yes, older people need a person to come to their home to provide care, but even the streets would take more care of them if there were more benches, if there were more public toilets. The streets would take more care of the children if the speed limit was lower, and if there were, you know, more playgrounds evenly distributed. So I think this should not be too big a leap forward to move from the idea of ​​treatment as a thing from person to person to the idea of ​​treatment as something that designers can build in the city.

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