Bottom-Up Social Change: Materials | Buildings | Community

Economies of Scale: Research-Driven Social Impact in the Housing Studio

Intersections Proceedings

Author(s): Sharon Haar

How do we engage and envision “bottom-up” social change in the context of the academic design studio? What does it look like, and how is it taught? This paper shares a novel research-based studio engaged with large-scale projects in the city of Detroit that diverges from the small-scale, often design-build projects most often undertaken in community-based practice in the academy. Framed by the context of a research-intensive academic institution—the University of Michigan—the pedagogy asks how can we educate students in the potential for social impact and capacity-building at scale? In parallel, how can we leverage the research capacities of a large student body to advance the study of affordable housing and neighborhood development in the context of a city such as Detroit?

Volume Editors
Elizabeth Golden & Joshua Vermillion