CoDesign Field Lab: Black Belt Study for the Green New Deal
Authors: Cecley Hill, Thandi Nyambose, Polly Sinclair, Kymberly Ware, Slide Kelly, Emma Bird, Whytne Stevens, Zoe Iacovino, Cynthia Deng, Ciara Stein, Anne Lin, Darryle Ulama, Sarah Smyth, Winn Costantini
Institution: Harvard Graduate School of Design
Instructor: Lily Song
Studio: CoDesign Field Lab: Black Belt Study for the Green New Deal, Graduate Urban Planning; Spring 2021
Partners: Destination Design School of Agricultural Estates (DDSAE): Euneika Rogers-Sipp, Kevin Sipp, Scarlet Rendleman, Mina Kim, Joy Rankin, Anumari Sipp, Semian Odom, Sa’vior Odom, Savion Odom, Jahci Lima, Savhanie Odom, Meah Poret, Ausar Johnson, Isis Cardoso Mart
CoDesign Field Lab (CDFL) is a graduate-level design action research seminar series in which planners and designers utilize their creative powers to accomplice place-based activists and frontline organizers, who are already leading the charge to heal and nourish our communities, commons, and planet.
The Spring 2021 CDFL “sistered” with the Destination Design School of Agricultural Estates (DDSAE), led by Euneika Rogers-Sipp, which activates the community voices and agency to enhance inter-generational access to traditional lands and resources in the Black Belt Region of the Southern United States. Specifically, CDFL students reimagined and futured the Black Belt Region as fount and staging ground for a reparation-based Green New Deal. Working in five teams— mobility + access, food + fiber, housing + buildings, energy + waste, and water + climate—they created: (1) Storymaps of catalytic and transformative regional opportunities and assets (i.e. conditions enabling emissions reduction through economic transformation while addressing interrelated crises of declining life expectancy; wage stagnation, deindustrialization, and antilabor policies; and heightening income inequality); (2) Diagrams of regional stakeholders, decision makers, and resource holders along with power dynamics in affecting GND planning and implementation; and (3) Future histories exploring multi-scalar, multi-sector reparative planning and design, which recompense for and heal past harms as well as radically repair forward in ways that serve the shared interests of climate activists, blue-collar workers, and frontline communities and center the identities and ingenuities of place-based leaders, activists, and movements mobilized around just transitions.