How does a legacy of injustice and violence metastasize in our policies, culture, and cities?

In a joint MIT Department of Architecture and DUSP panel discussion session, Legacies of Discrimination and the Built Environment, DUSP faculty members, Dayna Cunningham and Justin Steil as well as 2017-2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar, Garnette Cadogan, were joined by Mark Jarzombek to expatiate on how contested memories of discrimination permeate and persist in physical locations, and how those legacies can generate the overt racism witnessed in Charlottesville as well as the quiet discrimination of housing policies, discriminatory lending, and prioritization of the enshrining of a single historical narrative. 

Select quotes and links to related projects and publications are below. Be sure to attend the next joint discussion on Global Affordable Housing, September 21st, 12pm at the Long Lounge.

How can a city move beyond identity intertwined with hierarchal power structures and wealth to offer its citizens freedom through discourse, engagement, and the promotion of a more generative identity?
- Dayna Cunningham

Explore the implementation of this concept and communities' efforts to engage cultural roots as part of a shared wealth creation strategy.  See the MIT Community Innovators Lab’s (CoLab) Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative —  an ongoing CoLab project focused on enabling local community leadership, small and medium sized businesses and anchor institutions to end a legacy of poverty through shared wealth and democratic ownership — and CoLab’s Transnational Mel King Fellows Program that brings together a strategic group of rising leaders nominated by CoLab partners for their work advancing economic democracy and self-determination in their communities. 

How does the omnipresent reminder of what it is to not be free, through the legacy of slavery or modern mass incarceration, color the American preoccupation with the ideal of freedom?
- Justin Steil 

Read more about how residents of neighborhoods that endured decades of discriminatory disinvestment are working to remediate contaminated land and protect themselves from the displacement that often accompanies new rounds of investment in Steil’s “Searching for the Just City: Debates in urban theory and practice" (Routledge Press).

Beyond the dangers of violent racism, a national indifference and the limits of our imagination to see past a binary role for marginalized individuals, portends a far more insidious and dangerous threat for those at risk in the Trump era.
- Garnette Cadogan

For an intimate evocation of Garnette’s experiences with this lack of imagination, read his essay, Walking While Black.