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Wentworth Institute of Technology

Designing For Life: Fragile Ecologies

Presented by Wentworth Institute of Technology

Center for Engineering, Innovation and Sciences (CEIS) Lobby, 555 Parker St, Boston, MA 02120

Exhibition – Weekdays Only, April 25 – May 7, 12:00 – 5:00 pm

Studio Tours – Saturday April 29 & Saturday May 6 at 10:00 AM 



Fragile ecologies offer opportunities for urban integration if they are approached from the perspective of Designing for Life, a community-based architectural framework that integrates the experience of citizens as an interwoven part of urban ecologies.  This Exhibition explores fourteen years of commitment between the School of Architecture and Design of Wentworth Institute of Technology and the City of Caracas. This long-term engagement invites us to explore Spatial Democracy in underprivileged environments of fragile ecologies. 

As recent global climate and health emergencies speak to the intertwined nature of social justice and the built environment, the design professions are increasingly compelled to critically reevaluate work previously considered at or beyond the margins of the architectural profession. Since the 1980s, some of the most inspiring work has come from the Ibero-American context demonstrating the capacity for partnerships across the boundaries previously separating design and politics to catalyze meaningful social transformation. The clearest manifestations of the design approaches we gather under the banner “designing for life” are found in the most desperate circumstances of Caracas and Medellín.

This event builds on two prior “Designing For Life” exchanges bringing together designers, journalists, community organizers, politicians, and a wider community advancing the work of Spatial Democracy” and a Just City. In 2008, the former mayor of Medellín Sergio Fajardo, and his top designers presented the first five of Medellín’s path-breaking Library Parks. In 2013, the La Carlota Park competition finalists presented their visions for how design promises to galvanize and release the latent energies of a democratic Caracas. The exhibition “Designing For Life: Fragile Ecologies” demonstrates how Wentworth has made the lessons of social urbanism central to its architecture curriculum. 

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