In 2017, upon invitation from MIT graduate student Insiyah Mohammad, Noran Sanford and several GrowingChange Youth Leaders presented their work at the school’s department of urban studies and planning. During the lecture, GrowingChange, a youth-led nonprofit, described its goals to flip a decommissioned prison site into an agricultural community center. After the presentation, several architecture graduate students offered to assist GrowingChange during summer breaks; from there, a fruitful collaboration took root.
As this collaboration persisted from summer to summer, the number of graduate students grew and Group Project, a student-led design collective, was formed.
Below is a series of design ideas that Group Project has developed in collaboration with GrowingChange. The projects have always been a shared effort between everyone involved: at times initiated by the GrowingChange Youth Leaders, or suggested by Group Project through conversations with the Youth Leaders.
Every year Group Project has undertaken a new set of projects. However, over the years, we have reduced the scope and scale of the projects in hopes of finding the right balance between imagination and realization. Not shown here are the many hours of conversation, discussion, and designing that evolved into the projects below.—Morgan Augillard and Joey Swerdlin, Along the Lumbee River report editors
Read Flipping the Prison: Confessional, a meditation on how community-driven work fits into design practice.