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Toward Reparative Design Pedagogies
Futuring Green Infrastructures with Youth in the Black Belt South
Lily Song
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This essay explores reparative design pedagogies to advance intersecting racial justice and climate goals through the case study of the “CoDesign Field Lab: Black Belt Study for the Green New Deal.” Through engaged community design processes with Afro-descendant communities in the Black Belt South, the design action research seminar sought to reimagine and future the region as fount and staging ground for a reparation-based Green New Deal. We examine the course design and setup—including relational infrastructures to deepen collaboration between regional youth and community elders and graduate students of urban planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and design studies—and the resulting future histories of reparative infrastructures for the Black Belt. The concluding discussion considers case implications for design pedagogies, including the importance of shifting away from knowledge bases and design-cultures predicated on whiteness and white supremacy, and supporting community-based processes of reparative design and reparations centering those who have directly suffered harm and their descendant communities.

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