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Proposal Submission Deadline: Intersections—Mobility, Equity, and the Built Environment

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Intersections Symposium

Intersections: Mobility, Equity, and the Built Environment

The Call for Proposals is also accessible through the Intersections Symposium page.

Date: October 28-39, 2022 | Questions: Marin Braco at [email protected]

This year's Intersections symposium will explore Mobility, Equity, and the Built Environment, as a means of physical and representational participation. This call for proposals prompts applicants to explore the full range of what it means for the built environment to be accessible and inclusive - physically, economically, environmentally, and beyond. This is an invitation to look at how mobility operates in design, and how it can become a force in dismantling structural social inequities.

This year’s theme will build on last year’s WiD Intersections symposium, hosted in partnership with BosNOMA, on Equity in the City, in which the roots of structural injustices and systemic inequities pervade all aspects of the built environment through recurrent design.

This year we are partnering with Design for Aging, Access Committee, and the BSLA. We are interested in the idea of mobility as a physical and conceptual idea, both within practice and in the spaces we design. This prompts us to ask which voices have often been excluded from the design table, including black, brown, transgender, queer, non-binary, and people of all levels of ability.

From our homes and workplaces, to our civic and public spaces, we'll explore what it means for an environment to be barrier free, and consider who may not experience it that way. From housing to clean air, we will consider how security and health provide critical guardrails to upward economic mobility - and how these guardrails are denied to so many.

Below are questions categorized by what it means to design for physical mobility and equity, and how designers can engage in issues around creating barrier free public spaces and housing.

Design for Mobility, Equity in the Built Environment

  • How can designing to meet a specific user's needs appeal to a larger population?
  • How do designers understand the needs for people of all abilities?
  • Who do design professionals need to engage to ensure all voices are heard including those of all abilities? And how do we go beyond just listening to celebrating these diverse contributions? How does a professional identify and engage key collaborators to further increase outreach?
  • Is universal design an achievable goal? How do designers balance the needs of different users?
  • How will innovation and the internet of things expand the way we access ideas and spaces?

Access to Open Space

  • What additional challenges does climate change pose to mobility, access, and inclusion in the built environment? From ever-present elevated air pollutant levels to temporary and localized iced over sidewalks.
  • What are successful case-studies that approach the built world through the lens of equity and accessibility? What other cities, municipalities, and communities can serve as an example for Boston to learn from? How have other historic cities promoted access and inclusion?
  • Are inclusive design practices supporting our environmental goals in the face of a rapidly changing climate? What do we need to create environments that tend to caregivers and climate change alike?

Access to Housing

  • How do policies and laws affect housing affordability and availability? How is access to housing shaped by the design of our cities and infrastructure - and how does it in turn shape the decisions people can make?
  • How do we undo generations of systemic racist housing and zoning policies that undermine our ability to deliver what communities truly need for better housing solutions?
  • How can housing be designed to connect to other social services, neighborhood amenities and connectivity within our city?
  • How do zoning regulations, FAR, and density requirements give shape to the design of multifamily buildings and the affordable housing landscape?
  • How can zoning reforms prioritize fair housing? What is the interplay between funding mechanisms, zoning policies, and opportunities for affordable housing?
  • What part does supportive housing services play in the success of housing projects? How do these services inform design, and how can good design help shine a spotlight on supportive services for residents and communities?

Symposium Format

We are seeking session proposals that tackle these issues directly, creatively, and collaboratively. Submissions should include a description of format, which can include:

  • Interactive workshop
  • Presentation + breakout sessions
  • Interviews
  • Designer + Artist collaborations
  • Performance
  • Site Walk
  • Other

Submit proposals online to Proposals are due by midnight on Friday, July 1.

Event Format / Location: Planning for in-person.