The Architectural League’s Spring 2021 Current Work series, titled “Reckoning, Reclamation, and Regeneration,” examines some of the inherited histories, conventions, fabrics, and systems — often taken for granted — that constitute and shape the built environment. How might we reconsider the ways we engage with and construct the places that surround us? Speakers will address issues including transforming architectural pedagogy; protecting threatened historic sites; conserving resources by adapting existing buildings and reusing materials; and reimagining and regenerating places scarred by racism, neglect, and environmental emergencies.
Emmanuel Pratt is cofounder and executive director of the Sweet Water Foundation (SWF), a nonprofit organization based on Chicago’s South Side. SWF engages local residents in the cultivation and regeneration of social, environmental, and economic resources in neighborhoods that have suffered the effects of long-term disinvestment. Drawing on the transformative possibilities of Regenerative Neighborhood Development, defined by SWF as an “emergent design process that dynamically cultivates intentional acts of civic arts and participatory design as integral components to reimagine the urban ecology of the built environment,” SWF has transformed four contiguous city blocks into The Commonwealth, “a real-world, physical manifestation of how built spaces reflect and impact understanding of the common and the collective.”