With ongoing experience in community centered design, Marvel wanted to increase community participation in the design process. To develop a broader understanding of what decisions shape a neighborhood, Marvel looked at who is behind those decisions, and ultimately looked to help community members take a greater role in the decision making process.
As architects, one of the ways we can increase community engagement and increase diversity in the field is by providing more opportunities and exposure for children. With this in mind, in 2017 Marvel launched an effort to teach design to middle school students in neighborhoods where we have ongoing projects. The pilot for this effort was a seven week course with Phipps Neighborhoods in the Edenwald Neighborhood, located in the Bronx, where the Northeast Bronx YMCA was under construction.
The class had the following goals: to give exposure to design fields to kids who might otherwise not know that those fields exist or what they do, to use design problems to make topics in math, science, and social studies relevant and exciting, and to support an understanding of what shapes the city around us and how groups and individuals can be agents in that process.