An Architecture of Activism: Grassroots Organizing in the Digital Age

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This thesis responds to the culture of fear and division that is dominating American society today by asking how architecture can better facilitate debate and dialogue in the digital age. It aims to make a place for the often invisible infrastructure of grassroots organizing, in the public realm of the city. It recognizes that today, the public realms of the digital and physical worlds are intertwined, and the conversations and activities that happen on one, inevitably impact the other. By studying and cross comparing the ways we use physical and digital public spaces, we can pursue a more complete and effective model for the design of public urban places - for people from diverse backgrounds, views, and goals, to regularly meet, and engage in civic and community building activity. The design proposal builds on a sensitive and thorough understanding of the layered history of the city of Baltimore, and offers insights for similar postindustrial, gentrifying, politically active cities.