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Michigan-Mellon Project: Project Statement

Rationale

Egalitarianism remains a useful framework for examining the contemporary metropolis because it contains a theory of value based on the inherent equality of individuals and fair distribution of resources to individuals.

Egalitarianism is a more ample construct through which to view the challenges and opportunities of today's modern metropolitan regions, because it does not assume a market-based or capitalist-driven imperative. Rather, egalitarianism can be used to ask what if the underpinnings of resource distribution, transportation, housing allocation, and industrial and waste management, were in the service of the most equitable allocation of goods and services.

Egalitarianism is a contested ideal ranging from notions of equality of opportunity to equality of outcome. It also spawns notions such as “distributive justice” and “democratic equality.” Far from universal, notions of egalitarianism (and democracy) encounter market economies, slavery, colonialism, capitalism and other societal forms of organization that complicate its most idealized goals.

As focus has shifted from nations to cities - global cities, megacities, post-industrial cities, informal cities, etc. - new questions have emerged as to whether the metropolis is governable and whether the traditional forms of governance are inhibiting social progress on the part of individuals and polities.

Even with renewed interest in urbanization and social justice, the role of egalitarian theory and practice has not been sufficiently engaged. What an “urban egalitarianism” could do conceptually is to insist upon corrective measures that attempt to provide equality to those that have been historically marginalized.

The Project will reveal the speculative design dimension and collaborative work of designers, to humanists. As design practices are revealed, humanities scholars will enjoy new opportunities to explore, challenge, and develop these practices in relation to their mediation and formation, i.e. examining what assumptions underlie the representational techniques used, as well as the ideation and intentionality of the designers themselves.

Goals and Outcomes

The Project Sponsors and Partners are seeking a transnational engagement on issues of urbanization germane to architects and humanists alike, expressed through methods of intellectual and creative inquiry that tap into insights from multiple disciplines. Utilizing the Project Activities, participants will develop new ways of relating academic discourse to public constituencies through forms of expression that extend beyond what they would normally produce. The methods of engaging scholars and designers in questions of privatization, justice, and egalitarian ideals may alter existing ways of working within the academy and/or call for re-making the academic site as such.

Project Activities

The Michigan/Mellon Project allows for 4 years of integrated activities to enliven an already active academic platform for work on egalitarianism and the city. Symposia + Conversations provide a platform for eminent designers and humanists to exchange ideas in roundtable formats and share their observations with a broad public and academic community. Symposia are live-streamed to all three cities. Fellowships provide recent graduates with research mentorship and teaching experience - at the University of Michigan and at the Michigan ArcPrep program. Courses provide fellows and faculty from design and humanities disciplines to co-teach courses related to Project themes. Michigan Architecture Prep is an architecture enrichment program in Detroit for over 35 high school juniors - design and humanities fellows teach these students foundational architecture skills and writing. Exhibitions + Publications disseminate the work of the Project and its participants to a broader public audience and constituency. Research Colloquia provide a forum for faculty, fellows and students to talk about research in progress.

 

Michigan/Mellon Project Activities 2014 - 2015 2015 - 2016 2016 - 2017 2017 - 2018
Michigan/Mellon Symposiums + Conversations S1_ Detroit + Ann Arbor S2_ Detroit + Ann Arbor S3_ Mexico City S4_ Rio de Janeiro
Michigan/Mellon Design Fellowships
Michigan/Mellon Humanities Fellowships
DF_2
HF_2
DF_2
HF_2
DF_2
HF_2
DF_2
HF_2
Michigan/Mellon Research Colloquia RC 1_Fall RC 1_Fall
RC 2_Fall
RC 3_Winter
RC 4_Winter
RC 1_Fall
RC 2_Fall
RC 3_Winter
RC 4_Winter
RC 1_Fall
RC 2_Fall
RC 3_Winter
RC 4_Winter
Michigan/Mellon Courses C1_Spring C2_Fall
C3_Winter
C4/5_Fall
C5/6_Winter
C7_Spring
C8/9_Fall
C10/11_Winter
C12_Spring
Michigan/Mellon Michigan ArcPrep MAP1_ Winter MAP2_Fall
MAP3_Winter
MAP2_Fall
MAP3_Winter
MAP2_Fall
MAP3_Winter
Michigan/Mellon Exhibitions + Publications   E/P1_Detroit
E/P1_Ann Arbor
E/P2_Mexico City E/P3_Rio de Janeiro