2022 Seed Grant Recipients
Investigators: Ebrahim Poustinchi (College of Architecture and Environmental Design), Taraneh Meshkani (College of Architecture and Environmental Design), James F. Kerestes, and Nastaran Arfaei
Social drivers and spatial practices have had long-term effects on systemic racism concerning uneven resource distribution and environmental inequalities. These inequalities can be seen in a myriad of urban processes, such as urban development, city infrastructures, urban management and governance, and the formation and distribution of urban ecologies, among others. Systemic racist practices, such as redlining, have caused residential segregation. More recently, the new dynamics of gentrification and displacement have created an unequal distribution of urban ecological patterns in relation to vegetation, water, and air quality, and the lack of green infrastructure and amenities. The team investigates the topic of environmental justice and spatial inequalities as a new, interdisciplinary area of research that involves disciplines of environmental studies, history, geography, urban planning and design, and interaction design, and more.
The lack of investigation concerning urban development and processes in relation to environmental effects of structured racism and classism highlights the need for research initiatives on U.S. cities that look into the relationship between ecological processes, landscape biodiversity, and underprivileged communities. As such, northern Ohio, especially the east side of the Cleveland metropolitan area, is suited to study topics related to environmental justice and the processes of urbanization in relation to racism. These areas are also impacted by intense industrial activities and ecological damages caused by them. Studying such nuanced characteristics of racial and spatial inequalities to environmental issues can inform new spatial/experiential practices that are more sustainable and socially equitable.
To develop and test design proposals to address the issues mentioned above, this project utilizes a cyber-physical design solution that is partly physical – an artifact/installation – and partly virtual, through AR applications.