• Doing Good with Wood

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    By Xiaotong Du

    Nowadays, it’s common for us to notice that people are surrounded by artificial objects. We play video games or connect with friends through computers and mobile phones on a daily basis. We tend to be intuitive to touch the man-made high-tech products with confidence.

    However, we become more intimidated when interacting with natural materials. Do you still remember when was the last time that you touched a tree or held a piece of wood? I do. Last month, our class volunteered with our community champion Emergent Structures. We were supposed to arrange the wood by size, and pull out the nails from the reclaimed materials. At the beginning, I didn’t know how to move the wood and I also felt a little scared of the de-nailing process, mostly because we were dealing with very old materials, we had to be very careful while handling them, but after a while the process became easier and I felt more comfortable.

    These materials are abundant in Savannah, being such an historic city we get the chance to interact with them often. It’s also a city full of creative minds, and amazing maker spaces such as Maven Makers who we’ve had the chance to work with, in their workshop you get the opportunity to turn abstract ideas into real-world projects, however, the safety of using reclaimed wood is always a big challenge for them, mainly because buried nails in old wood can wreak havoc on power tools.

    So here’s the challenge…

    What if we returned to our old traditions? What if we start playing with wood instead of playing with our phones? If we think about the interaction between people and technology, the attractiveness of using these products is the connection with other people and the entertainment by spending time on it. How can we get the same experience by touching a static piece of wood or working with reclaimed materials? Designers throughout history have shown the power of transforming simple materials into more complex products or pieces or art, it is our task now to not only return to that, but also to communicate to everyone our confidence while building and creating. We need to invite people to experiment, to fail, to learn, to try again, and to succeed. And we get things like this great table by Andrea, an Emergent Structures volunteer and SCAD student.

    The beauty of this challenge is to create a connection bigger and broader than just reclaimed wood, by touching and feeling these materials we can start our process of reconnecting with nature, and even better co creating with nature.

     

  • Co-Creating Solutions

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    By Jee Eun Lee

    On January 31st, our class invited five stakeholders of Savannah’s material reclamation and maker communities to present to them insights from our secondary and primary research. We previously met and interviewed each of them individually (and many others) so this was our opportunity to meet as a group and listen to their opinions, thoughts and ideas about our insights.

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  • Is Community Based in Geographic Location?

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    By Mary Rodes, Rina Strydom, and Ivonne Zuniga

    If you look for the word community in a dictionary, the main two definitions that pop are:

    • A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
    • A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

    Community has been a key word in our project, mentioned many times in the group meetings, however, recently the question arose: What kind of community are we talking about?

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  • Every Nail Counts

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    By Ivonne Zuniga

    As a part of our research before starting this new project, the team and I joined this quarter’s ‘community champion’ Emergent Structures at the Lumberyard, a property that soon will be donated to them, for an afternoon of manual work. The work was mostly about de nailing the pieces of wood that they recover from past deconstructions.

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  • Midtown’s PopUp and Block Party

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    By Chari Sathyanarayanan

    To reach a happy ending everything has to start with a good beginning. And good beginnings can sprout up everywhere. Our final solutions for this quarter aimed at helping the community in Midtown celebrate a new beginning of neighborliness.

    Our work in helping build a resilient midtown community led to 10 different concepts that were shared with the community over the last several weeks, which led the community especially excited about 3 solutions. The continuous interactions with the Midtown residents and the new Midtown neighborhood association acted as a catalyst for a block party initiative to emerge. So, we considered how the block party—which was beautifully planned by the newly minted neighborhood association—could provide a platform for our final  concepts. Our class split into 3 subteams and worked to implement each of these three concepts.

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  • Midtown Sustainists: Our Journey So Far

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    By Neha Tadepalli & Luisa Solano

    Our very intent is to bring people together. In the beginning and our goal toward the end: help bring about a social change that makes community members come together, believe, and dream together. We aim to be a catalyst for the community that is not only to be resilient but to stand “together” and have shared values within Midtown, Savannah. With this in mind, we share with you our journey through our process, interactions with the community members and our ideas that are currently being prototyped and brought to life.

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  • Midtown Sustainists: How Does a Space Make us Feel?

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    By Aswini Iyer and Slesha Dahake

    Hello everyone. We are students studying at SCAD and we have few thoughts to share about the built environment. We’ve had discussions in one of my classes about the importance of public spaces. This triggered a thought in me about how human behaviour is affected by the built environment. The built environment can be categorised into sub categories like public space and private space. First, let’s explore what is defined as a public space. A public space is defined as any commonly shared space that is created for the open usage of the community. Few examples of typical public spaces are monuments, parks. Whereas a private space is more confined to personal use like residences, self owned backyards, etc. Both these spaces are usually built with few specific activities in mind. But it does not necessarily serve only those assigned purposes.

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  • Midtown Sustainists: Combating Displacement with Resilience

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    By Stephen Langford

    It was almost seven weeks ago that our team came together and began our project in developing greater community cohesion and resilience in Midtown, Savannah. In Savannah as a whole, approximately 1 in 4 residents live below the poverty line. However, in neighborhoods like Midtown where residents have been experiencing disinvestment and false hope for decades or even entire lifetimes, nearly 1 in 3 residents live below the poverty line.

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  • Midtown Sustainists: Community Spotlight

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    By Alex Fogleman and Natalya Amirova

    Throughout the process of learning about Savannah’s Midtown community, we’ve interviewed over 15 individuals directly involved in the neighborhood. This includes members of the city government and non-profit organizations, local business owners, Midtown residents, and board members of Emergent Savannah, an essential partner in the work that we’re doing this quarter. Included here is a small sample of the people we’ve come to know.

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  • Midtown Sustainists: Give a Person a Fish

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    By Varun Prabhu

    The word design was once reserved for the creation of pretty stuff: Stuff like tangible products, an intuitive bunch of pixels, or well-rounded services. Design was meant to increase the appeal of products and services to sell pretty things. Design, in other words, meant consumption. But what if that was just a start for design, rather than its only function?

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