From the Ground Up: Grassroots Initiatives


The following is a summary of the Panel Discussion “From the Ground Up: Grassroots Initiatives,” the keynote discussion for Women in Design at ABX 2018.

Today’s most pressing challenges, such as climate change, social inequity, and violence, require new kinds of thinking to find effective,  radically positive solutions. Designers, who have the opportunity to span the social, environmental, and economic realms, are uniquely positioned to work together to imagine a new paradigm of problem solving. Recognizing this need, groups like ResilientSEE have risen in a grassroots manner to tackle different socio-environmental issues. The Women in Design panel symposium at ABX titled “From the Ground Up: Grassroots Initiatives,” explored the genesis, execution and growth of grassroots movements as they relate to the design community.

 The panel, moderated by Jennifer Hardy of Payette Associates, included myself; Kristen Chin, Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow and Project Manager at Urban Edge and Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation; Courtney Sharpe, Director of Cultural Planning for the City of Boston; and Jennie Stephens, Professor & Director, School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. All panelists agreed that the best way to effect change is to engage in productive, respectful and educational conversation with community members. Over time, these conversations create trust: a key ingredient in developing sustainable and long-lasting solutions. Most importantly, the solutions must be co-authored with the community because, at the end of the day, a resilient community is its own agent of change.

Yanel de Angel