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A new school for District 15

YSoA, Spring 2021
Critic: Alicia Imperiale
Selected for Retrospecta 44

We propose to build a new middle school for Brooklyn’s District 15 without building a school at all, and to address the inequities in the district without the ability to directly redistribute resources between District 15’s privileged and dispossessed communities. Our project works to expand the middle ground in the district, allowing students autonomy in their education and a place in the urban realm. This expanded middle ground becomes the site of the district’s eleventh middle school, which is composed of a network of Home Rooms in disused retail spaces. The Home Rooms are connected by a micromobility system, and animated by a pedagogical model based on social learning.

This project roots a vision of District 15’s urban vitality in middle schoolers, who are more used to loitering without any place to be, shooed from people’s stoops, and profiled by the police. By giving over part of the urban realm to people in a transitional period in their lives, we demarcate a more radical transition in District 15—a vision of a vital city that places people, not commerce or development, at the center of urban life.

Collaborators: Paul Meuser, Sangji Han