VIEW: Quilian Riano, Negotiations of Spatial Agency

Negotiations of Spatial Agency
Quilian Riano, Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative

Thursday, February 4, 2021
12pm EST / 9am PST / 5pm GMT

View the seminar by clicking HERE

Quilian Riano is an architectural and urban designer, researcher, writer, and educator committed to creating designs through democratic processes that support public and civic ideals. He is Associate Director of the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, a non-profit community design center housed in Kent State University’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design.


I was intrigued by Quilian’s description of collaborative design games that can build new communal structures and thereby democratize design process. When you’re doing this with marginalized communities, the undocumented migrants he talked about, for example, how does this interface with existing communal traditions, the strategies of collective survival that people might bring with them and rely on, to navigate the cities to which they come? I’m thinking, in other words about the relationship between past and future resources for collective life. I suppose that this is what is at stake in the urban farming cooperatives that Quilian later described.


A couple of other things that I wanted to share:

Urban Farming / Common Ground Panel

Can urban farming elicit decolonization, self-determination and healing through access to food? How do factors such as environmental racism, food deserts, and the history of land ownership impact these goals? What kinds of spaces can be developed in tandem with urban farms to fully achieve food sovereignty for Black and Brown communities?

Urban Farming / Common Ground explores these questions with brief presentations and dialogue between Duron Chavis, urban farmer, educator and changemaker, Quilian Riano, founder and lead designer of DSGN AGNC, Ashley Gripper, founder of Land Based Jawns, and Semilla Julian Garcia and Semilla Crystal Cruz from Huerto Semilla at the University of Puerto Rico. Nicole Pollard, Program Coordinator at Philadelphia Contemporary moderates the discussion. This program was inspired by the Resiliency Garden, an outdoor installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, that was commissioned as a part of Commonwealth and co-designed by Chavis and Riano.

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