What Would the Beloved Community Look Like? An Examination of Mitigation Strategies by Design

  • Catalina Freixas
  • Mark Abbott
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)


The purpose of the chapter is to discuss how design can be used to mitigate segregation and what might Dr. King’s beloved community look like in the twenty-first century. The research of Lynch (1960), Jacobs (1961), Arnstein (1969), Farr (2007), Soja (2010), Fainstein (2011) and Gehl (2013) informed this focus group agenda. While the original intent for the conversation was to explore ways in which integration could be achieved, the participants expanded the dialogue by identifying the characteristics of an ideal community regardless of whether it was integrated or not. Three main themes emerged in the conversation. One, design is a reflection of policy. Two, design should promote economic diversity. Three, design should ultimately lead to equal opportunity. In the accompanying essay, “Mitigation Strategies: What My Practice Has Taught Me about Rebuilding Communities,” Michael Willis draws upon his career as an architect to identify the elements of an ideal community. For him, what poor African Americans want is a quality place to live which they have been deprived of. Unlike the massive public housing projects of the 1950s and 1960s that were situated inside desolate super blocks, Willis maintains that low-income African Americans want communities built at a human scale, walkable, with access to amenities, green spaces and transportation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catalina Freixas
    • 1
  • Mark Abbott
    • 2
  1. 1.ArchitectureWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Social and Behavioral SciencesHarris-Stowe State UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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