In its broadest sense, this research investigates how one should design the physical environment for the contemporary subject of the Digital Era. The ease and immediacy with which one can access the preponderance of information available through digital and electronic media has complicated the development and understanding of self-identity in popular culture, and by correlation how one engages with society. The significance of the public institution as a center for information exchange and civic engagement has diminished in favor of new media , which has become a staple at home and is trending increasingly mobile.

While architectural investigations of the past two decades contemplate the formal possibilities of digital technology and the affects of new media on physical objects, few architectural proposals consider how the proliferation of these media and technologies directly affect the subject in society. This project rethinks the design of the contemporary upper school as a model for considering the affects of new media on individual and community interaction, the dissemination of information and the evolution (dissolution?) of public institutions.

This thesis challenges contemporary formulations of identity and societal engagement in an age increasingly dominated by the proliferation of digital and electronic information and interaction through the proposition of an architecture which fosters critical awareness of the (re)presentations of actuality in new media and directs critical engagement between the new subject of the digital era and the public sphere.

My complete thesis preparation document can be viewed here: Rethinking the Contemporary School

Friday, March 6, 2009

The School Feedback Loop

Research shows that the poorest neighborhoods contain the lowest quality schools, in terms of facilities and resources. The neighborhood affects the outlook and attitude of its students and teachers, who struggle to grow in sub standard learning environments with few resources. Those students who can, often leave the neighborhood to attend stronger schools while few, if any, high performing students come to the neighborhood. These neighborhoods become racially and economically isolated. Revitalization efforts often lead to gentrification which brings an influx of capital and improvements but typically forces existing residents out.

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