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Curating with a Conscience

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Upon entering Small Scale Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement‚ the latest exhibition from MoMA's Architecture and Design department‚ the tone of the exhibition is immediately set by a graphic of critical demographic statistics from each of the communities where the projects are built: 80 percent of the population in Port Elizabeth, South Africa are unemployed; fishermen in Tyre, Lebanon earn $15 a day in the high season. The exhibition, organized by curator Andres Lepik (who Dwell editor Jaime Gross interviewed last week for a Q&A) and curatorial assistant Margot Weller, is the most recent in a string of proactive exhibitions from the A+D department. Like Rising Currents: Projects for New York's Waterfront and Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling, Small Scale Big Change sparks new ways of thinking about global issues like sustainability, community development, public policy, housing, poverty, and inequity, among others.

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  Upon entering Small Scale, Big Change, a graphic map of statistics introduces visitors to the exhibition's content.
    Upon entering Small Scale, Big Change, a graphic map of statistics introduces visitors to the exhibition's content.
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  Diébédo Francis Kéré, a Burkina Faso-born, German-educated architect, needed to rally an entire community to help build a primary school in Gando. The building combines traditional compressed-earth bricks with a modern steel-trussed roof.
    Diébédo Francis Kéré, a Burkina Faso-born, German-educated architect, needed to rally an entire community to help build a primary school in Gando. The building combines traditional compressed-earth bricks with a modern steel-trussed roof.
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  "In Comparison," a video by Harun Farocki, shows traditional construction methods in Burkna Faso, the same techniques used in Kere's project.
    "In Comparison," a video by Harun Farocki, shows traditional construction methods in Burkna Faso, the same techniques used in Kere's project.
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  Noero Wolff Architects designed a master plan for the Red Location in Port Elizabeth, one of South Africa's oldest townships, which included a museum on the history of apartheid, the Red Location Museum of Struggle. Architect Jo Noero was inspired by the regional designs for factories, citing that working from familiar building typologies was critical to ensuring that the museum would be accepted into the community.
    Noero Wolff Architects designed a master plan for the Red Location in Port Elizabeth, one of South Africa's oldest townships, which included a museum on the history of apartheid, the Red Location Museum of Struggle. Architect Jo Noero was inspired by the regional designs for factories, citing that working from familiar building typologies was critical to ensuring that the museum would be accepted into the community.
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  In Venezuela, a new mile-long metro cable helps connect people living in Caracas's barrios to the main city. Prior to this project, there was no direct public transit serving the 40,000 people living there.
    In Venezuela, a new mile-long metro cable helps connect people living in Caracas's barrios to the main city. Prior to this project, there was no direct public transit serving the 40,000 people living there.
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  There are nearly 30,000 at-risk children living within a 2.5 mile radius of Los Angeles' Inner-City Arts complex; 95 percent of them are under the poverty line.
    There are nearly 30,000 at-risk children living within a 2.5 mile radius of Los Angeles' Inner-City Arts complex; 95 percent of them are under the poverty line.
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  The Meti School in Bangladesh is a two-story structure constructed out of rammed earth.
    The Meti School in Bangladesh is a two-story structure constructed out of rammed earth.
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  Hashim Sarkis A.L.U.D. designed a housing complex for Fishermen living in Tyre, Lebanon.
    Hashim Sarkis A.L.U.D. designed a housing complex for Fishermen living in Tyre, Lebanon.
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  Casa Familiar: Living Rooms at the Border and Senior Housing with Childcare in San Ysidro, California by Estudio Teddy Cruz.
    Casa Familiar: Living Rooms at the Border and Senior Housing with Childcare in San Ysidro, California by Estudio Teddy Cruz.
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  Alabama-based Rural Studio designed a house that could be built for $20k.
    Alabama-based Rural Studio designed a house that could be built for $20k.

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