CUP (Center for Urban Pedagogy), an MFTA member since 2005, is known for their “Urban Investigations” — experiential semester-long projects with public high school students, where they give students the tools to investigate their own communities and use art and design to create educational tools based on their research.
Using the city’s micro-unit competition (AKA adAPT NYC) as a launch pad, CUP’s current urban investigation, in collaboration with The Academy of Urban Planning, deals with the issue of housing size and how much space we need to live.
Teaching artist, Chat Travieso explained the investigative process to us, which entails having the students interview a number of people including an architect, a sociologist, affordable housing advocates, a real-estate developer, and a representative from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Through these different perspectives they become informed about the city’s changing population and what should be done about housing size.
Valeria Mogilevich, CUP’s Program Director told us the project objectives were not actually seeking out solutions to space issues. The goal is for the students to research how much space one needs to live. They then use design and art to break down what they learned and explain it to others “…in a really accessible…funny, and weird…way. The visual element is how the students process the information they gathered from all the interviews conducted and how they make that information understandable to others…the creative process is at the absolute center of their investigation.”
Collage was the medium chosen to represent this exploration of viewpoints and themes. Supplied with a wide array of materials from MFTA like magazines, construction paper, wallpaper, posters, old architectural plans, and textured paper, Travieso told us “all these different materials combined made for some quirky illustrations…and allowed for the students to make really saturated and fun collages.”
Regarding the mayor’s competition, HPD (Housing Preservation Development) Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua said “Remarkable things can be accomplished when thinking carefully about how people live …” At MFTA we know remarkable things can happen when children are given the freedom to explore through creativity.
To see slide show and article about the actual competition click here