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Author: Jordan Gray
Title: a dream starts here
Category: Justice & equity
Description: On the southern border of South Carolina lies a small, overlooked town of 1,800, a town that has been hopeful for change. Calhoun Falls is known as The City of Opportunity, but much of that opportunity has dried up. LaSean Tutt, founder of the nonprofit “Dreams with Open Arms,” and owner of one of the dilapidated downtown buildings, hopes that reimagining the space into a community center will catalyze change that radiates throughout the city. Calhoun Falls faces population decline and stunted economic opportunity, but has the charm of a small southern town and the allure of a scenic lake and state park. As architects, if we want to improve the cities in which we work, we must include the people in the design process; it’s the first step. Community activation comes before construction. LaSean joined with Hanbury and the Clemson School of Architecture to engage the community at large through multiple events including the first annual “Rock the Block.” The prospect, alone, of a community center was enough to fill the streets, encourage design dialogue, and forge momentum. How can we as architects and designers share tools with the community so they can visualize, communicate, and engage with the design process? Sometimes, small change is enough to bring people together. - a dream starts here.