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Hip-Hop Architecture Camp

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Hip-Hop Architecture Camp

Madison Public Library, Wis.

Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion | 2017 | Top Innovator

Innovation Summary

Created by architect Mike Ford, "Hip-Hop Architecture Camp" had two goals: to increase the number of minorities in architecture and urban planning and to retell the history of architecture and urban planning as it relates to Black communities. The camp results informed our city’s Imagine Madison urban planning process.

Problem Statement

Jesse_Vieau__hip%20hop%20architecture%202.jpgBlack communities in Madison and beyond are often poorly designed by people outside the black community, resulting in a lack of connection or sense of place for residents. "Hip-Hop Architecture" used principles of hip hop to help Black Madison residents reimagine their environment and help Black children reimagine themselves in the process. Through this partnership, the library was able to contribute a project to advance our racial equity and social justice strategic goals.


Jesse_Vieau__hip%20hop%20architecture%203.jpgThe library partnered with Ford, UW-Madison, MOD Media and others to host a four-day camp, where 50+ participants built an ideal community that will inform city planning processes. Some participants also created a song featuring the experience to share with the wider community and nationally at South by Southwest. These partnerships and this project allowed our library to work with new partners and actively inform our local urban planning processes.


Hip-Hop Architecture Camp" allowed students and community members to engage in re-mixing the visions for their communities and neighborhoods in ways that are culturally relevant, sustaining, and responsive. Planners from the City of Madison are using the content from the camp to inform the "people power planning" of Imagine Madison, an urban planning effort in the city of Madison. The library expanded partnerships in this crucial area as a result.