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Collective Reference


Everyone has something to share.

By Marley Lopez

Dinner and a movie have turned to takeout and Netflix. As we turn spaces like restaurants and theatres into services, we lose the element of social life that helped us connect with strangers and expand our perspectives. As we lend more and more of our lives to personalized, privatized algorithms, I found myself asking two questions: As shared spaces turn into virtual services, what is the new role of the built environment? And what is the social/communal cost of limiting whom we interact with?



There is a difference between personal social isolation and government-mandated social distancing for public health. While Covid-19 has exacerbated social disconnection, these issues predate the pandemic and will outlast it. Yet, I struggled to discern if my findings were related to the novel Coronavirus or larger trends, given that the effects of isolation will continue to impact how we socialize after the pandemic. Even what might appear as an exceptional occurrence should be taken seriously as a potential norm. 



In conclusion, I propose a pop-up, co-created community center -- and leave behind every association you have of ‘community center’! It’s closer to an events planner working with a neighborhood to bring them closer and learn from each other. I define a community as a group of people with a shared identity (be that geographic, interest, or practice), coming together to engage and collaborate. These shared experiences build a collective reference of culture and togetherness that reinforces the community.

Key Words

Community Design, Social Impact Systems, Thinking User Experience, Value Chain


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