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Cultures, Communities and Design

Value-Inclusive Design for Socially Equitable Communities
E. Harris & A. Franz
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm


The future of development in rural areas and our cities depends on how we respond to the challenges of today. Due to population growth and migration pressure, two of the most pressing problems of urbanization in rural communities are poverty and environmental degradation (Marshall et al., 2009). To counteract the problems of urbanization, community planning and co-creation through value-inclusive design are proposed as essential to developing healthy and sustainable towns and cities. Value-inclusive design is defined by design principles promoting health and dignity, interactive settings for quality life, and inclusive green cities. These principles, underscored by shared values for social equity – Identity, Placation, Accessibility, and Empathy (Sarabi, 2022), frame activities that promote economic development and protect the environment. Given that rural areas may have greater access to land and other resources, integrating food production with the development of the built environment is easily imagined as a step towards positive and socially equitable urbanization, and poverty mitigation. However, and while more challenging, it is believed that smaller communities within growing cities with less land and green space also can create restorative food systems to mitigate poverty. This research tests the idea by preparing case studies comparing competition proposals generated by 20 international teams participating in the Wageningen University and Research’s Urban Greenhouse Challenge #3, the social edition, to a new value-inclusive design framework for social equity. Comparable to development challenges in rural areas, the competition site is an underserved community within the District of Columbia. It is predicted that planning using value-inclusive design as proposed by this study can include food production solutions that not only generate food but mobilize a community’s quality of life. This type of approach using available land and green space can serve as a prototype for community planning in both rural communities and the urbanization of cities.


Eric Harris, Associate AIA, AIAS, NOMA – An advocate for value-inclusive design practices, Eric Harris is the CAUSES Aspiration Award recipient for Architecture and Urban Sustainability, the Clarence Pearson Award recipient in Recognition of Overall leadership and academic performance, and the 2020 Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholar. He is also the third-place team winner of the 2021 Interschool Design Competition sponsored by NCARB and the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Eric currently works for Samaha Associates, P.C., a multi-disciplinary architecture, interior design, and planning firm. In this role, Eric serves as Project Interior Designer for a variety of clients including educational, public safety, local government, and rural/industrial commissions. His involvement in the design process elevates the quality of Samaha’s facilities to exceed expectations inside and out. Eric earned his Master of Architecture from the University of the District of Columbia and a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and Design from George Washington University. He also holds an AAS in Business Technology and a BBA in Marketing from UDC. Mr. Harris is a second-year Ph.D. student in Urban Leadership and Entrepreneurship at UDC in CAUSES. In addition, he is a coach/expert panelist for Wageningen University and Research’s 2022 Urban Greenhouse Challenge #3, the social edition at East Capitol Urban Farm, Ward 7, in Washington, D.C.

Anna Franz, PhD, FAIA, NAC, LEED AP – Dr. Anna Franz is the Chair of the Department of Architecture and Urban Sustainability and Program Director of the University of the District of Columbia’s Architecture and Community Planning Program in CAUSES. Before joining the faculty in 2020, she served in executive leadership roles as Director, Planning and Project Management, Architect of the Capitol, and Chief, Space and Facilities Division, Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Recognized as an eminent leader in the federal government and known for excellence in architecture/preservation, engineering, and construction, she served as chair of the Construction Industry Institute and represented the Architect of the Capitol on the President’s Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Dr. Franz was awarded the Architect’s Citation in 2012 and elected to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows and the National Academy of Construction in 2018. Dr. Franz has published several scholarly papers on whole system design and planning in architecture and engineering journals. She is a registered architect in Virginia and the District of Columbia, LEED Professional, and registered nurse. She has a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Florida State University, a master’s in nursing from Texas Woman’s University, a master’s in architecture/historic preservation from The University of Texas at Austin, and a doctorate in engineering management from The George Washington University.