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A Secret Weapon in the Fight for Civil Rights: Good Design

Design can redistribute decision-making abilities to historically marginalized communities so they are civically in control.

Here at GOOD, we believe that design can be used to create positive social, environmental, and economic change. So we're joining forces with our friends at Impact Design Hub to share compelling stories about design that's moving the world forward. The article below is an excerpt of “Designing for Equity: Using a Civil Rights Framework.” Get the full story here.

Image via Skid Row Housing Trust.


The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s moved pivotal barriers that segregated and discriminated communities based on race. The civic consciousness was active and awake, numerous grassroots efforts reached a critical mass and the Civil Rights Movement implemented strategies that permanently changed legislation. Yet fifty years after the marches from Selma, in today’s context of #blacklivesmatter, we are reminded that in 2015 some fundamental civil rights are still not accessible to all people.

There are many systems—economic, educational, criminal—that produce inequitable, unjust environments that, by design, are meant to disempower and marginalize communities. Social justice movements work towards transforming these systems, with the goal that everyone is represented and that all outcomes are equitably beneficial to all. Design can be a strategy to redistribute power and create more opportunities for full participation in the shaping of our built environment, resulting in more equitable neighborhoods and empowered residents.

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