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Rotch Library Exhibit

Soft City

March 10, 2022 - April 21, 2022

Photo of color-coded textile-based mapReception: March 11, 5-6pm

Soft City is a large-scale textile series that maps the urban fabric of Black neighborhoods in the Boston area. The tapestries map historic (redlined) and contemporary Black neighborhoods, including Roxbury, Dorchester, and East Cambridge. The information mapped tells the story of the past, present and future of Black residents, and the ecological resilience of the neighborhoods they live in.

Hard (impervious) and soft (pervious) land uses are codified using colors with overlays of future tree plantings and flood zones on the tapestry. The softness and materiality of tufting interrogates the traditional top-down approach to space planning and management in the city and offers new tactile ways to explore our understanding of urban space, at all ages.

Just Practice is a collaborative practice started by Amanda Ugorji and Sophie Weston Chien. Our vision is to dream and design social-spatial liberation. This means altering relationships of power in society through the built environment and building resiliency with care. Our interdisciplinary practice spans architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, textile, and graphic design, as well as activist and organizing work within the design field. We think about modes of practice, the spatialization of memory, Black feminist practices, the historical role of women in architecture, and strategies for collective care. We have upcoming shows in the Boston Public Library Leventhal Map Center and Boston Society of Architects Gallery, and have exhibited other work in Fairbanks, AK, Providence, RI, and Rome, Italy.

Sophie is from Charlotte and has a BFA/Bachelor of Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design with a minor in Politics and Policy and is pursuing a Masters in Landscape Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design as a Dean’s Merit Scholar. Amanda is from Cambridge and has a BA in Architecture from Brown University and is pursuing a Masters in Architecture at MIT School of Architecture + Planning as a John A. Lyons Fellow. They are both based on unceded Massachusett and Pawtucket land (Cambridge, Massachusetts).