“Young Girls” and Their Real Worlds
It’s 2017. The millennium is in its teenage years—and it shows.
The world is acting out—making rash, impulsive decisions whose repercussions may be irreparable. The body politic is moody, volatile, and uncompromising. We were born into Y2K and 9/11; our youth is part of a string of crises and rapid evolutions. Can the physical landscape weather our collective turmoil? Adolescence may be “just a phase,” but architecture, infrastructure, and policy are hard to undo.
What does it mean to be 17 in 2017? This issue of Harvard Design Magazine checks in with teens of all sorts—humans, buildings, objects, ideas—and their impact on the spatial imagination. Like a bildungsroman for the built environment, “Seventeen” dives into the treacherous, exhilarating limbo of the teen years to understand and reclaim this global adolescence.
Though stereotyped as indignant or apathetic, teenagers are also wildly optimistic, passionate, creative, and resourceful. But teenagehood is not just a physical and emotional transition; it is also a spatial one. Bursting out of their childhood homes, teens crave autonomy—so they roam the streets, escape to virtual worlds, or hide out in bedrooms; they claim vacant lots, parks, and garages as turf; and they cruise, chill, or hang—euphemisms for the “whatever” that may or may not occur in these marginal spaces. For a discipline that defines space according to program and purpose, the nebulous teen hangout is easily overlooked; but openness, placelessness, and aimlessness offer a realm for fantasy, common ground, and action—especially in times of challenged freedoms.
Like all teenagers, we are asking: who are we, where do we fit in, and how can we, too, make our marks—as impactful designers and as an evolving discipline? In a divided, temperamental 2017, there is much to learn from the teenager.
Carolyn L. Kane
Tom de Paor
feminist architecture collaborative
Charles L. Davis II
Alexis Kalagas, Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner
Susan Rubin Suleiman
Adam Wood, Emma Dyer
Ethel Baraona Pohl
Alex Israel, Hamza Walker
Ari Versluis, Ellie Uyttenbroek, Lou Stoppard
Danielle Choi, Jorge Otero-Pailos
Luis Ortega Govela, Olivia Erlanger
Susan Nigra Snyder
Public Works Studio
Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi
Gareth Doherty, Moises Lino e Silva
Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Editor in Chief
Meghan Ryan Sandberg
Creative Direction & Design
Jiminie Ha & Fahad Al–Hunaif
With Projects, Inc.
Gina Ciancone, Maia Peck
AS Printon Trükikoda, Tallinn, Estonia