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There are many organizations that sponsor worthwhile programs and they of course deserve our support. I recently learned of one such program that has architecture students as its driving force and the group in particular that I am familiar with is the University of Southern California chapter of the Global Architecture Brigades. This is essentially a student initiated effort and it's always inspiring and refreshing when young undergraduate students begin learning about the positive impacts that architecture can have on people and their communities.

The students at the University of Southern California (USC) who in collaboration with the organization Global Architecture Brigades have begun an international project for the impoverished in Panama. They are researching and designing a sustainable and ecologically responsible residential project that will eventually be built in Panama, by us and with the help of the community. Our goal is to construct a beneficial space while teaching the community members construction techniques. Hopefully this will enable and empower the surrounding communities to continue rebuilding their neighborhoods.

You can learn more about the program and students involved, and if you deem appropriate, donate, by following this link to the USC Global Architecture Brigades Blog
More on the Global Architecture Brigades:Global Architecture Brigades is a volunteer student-based collaborative dedicated to the research, design, and construction of socially responsible, environmentally sustainable solutions to architectural problems in the developing world. A think tank design approach utilizes extensive community dialog and independent research to create efficient, appropriate, and elegant structures to be embraced and utilized by those for whom they were built. Ultimately, extended relationships between brigades and communities would result not only in the implementation of a variety of projects, but also the accumulation of a vast wealth of knowledge from which future students, designers, and communities could learn.

Creating these solutions within the current parameters that the field of architecture has set is simply not possible. Students of design must question, reconsider, and ultimately rewrite every aspect of design that culture has come to accept. Through this counter-cultural approach to design defiance, architecture can become something essential not to the few who want, but rather to the many who need.

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