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Community, Advocacy, Social Catalyst
Working with the community, BRAZENarchitecture connects local citizenry with its city through community outreach events, canvassing projects, workshops, and community research and guidance. BRAZEN also serves the unhoused and underprivileged populations, developing processes for neighborhood improvements through advocacy and outreach efforts. 
Neighborhood Kids Design Workshops
Sherwood Forest

2022 -2023

Meadows Village

BRAZEN’s previous office was adjacent to Meadows Village Neighborhood, aka Naked City, located in the shadow of the Stratosphere. The neighborhood dates to the 1930’s and became popular in the 50’s for low-cost Strip employee apartments. In the 1970's, the neighborhood began to decline as drugs, prostitution, and other crime took over. Now, low-income families and elderly call it home. Along with the City of Las Vegas Office of Planning & Zoning and the Office of Community Services, Stupak Community Center, and Casa de Luz, BRAZEN is committed to helping our neighbors improve their own neighborhood by developing processes for improvement without causing negative gentrification, all based upon the needs and wants of the PEOPLE who live there.

Through BRAZEN's continued collaborations with Casa de Luz, the team developed a series of workshops that allowed us to teach, and learn from, Meadows Village Neighborhood kids. In 2020, BRAZEN developed an 8-week summer program under the guise of a Neighborhood Kids Design Workshop. The workshops were designed to engage kids and teach them about their community and City through reading, writing, drawing, creating, and building their own neighborhoods. Ultimately the workshops expanded the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.

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more community interactions

Spring Workshops
Week 01 Workshop Look Ahead
In this virtual workshop, we talked about envisioning a future neighborhood with beautiful buildings and
streets. As "homework", we asked the kids to look around their neighborhood. Smell it. See it. Feel it. We
showed them a few inspirational images from Baltimore, Chicago, and NYC.
Week 02 Exploring Your Block
For this exercise, we physically walked neighborhood streets with kids, asking them about the things they
saw, heard, smelled. They were concerned about barbed wire and debris on the sidewalks and streets.
Week 03 Designing Your Street
We reviewed the streets, alleys, and buildings kids observed during the street tours. Then we created
collages that were composed of images and elements kids wanted on their streets. One child sketched an
entire plan, full of people and plants - like any future Architect!
Week 04 Create Your Street Collage
In this workshop, we talked more about street images and designing for the empty lots. We learned one kid
has an entrepreneurial streak (community garden), while another really wanted a coffee shop on her block.
Week 05 Sketch Your Ideal Street
We took the kids' collage ideas and imported them into Sketchup. Working with "Mr Keith", the kids told him where specific elements should be placed, and together, they created quick 3D images to help them
understand their ideas.
Week 06 Discuss Your Ideal Street
For this workshop, we printed the 3D designs and pinned them up with the previously developed collages.
BRAZEN invited Landscape Architect Anna Peltier and City Traffic Engineer Victor Bolanos to listen to and
guide the kids as they continue to learn about their neighborhood.
Week 07 Design Your Ideal Street
This week, BRAZEN talked about pedestrian traffic on streets and alleys. We talked about safety and how kids
and people move through their neighborhood. Then we rolled out paper (size of a compact car!), talked
about parklets, and helped kids layout the design for a small park using tape, found objects, and markers.
Week 08 Designing Alleyways
For this workshop, we took the rolled parklet image to a nearby alley and asked the kids where to place it. They were able to see how the elements they like fit into a pedestrian alleyway.
Week 09 UNLV Digital Fabrication Lab Field Trip
This week we took a trip to the amazing capabilities of the UNLV Digital Fabrication Lab!
Week 10 Discuss Safer Alleyways/Parklet
This week we talked about the collages and the elements that can become part of a safer alley. 
Week 11 Create Your Parklet 
Back to Building! This week, we took elements from previous collage ideas and the parklet from the alley and built physical models with the kids.
Week 12 Build Your Elements
This week we continued building physical models.
Week 13 Build Your Elements
We're LOOKING FOR NEIGHBORHOOD PARTNERS for these two weeks as we design quarter-scale elements with the kids and begin to build them as part of an installation.
Week 14 Build Your Elements
This week we will continue building our quarter-scale elements.
Week 15 Presentations
For this final Spring workshop, we'll install elements the kids built, painted, and/or were donated and ask kids to present to city and community leaders, and their parents and guardians.

Community Interactions
<click links for more info>

Fall 2020 Workshops
Week 01 Look Ahead
WeekS 2-8 Rescheduled
Workshops #2 through #8 were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and were integrated into the later Winter/Spring workshops listed above.
Summer 2020 Workshops
Week 01 Found Objects
For this first adventure with neighborhood kids, we separated them into two groups by age and walked the neighborhood streets. We asked them to look around and find specific objects, identify smells, and listen to the neighborhood. Everyone found the garbage smells! But, only a couple of kids saw the birds or listened to the trees. 
Week 02 The Buildings
During the second week, we walked the streets again, but we asked kids to look at the buildings and spaces created between them. Some kids noticed the color of buildings, the shapes, duplicates, and some recognized people in the buildings who care for them and the community.
Week 03 Describe Your Neighborhood
It was a hot summer and everyone appreciated taking the workshops indoors. This time, the kids created collages describing good and bad elements, ideal places, favorite animals, and types of people they see in the neighborhood, and things and people they would like to see around them. One child even created a collage about community.
Week 04 Build Your Fantasy Room
Understanding space, even on the simplest of levels is fascinating. Kids started with a square of foam board, then added and built elements that made up their ideal, or fantasy, space. We noticed that many kids were most interested in soft furniture and a TV!
Week 05 Build Your Dream Apartment
The dream apartment evolved the fantasy room idea into a floor, 4 walls, and a delineation of spaces. Kids thought about how their families would live with them, how many beds everyone needed, and many included 1 or more additional bathrooms.
Week 06 Your Dream Neighborhood
Everyone was surprised by the neighborhood exercise! City Planning printed large sheets that had images of streets, blocks, parks, and rivers on them. The kids worked together to match-up the streets in an abstract form, creating their neighborhood layout. Next, they added pre-assembled boxes (and some boxes built on the fly!) to their neighborhood. Kids chose from various materials, such as sample products from our office, things we found in our homes, papers, and the Dream Apartments from the previous week.
Week 07 Create an Invitation
While we went to work behind the scenes rebuilding elements we pulled together during Workshop #6, the kids thought about who they wanted to share their summer work with and create an invitation for that person or people.
Week 08 Present Your Work
The kids had so many reasons to be proud of themselves! For this final workshop, we asked each child to take their invited guest around the room to talk about the things they learned about their neighborhood and how their workshop contributions made them feel.
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