“Sankofa City” Dissertation

Sankofa City is my dissertation project, based on 4+ years of working with Ben Caldwell and the Leimert Phone Company.

We will explore the nexus of emerging technology, art, and community-based urban design, to provide visions for the future of local innovation and cultural development in Los Angeles.

“Sankofa City” is a collaboration between USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab, Ben Caldwell’s Kaos Network, and Urban Systems nonprofit autonomous vehicles company. The project proves that large research universities, nonprofits, and local communities can work together and empower local citizens to imagine alternative urban technologies that work for the public good.

The advent of new urban-based technologies means that the future form of Los Angeles will be unlike anything one can now imagine. For example, how might self-driving vehicles and augmented reality be used to change our relationship to the city – to even change the city itself? We will conduct a series of collaborative workshops with artists, students, technical experts, and local Leimert Park residents, to create vivid scenarios of the possibilities to share with the public and spark debate.

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Pershing Square Renew Win

Video for winning Pershing Square redesign project! As seen on LA Times, Archinect, SoCal Public Radio, ABC 7, and more!

In April 2016, I directed the interviews and live action shooting for Agence Ter and Team’s redesign for Downtown Los Angeles’s Pershing Square. Their design was one of the final four in a larger Pershing Square Renew competition. The proposal was focused on a flat, democratic, and green design – one that would be timeless and open to new generations. Ultimately the team won, beating out the three other teams (including notable figures such as James Corner and Thom Mayne).

Now that Agence Ter has won, there is talk of me creating a larger video installation based on all of the remaining (and unused) interviews and city footage.