The concept or role of design activism in what R/A/D does is one of the hardest to describe. It is about engaging directly with the users or the community with an open mind, constantly ready to ask the question "WHAT IF". Sometimes it's about seeing an issue or problem emerging and looking at what logics underly them, not to stop them...but instead to learn from them and then try to redirect them. Sometimes its about seeing a void and helping create a project, an organization, a fundraising apparatus, a film, a means of communication. This aspect of our practice is about looking deeper, finding true and necessary innovation, and determining how to apply it.
Jason, the founder of R/A/D was instrumental in the founding of multiple Architecture for Humanity chapters around the US in NYC, San Francisco, and Austin, TX and helped identify community organizations to partner with to create projects. He also has initiated several collaborative research projects such as Omniworld (with Jennifer Marmon) which investigated the role of migration and border environments on larger urban systems and Velo City (with Alex Jermyn) which investigated an alternate development strategy for Treasure Island in San Francisco in collaboration with a local non-profit that promoted biking.
In many ways, this aspect of our practice is at the very heart of our organization. A clear and focused determination to not be afraid to ask the big question, to become the expert, to be entrepreneurial, to make it happen.