REBLOG: Looking at labor laws, prison reform and the role of architecture.
The New York Times ran a spectactularly heart-breaking photo-doc feature by Ismail Ferdous on the aftermath of Rana Plaza's building collapse in Bangladesh almost a year ago, focusing scrutiny on the mostly US fashion brands that employed the indentured workers in the facility (where over a thousand people were killed and 2500 injured). It was almost as amazing that the world's media gathered so quickly to take a rightfully critical eye at demand for cheaper apparel at the expense of human rights. I for one couldn't help but wonder if the same disaster had occurred in New York City, if the focus wouldn't be on the building contractors and city codes, oversight et cetera, rather than the victims of the collapse. In any case, both issues are important–the rights of the working poor, as well as the need for serious infrastructural improvements and thoughtful urban planning (not just profit-driven real estate fantasizing).
Meanwhile over at ArchDaily, Ralph Sperry of Architects Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility wrote on the ethics of prison system design, and the role of the complicit architect. “Prisons and Human Rights Violations: What Can Architects Do?“