Meet Christine Graziano, a planner and landscape designer whom Walkabout has invited as a guest to share from time to time for conversations about art, design, the environment and infrastructure as our city continues its progression from “liveable” to compelling.
Being liveable isn’t enough. It’s like being tolerant. Tolerance is the barest essential of human relations. For Pittsburgh to become compelling, we need to be as clean as possible and incorporate being clean into our economic and social justice profiles. We need to be as inclusive as possible in our infrastructure and housing improvements so that everyone can get around comfortably and safely.
And we need to think about art and design as part of the aesthetic that changes people’s attitudes about where they are, whether it is subliminal or drop-dead stunning.
Christine is one of those young people whose attention Pittsburgh has sought for many years and has finally succeeded in getting. Now an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, she and her husband Carles and son Biel live in Shadyside.
She is accredited by the U.S. Green Building Council in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Her educational background is strong on sustainable planning and environmental studies and policy.
Christine was one of the instructors whose students in CMU’s Urban Lab were assigned to design “what if” scenarios for Beechview and Brookline last year. Urban Lab every semester takes on different neighborhoods, meets with residents, incorporates their wish lists for improvements and amenities into design plans and then presents the plans to those residents.
Nothing comes of these plans without funding but there’s a lot of potential mojo in just putting advanced ideas out there.
In our first conversation, Christine tells us about an art exhibit she got involved in producing while living in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Christine: “I began consulting with Friends of the Earth-Mid East when I got there, and then I joined a collaborative of artists and photographers. This group exhibited in abandoned spaces in cities around the world for a month. They take over a building or space as a way to draw people toward the potential there.
“We took over a building [in Tel Aviv] in which each artist was given a room to make a commentary. The subject was the relationship between nature and the city.”
Walkabout: In what building would you choose to do that in Pittsburgh?
To be continued.....
Photo of Christine and her son Biel Badenes at Bellefont and Walnut Streets by Harrison Alexander Bowers
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