Interviewed after winning one of this year's MacArthur Fellowships, landscape architecture and environmental planning and urban design professor Walter Hood
, founder and creative director of Hood Design Studio, credits his childhood experience of his grandmother's remote home in North Carolina for the work he does today. "It didn't have toilets," he says. "You know, it had an outhouse, but there was always room in her house, food, and everything was about the land. ... I think those memories now shape kind of everything I think about." The MacArthur Foundation recognized Professor Hood for the many public spaces, often in underserved neighborhoods, that he's transformed in creative and culturally commemorative ways. Talking about some of those projects, he describes their planning process as one that involved the communities and used their input to develop a narrative or story to inform the design, including memories of the space's past, and then finding a path to the site's desired future. Referring to one of his current projects -- the International African American Museum in Charleston, S.C. -- he says: "You know, [in Charleston], I'm dealing with, like, the history of slavery. I'm dealing with the swamps, the memory of wetlands. I'm dealing with Gullah Geechee, you know. So there's just this -- I'm dealing with the Confederacy, you know what I mean?" Link to audio. For more on his award, see our story at Berkeley News
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