just practice

a collaborative practice started by Amanda Ugorji and Sophie Weston Chien

Our vision is to dream and design social-spatial liberation. This means altering relationships of power in society through the built environment and building resiliency with care.

Roxbury, Dorchester, and East Cambridge

Soft City is a large-scale textile series that maps the urban fabric of Black neighborhoods in the Boston area. The tapestries map historic (redlined) and contemporary Black neighborhoods, including Roxbury, Dorchester, and East Cambridge. The information mapped tells the story of the past, present and future of Black residents, and the ecological resilience of the neighborhoods they live in. Hard (impervious) and soft (pervious) land uses are codified using colors with overlays of Black residents and flood zones on the tapestries. The softness and materiality of tufting interrogates the traditional top-down approach to space planning and management in the city and offers new tactile ways to explore our understanding of urban space, at all ages.

We sourced our data from First Street Foundation Flood Model, FEMA, Climate Ready Boston, and the US Census.

Supported by MIT Council for the Arts Special thanks to Emma Werowinski, Mackinley Wang-Xu, James Brice and Sir Sahil Mohan <3

We were recently profiled by Thuy-An Nguyen - click here to read more 

just practice spans architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, community engagement, textile, and graphic design, as well as activist and organizing work within the design field. We think about modes of practice, the spatialization of memory, Black feminist practices, the historical role of women in architecture, and strategies for collective care. We have an upcoming show in the Boston Public Library Leventhal Map Center, and have exhibited in MIT Rotch Gallery, Yale School of Art E.I.K. Gallery and Boston Society of Architects Gallery, and indivdually in Fairbanks, AK, Providence, RI, and Rome, Italy. Sophie is from Charlotte and has a BFA and Bachelor of Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design with a minor in Politics and Policy and is pursuing a dual Masters in Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at Harvard Graduate School of Design as a Dean’s Merit Scholar. Amanda is from Cambridge and has a BA in Architecture from Brown University and is pursuing a Masters in Architecture at MIT School of Architecture + Planning as a John A. Lyons Fellow. They are both based on Massachusett and Pawtucket land (Cambridge, Massachusetts).

Soft City has had the honor of being exhibited at Yale School of Art in No White Walls, MIT Rotch Library, Boston Society of Architects Gallery and Boston Public Library Leventhal Map Center,  The City Talks Online Exhibition, and the Inaugural 3rd Space Pop Up Exhibition in Downtown Crossing.  

© 2023