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Where Bodies Are Necessary

The task of design to combat reproductive injustice forms the premise of a small exhibition ongoing at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. I admired this display of speculative student proposals for reimagined places and spaces of reproductive care—ranging from recovery centers outfitted with play spaces for children accompanying their mothers to abortion clinics with adjoining education facilities—then headed across the street to Barnard College for a talk that promised to expand on the theme.

Inside the echoey atrium, three academics, sitting shoulder to shoulder, shared their diverse viewpoints and experiences with those in scarce attendance. Said Lori Brown, a professor at Syracuse University, “I wanted to take on something overtly political within architecture, and abortion clinics are one of the most contested spaces in this country.” Questions like “How do you actually get into an abortion facility when there are loads of protestors standing outside?” motivated her. So did policy changes: new building codes and legal requir…

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