people for urban progress, indianapolis, indiana

People for Urban Progress (PUP) is an Indianapolis-based 501c3 non-profit organization that promotes and advances public transit, environmental awareness, and urban design. They stand for project-based urban progress.

The initial inspiration for founding PUP? “In July 2008, we (Maryanne O’Malley and Michael Bricker) wondered what would become of the iconic RCA Dome roof material once the stadium was demolished. Upon discovering that the fabric was headed to an Indiana landfill, we began working with Sabre Demolition and Shiel Sexton Powers & Sons to negotiate an alternative solution. Our proposal, and subsequent partnerships with the Indianapolis Parks Department and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, secured the preservation of 13 acres of material, nearly 90% of the total amount.”

The photograph(s) was taken and composed by Kevin Klinger as a record of a review of his Ball State University graduate studio’s work as hosted by PUP on February 11, 2011. Reviewers included: Michael Bricker (PUP co-founder and co-executive director), Wes Janz, Dick Luton, Wil Marquez, Paul Puzzello, and Donna Sink.

smallBIG catalog, mt. pleasant, michigan

“In the house,” in Indianapolis, the expanded catalog produced by David Stairs and his Professional Practice students at Central Michigan University for the “small architecture BIG LANDSCAPES” show.

The “smallBIG” show, curated by Wes Janz and first exhibited at the Swope Art Museum (Terre Haute, Indiana) in early 2010, was also installed at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and Ball State University in 2010. It will be exhibited at the University of Minnesota College of Design and Central Michigan University in 2011, and Southern Illinois University in 2012. If you’re interested in the smallBIG show or catalog, contact

For more on the design and production of the smallBIG catalog, see David Stairs’ “small architecture/BIG CATALOG” post at Design-Altruism-Project.

at home with the unhoused, berlin, germany

According to the homeless man John, as posted on the Archidose blogspot in early 2004, “no matter what architects do, somebody else is doing something more interesting than architects would ever dream of.”

According to Katherin Löer, and her master’s thesis titled At Home with the Unhoused: Conversations with Man and Women Living on the Streets of Berlin,” homeless individuals in Berlin often do and create things more interesting than architects would ever dream of.  With their knowledge of the city and the ability to claim spaces, they create their home within the city context.  They use the city and what the city offers to their advantage and create their homes with what is available in the city.  They are not homeless.  For the “city users” the city becomes the home – the city home.

To tell the stories of the individuals who make the city their home, this project describes the daily routine of several individuals (with insights gained from a two-month internship) and appreciates these people for how they manage to survive somewhat independently on the streets of Berlin.  It is argued that these individuals are not future clients for architects.  Instead, it is suggested that we – architects, designers, planners, policy-makers, and others – have much to learn from those we consider to be homeless.

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(The photographs were taken by the homeless men with disposable cameras provided by Löer.)

smallBIG show, muncie, indiana

“small architecture BIG LANDSCAPES” @ The Gallery, College of Architecture and Planning, Ball State University

One billion leftover people—typically called squatters or self-builders or homeless (it’s a big category)–claim leftover spaces in cities and live in unauthorized dwellings made of scavenged, leftover materials. That’s 1 in 6 people worldwide. By 2025, two billion people globally, or 1 in 4, will be slum dwellers; by 2050, 3 billion people will live in slums or 1 out of every 3.

If you know just one of the one billion, you’ve been touched by her or his life, even if briefly and reluctantly.

Each of the works in this show is a beginning point for rethinking our attitudes about who and what we typically see as having no value while suggesting that our leftover human beings, building materials, and spaces can be seen–must be seen–as someone or something with potential.

Wes Janz is the show’s curator. He is a professor of architecture at Ball State University and founder of

Contributors to this exhibition are:


Azin Valy (New York), Chelina Odbert (Nairobi), Giulia Fiocca (Rome), Jen Toy (Nairobi), Maria Vera (Carbondale), Roberto Frangella (Buenos Aires), Rufina Wu (Hong Kong), Santiago Cirugeda (Seville), Scott Shall (Philadelphia), Shai Yeshayahu (Carbondale), and Stefan Canham (Berlin).

Ball State University

Andrew Jackson, David Vallandingham, Derek Mills, Janice Shimizu, Josh Coggeshall, Olon Dotson, Steven Lentz, Timothy Gray, and Wes Janz.

An expanded version of “small architecture BIG LANDSCAPES” was first shown at the Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute in February and March 2010. An adaptation of the show, titled “Leftovers: People, Spaces, Materials,” was exhibited at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in early 2010. Central Michigan University will host a full version of the “smallBIG” show in 2011.

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steel recycling, fort wayne, indiana

In Spring 2007, Wes Janz was an invited fellow at the Virginia Ball Center for Creative Studies where he offered the 12-credit seminar “One Small Project: Seeking Relevance in the Lives of Leftover People.As part of their field research, the class visited the Fort Wayne facility of one of North America’s largest processors of scrap metals–the OmniSource Corporation. Of particular interest were the non-union steel cutters, typically men of Hispanic origin, subcontracted through a company based in Texas, who traveled between OmniSource yards cutting large steel assemblies into smaller sections.

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