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The case of Freedom City

Ιn the philanthropic work of Ford Foundation is observed its close relation and perception of labor. Over the years Ford has supported projects whose presented philanthropy is based on different practices of organized labor, closely connected to vocational training of people in need, to create productive citizens or rather the skilled workforce needed to meet the evolving needs of the businesses. It is noted that Ford usually funds Self-Help housing projects, an act that tries to face poverty around the world by providing a method for mass construction of houses, based on “Self-Help housing manuals”. Ford’s attention to manpower reveals its desire to spread a vision for an industrial political economy. The project investigates Freedom City, a Self-Help housing project that Ford Foundation-funded, along with other institutions and organizations. In July 1966 Freedom City was formed in 400 acres of land in Wayside, Mississippi, by ninety-four displaced African American families that had turned into plantation refugees due to the rise of new agricultural technologies. An act of community development hoped to be an exemplary model for struggling black people, thus eliminating poverty and inequality. The vision for a self-sufficient community didn’t flourish and the project stopped in 1973 without significant results. As an intervention, a renegotiation of the Freedom City is proposed. A diagrammatic map unfolds of how Freedom City could have been developed over time if it hadn’t failed. A more loose system of articulation, border definition, fund redirection, and program reorganization is being suggested. Houses formed in groups function as a “core”. Around them, the communal entities of outdoor living, outdoor showering, and outdoor dining are formed. In the middle, a zone of leisure activities appears. The rest of the space is used for gardening. The activities are being separated into productive and non-productive, with the most non -productive prevailing. The project is seen as an attempt for community development based not on labor but on self-determination, sharing, freedom of spaces, leisure, and flexibility for unexpected events to occur.