In 2018, architect, urban planner activist and urban farmer Michael Madfis launched the Fort Lauderdale-based nonprofit Civic Engagement Corporation.
“Too often the community gets left behind in the process of urban planning,” says Madfis. “The purpose of this initiative is to reconnect people with place through hands-on historical, environmental and social justice educational initiatives led by community members.”
Madfis closed his architecture firm after 25 years in 2010, after being declared legally blind with just 2% of his field of vision remaining. This shift came a year after he launched urban farming project Broward County Food Systems Cooperative, in which he leveraged his urban planning and architecture skills and connections to cultivate sustainable urban gardens and food forests in Miramar, Dania Beach, and Fort Lauderdale in collaboration with other nonprofits and community organizations. The Civic Engagement Corporation is deeply rooted in this genre of grassroots organizing and ecology, committed to inclusion and empowerment of the 250,000 visually impaired people in Broward County.
Pedestrian mobility is a fundamental vehicle of the nonprofits’ impact on community cohesion in Fort Lauderdale. Getting people out of their cars and onto the street is essential for street-level retail businesses and interpersonal engagement. It is also the best suited pace for local history, environmental, and social justice education, with slow mindful movement through the spaces often taken for granted. Madfis sees the blind as the perfect ambassadors to bring mindful observation and education to the public. Already, the Civic Engagement Corporation has put this into process through a series of educational walking tours led by blind tour guides, including an Urban Walking Tour and a Brewery Tour.
The nonprofit’s newest project takes this a step further: a blind-accessible geocaching game installation in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. The game centers around five murals painted on public buildings with adjacent tactile displays along the sidewalk to describe the images. The installation will include audio direction cues and an accompanying smartphone app with an audio description and explanation of each mural narrated by a blind storyteller. Clues for the game are hidden in the artwork and accompanying tactile and audio elements, and players will be able to leave their own marks on the game for others to stumble across. The artwork will tell the story of Fort Lauderdale channeled through the Hero’s Journey, with local characters and stories integrated into the game, bringing history to life. At the same time, this installation will create pedestrian movement, interaction, and economic activity for the area, and bring the blind people of Broward County out of isolation and into the community.
The Civic Engagement Corporation is currently seeking out local artists and storytellers to come together and share their visions and ideas for the display, as well as community members who have pieces of local history, stories, and characters to share. The nonprofit is also seeking local videographers to document the project’s entire development process for social media so that other communities can be inspired by and recreate this project.
To be a part of this geocaching initiative, schedule a walking tour, or otherwise get involved with the Civic Engagement Corporation, visit www.civicengagementcorporation.org.
Company Name: Civic engagement Corporation LLC
Contact Person: Michael Madfis
Email: Send Email
Phone: 954 854 8788
Address:673 Northeast 3rd Avenue #312
City: Fort Lauderdale
State: Florida 33304
Country: United States