Hazelwood Exhibit:
I Lived, We Live: What Did We Miss?

exhibition, experience design   |   spring 2017


Hazelwood, PA is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh that over the years, has experienced urban violence and poverty,  a systemic loss due to the lost steel industry and divestiture from institutions and the society. Partnering with Hazelwood community leader Pastor Tim Smith from the Center of Life, the Carnegie Mellon Design Class of 2017, led by professors Kristin Hughes and Dylan Vitone, created this exhibit as a space to honor and mourn the lives that were lost, to understand and discuss the systemic issues, and to celebrate the aspirations of community members as well as Hazelwood's vibrant history and identity.


About the exhibition

I Lived, We Live: What Did We Miss?

There is no good reason to bury a child. There is no justification for why this unnatural act has become normal in Hazelwood. Here, we recognize the countless individuals who have felt the pain of saying goodbye to loved ones whose lives were cut short by street violence. Their stories of loss encourage us to share our own, and through this exchange, we take part in something bigger than ourselves. We become a community empowered by our vulnerability, strengthened from our compassion, and engaged with the issues that matter to us.

This exhibit describes the journey of Hazelwood and asks us how we have arrived to a world with such systemic loss. We question the larger forces in our society, as we strive to find peace in our personal histories. We look for opportunities for positive change, and recognize the power of this community many people call home: Hazelwood.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
New sanctuary at Center of Life Honors Hazelwood's Loved, Lost
Powerful Memorial to Young Lives Lost

Pittsburgh NPR 90.5
For Those Lost To Violence, Hazelwood Exhibit Celebrates The Futures That Could Have Been

Carnegie Mellon University
Capstone Design Project Explores Evolution of Pittsburgh Community


5 spaces of exhibition

Spaces We Shared

A community cannot grow without spaces to call its own. Although Hazelwood used to be a thriving neighborhood, it lost countless resources like schools, grocery stores, and jobs when the steel mills closed. Neighborhood treasures like ice cream shops and community swimming pools are now fading memories. By looking at artifacts from Hazelwood’s past, we reflect on what this neighborhood used to be.


Together We Remember

There are times when it is difficult to remember the loss of our loved ones because the pain is too great. However, when we can voice our grief to others, suddenly we are no longer alone. The countless individual stories of young lives cut short in Hazelwood build a larger narrative of urban street violence. Coming together over this shared experience creates a system for support and healing.


Systems We See

As Americans, we are promised the rights of freedom, justice, and equality. But how are these rights fulfilled if communities struggle to put food on the table and keep their children safe? Battling systemic issues like poverty, racial inequality, and urban violence starts with open eyes and honest conversations.


Aspirations We Hold

The people of Hazelwood are living and breathing stories of inspiration and resilience. From Olympic medalists to entrepreneurs, the community is filled with champions of hard work and talent. However, amongst these bright stars are also quieter voices whose stories of compassion and determination remain untold.


United We Will

Hazelwood is a beautiful mosaic made up of unique individuals who each play a role in the community. Whether they are artists, activists, leaders, role models, or supporters, these people all share the desire to contribute to something bigger than themselves. Through the years, Hazelwood’s strength has rested on its ability to come together in difficult times.



Documentary of the project

Produced by design student Jillian Nelson