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Zoom Webinars Noon-1:00 pm
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Recordings will be made available after the presentation. 

Septemeber 23, 2020

SPA Housing Panel Housing is a Human Right: Leaders in the housing justice movement will discuss housing policy and organizing prior to COVID-19 and in the current pandemic. (Click here to view the recording.)

Moderator, Nick Pittman, UEP 2020, will guide Lisa Owens, Executive Director of City Life/Vida Urbana, Meridith Levy, Executive Director, Boston Neighborhood Community Land Trust, and Sharon Cho Project Manager and Keuhn Fellow at Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation in a discussion of housing during and post COVID-19.

Lisa Owens, Executive Director, City Life/Vida Urbana

Lisa Owens is the Executive Director of the housing justice organization City Life/Vida Urbana, which builds the power and leadership of working-class communities, particularly communities of color, to work for social, racial, economic and gender justice. Our work is to stop the displacement of working-class communities through “the sword” (community organizing and public pressure), “the shield” (coordinated legal defense), and "the offer" (community ownership of land and housing). At City Life, she actively fights for bold tenant protection policies and the expansion of anti-displacement community land trusts in Massachusetts. Lisa has been actively involved in building grassroots organizations and supporting emerging leaders for over 25 years. A seasoned popular educator, she also teaches courses on structural racism, social welfare policy, participatory action research, and leading social justice nonprofit organizations. Lisa serves on the boards of several organizations connected to community control of land and housing, including the Boston Neighborhood Community Land Trust, Alternatives for Community and Environment, the Right to the City/Homes for All National Alliance, and the Right to the City Boston network.

Meridith Levy, Executive Director, Boston Neighborhood Community Land Trust

Meridith Levy joined BNCLT in January 2020 as BNCLT’s Executive Director. She brings 20 years of experience from the community development sector, with a background in community organizing and planning, and organizational management-- focusing on social and economic equity, anti-displacement, and land use. Meridith began her organizing career in Minnesota using the Community Reinvestment Act to hold banks accountable to family farmers. She led numerous community planning initiatives and organizing campaigns in Fitchburg, MA and Somerville, MA, helping to win passage of Somerville’s Community Preservation Act; increased Inclusionary Zoning to 20%; and establishment of Somerville’s Jobs Linkage Fee. As Deputy Director of Somerville Community Corporation from 2013-2020, Meridith helped create and oversee SCC’s First Source Jobs Program and the Social Equity Campaign. Meridith studied emerging approaches to community capital and finance as a LISC Rubinger Fellow in 2018. She is excited to be a part of the BNCLT team to help build grassroots power and explore creative acquisition strategies for housing justice through the CLT model. She possesses a MA and MS from Tufts University: Urban and Environmental Policy and Agriculture, Food and the Environment.

Sharon Cho, Project Manager and Keuhn Fellow at Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation

Sharon joins Dorchester Bay’s real estate team as the new Kuehn Fellow. In her capacity, she supports several aspects of the real estate development process such as assembling applications for project financing, coordinating permitting and zoning approvals, and managing construction closings. Prior to Dorchester Bay, Sharon worked at the Coalition for Occupied Homes in Foreclosure (COHIF) where she managed occupied rehab projects in Dorchester and facilitated the organization’s transition into a community land trust (CLT). She also worked at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) where she coordinated the local network of community land trusts and advocated for citywide policies that supported the expansion of CLTs.Sharon received her B.A. in American Studies and International Relations from Tufts University and is completing her M.A. in Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy from Tufts.

October 7, 2020

Kristen Jeffers, The Black Urbanist Presents A Journey to A Black Queer Feminist Urbanist Ethic and Practice 

(Click here to view recording.)


Kristen Jeffers will walk you through how she's built her practice and ethic over the past decade and what she's brought from her childhood and early professional career to create this ethic. She will also provide you tools as you decide how to build your own practice and ethic as planners.

Kristen E. Jeffers (she/her)  is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Black Urbanist multimedia platform, as well as an author, textile artist and designer, urban planner and activist.  She holds a Master of Public Affairs focused on community and economic development from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and a Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in public relations from North Carolina State University. She has presented at the annual gatherings of the Congress for New Urbanism, YIMBYTown, Walk Bike Places, CityWorksXpo, APA Virginia, NACTO and to communities around the US and Canada, using her personal story to illustrate what land use and planning really means and really does, plus encourage practitioners, both young and old in best practices. She is a Streetsblog Network member and has also contributed articles to CityLabGreater Greater Washington, [Greensboro] News & RecordYes! WeeklyGristNext CityBetter! Towns and Cities, Triad City Beat,  Urban Escapee, and Urbanful and appeared on several NPR affiliate stations as a commentator and expert.

October 14, 2020

Damien White, Presents Labor Centered Eco-Design? Should the Green New Deal champion a design politics for labor, a design
politics by labor or a design politics with labor?

(Click here to view recording)

This talk wrestles with the tensions and insights that can emerge when we draw together design and environmental labor studies into conversation. If design has long been closely allied with fulfilling the needs of capital, we argue that there have been some remarkable moments in the history of design where socialists, anarchists, feminists, environmentalist, post and decolonial activists, scholars and citizens have proposed stunning visions for how our worlds could be redesigned for more worker friendly and sustainable futures. Across these radical manifestations of design politics critical issues have remained concerning questions around whose labor should be acknowledged and recognized when we speak of a “politics of design” and relatedly how we should conceptualize the relations between designers (however defined) and publics (however, they are defined). We will conclude by exploring the extent to which recent calls for design to play a central role in moving the Green New Deal forward might allow greater alignment between struggles for industrial democracy, design democracy, just transitions and climate justice.

Damian White is Dean of Liberal Arts and Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. He has published four books to date: Bookchin-A Critical Appraisal (Pluto Press, UK/University of Michigan Press USA, 2008),Technonatures: Environments, Technologies, Spaces and Places in the Twenty-First Century (Wilfred Laurier Press, 2009), Autonomy, Solidarity, Possibility: The Colin Ward Reader (AK Press, 2011). The Environment, Nature and Social Theory: Hybrid Approaches (Palgrave Macmillian, 2015)  He is presently working on a book project called Climate Futures, Design and the Just Transition.

October 21, 2020

Dr. Dean Sattia Presents Intercultural Urbanism: Lessons from Prehistory

(Click here to view recording)

(Click here to listen to audio)


Intercultural Urbanism is an approach to city building that is sensitive to cultural and sub-cultural differences in how people make and use built space.  As recent events confirm, planning for cultural, ethnic, and racial diversity is a key challenge facing cities in the 21st century. This talk describes a relatively untapped source of knowledge about planning for diversity: the 6000-year history of city building that predates the era of modern urban planning. Archeological investigation of cities in this time period is steadily increasing our understanding of how a broad cross-section of human populations experience urban social and built environments. It offers ideas about how to design public space, distribute cultural amenities, and organize neighborhoods in ways that accommodate diversity.  The talk briefly reviews findings from a wide variety of ancient cities in the Old and New Worlds.


Dean Saitta is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Director of the Urban Studies program at the University of Denver.  His research and teaching interests are in urban anthropology, comparative urban form and monumentality, the political economy and ideology of built environments, and North American prehistoric and historic archaeology.  He has conducted field research on town planning among the 13th century ancestral Zuni people of west-central New Mexico, and on ethnic co-residence and spatial organization at the Ludlow Tent Colony, a “White City” of canvas tents occupied by immigrant coal miners during 1913-1914 Colorado Coal Field Strike.  The Ludlow research was externally funded by the Colorado Historical Society and culminated, in 2009, with the designation of the striker’s camp as a National Historical Landmark.  In 1998 Dr. Saitta earned the University Scholar-Teacher of the Year award, and from 2000-2003 he served as University Professor of Social Science. He is co-author of Denver: An Archaeological History, which traces the history of Denver from the area’s earliest occupation by Native Americans up to its 19th century founding as an “Instant City” oriented toward gold mining and railroading.  Dr. Saitta has lectured and served as an outside juror for student design projects at the University of Colorado’s School of Architecture and Planning.  He is creator of the academic blog Intercultural Urbanism, and is a featured contributor to the public interest urban planning website Planetizen. Dr. Saitta’s new book is called Intercultural Urbanism: City Planning from the Ancient World to the Modern Day (Zed Books/Bloomsbury). It explores issues facing the contemporary city from a comparative perspective informed by archaeological, evolutionary, and ethnographic knowledge.

November 11, 2020

Daniel Aldana-Cohen Presents Follow the Carbon: Housing and Climate Change in the Age of the Green New Deal

(Click here to view recording)

In Follow the Carbon, I will argue that carbon is the decisive material shaping human social life, and I will use qualitative and quantitative research to suggest ways that critical social science can integrate carbon emissions into research on political contestation over urban climate politics. I will draw on fieldwork conducted in São Paulo and New York on low-carbon policy and housing politics. I will detail how actors’ divergent understandings of carbon emissions shape the ways that they connect environmental, social, and economic policy projects. I will show carbon footprint data produced in collaboration with environmental economist Kevin Ummeland health researcher Nick Graetz. And I will sketch how I have brought some of this work into the Green New Deal policy process, with a reflection on the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act proposed by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Sanders in November 2019; I led the research for their bill.

Daniel Aldana Cohen is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he directs the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2, and co-directs the climate + community project. In 2018-19, he was a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He is the co-author of A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green Deal (Verso 2019), which received glowing reviews in The New York Review of Books, Foreign Policy, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Science for the People, and elsewhere. The book will be published in Brazilian Portuguese by Autonomia Literária in Fall 2020. He is currently completing a book project called Street Fight: Climate Change and Inequality in the 21st Century City, under contract with Princeton University Press.


He works on the politics of climate change, investigating the intersections of climate change, housing, political economy, social movements, and inequalities of race and class in the United States and Brazil. As Director of (SC)2, he is leading qualitative and quantitative research projects on Whole Community Climate Mapping, green political economy, and eco-apartheid. He was also co-founder and co-PI of the Superstorm Research Lab, in New York City. 


His research and writing have appeared in Nature; Environmental Politics; Public Culture; The International Journal of Urban and Regional Research; City: Analysis of Urban Change, Theory, Action; NACLA Report on the Americas; The Century Foundation; The Guardian; The Nation; Jacobin; Dissent; and elsewhere. He is the co-editor of a special issue of the NACLA Report on the Americas, A Green New Deal for the Americas: Mobilizing for Climate Justice from Above and Below.


He is also mobilizing collaborative research for Green New Deal policy development in partnership with social movements and progressive elected officials in the United States and Brazil. He led the research for the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act introduced in Congress by Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. And he serves on the policy team for People’s Action’s Homes Guarantee campaign. 


He has been cited for his research and public engagement in The Washington Post, Bloomberg, Vox, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Huffington Post, Energy & Environment News, Gizmodo, and elsewhere.

December 9, 2020

Kate Raworth Presents Doughnut Economics Scaled to the City 

(Click here to view recording)/ (Listen to the audio recording here)

Kate Raworth is an economist focused on making economics fit for the 21st century. Her book Doughnut Economics: seven ways to think like a 21st century economist is an international bestseller that has been translated into 18 languages, and was long-listed for the 2017 Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year award. She is co-founder of Doughnut Economics Action Lab, working with cities, business, communities and educators to bring about transformation. She teaches at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute and is Professor of Practice at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

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