SPRING 2021 CITIES@TUFTS COLLOQUIUM SERIES
Zoom Webinars Noon-1:00 pm
Recordings will be made available after the presentation.
February 3, 2021
Isabelle Anguelovski presents: From green privilege to green gentrification: Environmental justice vs White Supremacy in the 21st century American and European city
Video recording available here
Large cities worldwide are increasingly deploying urban greening interventions to address socio-environmental and health challenges and harness widespread benefits for citizens, industries, and investors. While new parks, green adaptation infrastructure, or urban greenways (among others) promote city efforts to replicate green infrastructure through a city and create a new urban green brand, I argue that few of them begin with an equity lens and include concrete measures against white supremacy and towards for ensuring that greening solutions benefit residents and communities who are historically vulnerable to environmental racism and/or displacement. For the most part, there is an implicit assumption of “green” trickle-down effects spreading to benefit all. I illustrate this argument by examining--in North America and Europe --the extent to which urban greening creates equity in accessing the benefits of urban nature projects or, in contrast, perpetuates or produces urban inequities through processes of green privilege and green gentrification.
Isabelle Anguelovski is the director of BCNUEJ, an ICREA Research Professor, a Senior Researcher and Principal Investigator at ICTA and coordinator of the research group Healthy Cities and Environmental Justice at IMIM. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Studies from Science Po Lille and a Master’s in International Development at the Université de Paris 1 Sorbonne, pursued a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management at Harvard University and obtained a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning from MIT before returning to Europe in 2011 with a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship.
As part of collaborative and individual international research projects, she studies how environmental injustice is materialized and contested. Currently, her focus is on four main research areas: 1) The politics of the green city as a growing global planning orthodoxy; 2) The social and racial manifestations and impacts of green gentrification for historically marginalized residents; 3) Urban planning for health and wellbeing, with a focus on health equity and justice; and 4) Justice and inclusivity in climate adaptation planning, including distributional and procedural insecurities produced by adaptation plans, interventions, and land use configurations and regulations.
February 10, 2021
Jayne Engle presents: Sacred Civics: What would it mean to build seven generation cities?
We're collectively experiencing an epochal moment when humanity and the earth face unprecedented existential challenges. How can we value what matters for the common good and transcend dominant city-making paradigms in this context? A sacred civics invites us to recognize the spiritual and sacred dimensions in people and cities, and to imagine reshaping our settlements as life-centered places, where local residents build regenerative economies in relationship with nature, and where we rise to be our best selves, for the good of current and future generations. How might we redefine and build infrastructure for an urban recovery that addresses the reality and possibilities?
Dr. Jayne Engle leads Cities for People, an initiative of the McConnell Foundation in Montreal, Canada, which fosters inclusive urban innovation for equitable and regenerative cities. Cities for People aims to increase equality; strengthen the city as a commons; and enable city change labs, explorations and transformation networks. Prior to McConnell, Jayne co-founded or ran various multi-sectoral work in Canada, the US, Eastern and Western Europe and Haiti in areas of urban participatory regeneration, policy innovation, collaborative governance and post-disaster social change.
February 17, 2021
Greg Watson presents: Organizing for Food Sovereignty in Boston: A Personal History
Boston Urban Gardeners (BUG) was established in 1976 as a voluntary association of community leaders and garden organizers from the South End, Roxbury and Jamaica Plain driven by the belief that "urban gardening contributes significantly to good mental health and nutrition, urban neighborhood vitality, aesthetics, and environmental enhancement."BUG was my introduction to community organizing. Volunteering there made me aware of the power of food/gardening as a means of organizing people across a broad range of ages, races and ethnicity. It inspired my later work at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative
Greg Watson is Director of Policy and Systems Design at the Schumacher Center for a New Economics. His work currently focuses on community food systems and an initiative to improve global systems literacy informed by a reimagining of Bucky Fuller’s World Game Workshop. Greg has spent over 40 years learning to understand systems thinking as inspired by Buckminster Fuller and to apply that understanding to achieve a just and sustainable world. He has served on the board of the Buckminster Fuller Institute and as a juror for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge. In 1978 he organized a network of urban farmers’ markets in the Greater Boston Metropolitan Area. He served as Commissioner of Agriculture in Massachusetts from 1990 to 1993 and again from 2012 to 2014 when he launched a statewide urban agriculture grants program. Greg gained hands-on experience in organic farming, aquaculture, wind-energy technology, and passive solar design at theNew Alchemy Institute on Cape Cod, first as Education Director and later as Executive Director. There he led the effort to create the Cape & Islands Self Reliance energy cooperative. He served four years as Executive Director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, a multicultural grassroots organizing and planning organization where he initiated one of the nation’s first urban agriculture projects (anchored by a 10,000 square foot commercial greenhouse).
Greg was the first Executive Director of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (now the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center). In 2005 he coordinated the drafting of “A Framework for Offshore Wind Energy Development in the United States” and the following year founded the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative. Watson was part of the team that landed the National Wind Technology Testing Center in Massachusetts. He served on President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Department of Energy transition team in 2008.
In 2015 he founded the Cuba-U.S. Agroecology Network (CUSAN) following a trip to Cuba to learn about its agroecology system. CUSAN links small farmers and sustainable farm organizations in both countries to share information and provide mutual support.
March 3, 2021
Setha Low presents: From Spatializing Culture to Social Justice and Public Space: A Journey from Research to Action
In this presentation I trace my journey from the ethnographic study of the Latin American plaza and the development of the theory of spatializing culture to becoming a public space and social justice activist. I concentrate on the methodologies and research experiences that transformed my professional practices and the theoretical insights along the way. I conclude with a brief presentation of the Toolkit for the Ethnographic Study of Space that brings together all of these themes.
Professor Setha Low is Distinguished Professor of Environmental Psychology, Geography, Anthropology, and Women’s Studies, and Director of the Public Space Research Group at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley and currently trains Ph.D. students in the anthropology of space and place, urban anthropology, the politics of public space, the social production of the built environment affect and emotion, and anthropology of the body. She has been awarded a Getty Fellowship, a NEH fellowship, a Fulbright Senior Fellowship, a Future of Places Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowshipfor her ethnographic research on public space in Latin America and the United States. Setha is widely published and internationally recognized and translated for her award winning books on public space and cultural diversity. Her most recent publications are Spatializing Culture: The Ethnography of Space and Place (2017), Anthropology and the City (2019), and Spaces of Security (with M. Maguire) (2019). This spring (2019) she undertook staff training on public space and social justice at UN Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya and lectured on the public space and civic life at the Strelka Institute in Moscow, Russia. Her commitment is to both research and engagement to create a more just and inclusive city.
March 10, 2021
*POSTPONED* Jay Pitter presents: Exploring Invisible Women Syndrome
Space is gendered. Domestic space, associated with nurturing and child-rearing, was conceived as a women’s space. And the city, comprising of spaces and places that support mobility, adventure and economic growth, was conceived for men. This bias has created spatial and systemic barriers for all women and gender diverse individuals, especially those between the ages of forty and sixty. Exploring Invisible Women Syndrome will broadly define this phenomenon and then use spatial feminism and intersectionality frameworks to uncover how this impacts women’s access to public green spaces, recreational facilities, transit and local networks.
Jay Pitter, MES, is an award-winning placemaker whose practice mitigates growing divides in cities across North America. She spearheads institutional city-building projects specializing in public space design and policy, forgotten densities, mobility equity, gender-responsive design, inclusive public engagement and healing fraught sites. What distinguishes Jay is her multidisciplinary approach, located at the nexus of urban design and social equity, which translates community insights and aspirations into the built environment. Ms. Pitter also makes significant contributions to urbanism theory and discourse. She has developed an equitable planning certificate course with the University of Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture and taught a graduatelevel urban planning course at Ryerson University, among others. Jay also delivers keynote addresses for entities such as the United Nations Women and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She is the co-editor of Subdivided: City-Building in an Age of Hyper-Diversity, and her forthcoming book, Where We Live, will be published in 2021. Ms. Pitter is currently the John Bousfield Distinguished Visitor in Planning at the University of Toronto.
March 31, 2021
Anne Beamish presents: A Garden in the Street: The Introduction of Street Trees in Boston and New York
When James Stuart declared in 1771 that “a garden in a street is not less absurd than a street in a garden,” he was right. It did seem like a ridiculous idea. Tree roots broke up pavements and sewers, falling leaves clogged an already inadequate drainage system, and worst of all, they were fire hazards. But within thirty years this attitude had completely reversed in America. Because of new ideas about urban beauty and ornamentation; new medical theories about how trees could help prevent disease and epidemics; and the introduction of fire insurance, street trees became an urban necessity, not an absurdity.
Dr. Anne Beamish is an associate professor of landscape architecture at Kansas State University in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning. Her research and teaching interests focus on urban landscape history, the design of public space, and the history of innovative ideas, technologies, and policies that have transformed the landscape. Current research projects include: the history of nighttime and public street lighting; the evolution of the Boston Common from a utilitarian space to treasured park; American pleasure gardens, and the cultural life of trees.
She received a B.Arch. degree from Carleton University in Ottawa Canada, as well as an M.S. in Architecture Studies, Master of City Planning degree, and Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In addition to Kansas State University, she has taught in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin; the College of Design at the Wentworth Institute of Technology; and the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT. At K-State she teaches site design studio, history of landscape architecture, and research methods.
Recent publications include: “Rational Entertainment and Instructive Amusement: Philadelphia’s Nineteenth-Century Urban Pleasure Gardens” Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. 2020; “Venerable Relic: The Great Elm on Boston Common.” Arboricultural Journal. 2017; and “Enjoyment in the Night: Discovering Leisure in Philadelphia’s Eighteenth Century Rural Pleasure Gardens.” Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes. 2015. Current articles under review are: “Before Parks: Public Space in 17th and 18th century Boston, New York, and Philadelphia,” “Riding on Foot: The Moving Sidewalk and the Future of U.S. Transit,” and “A Much Abused Tree: The Rise and Fall of the Lombardy Poplar.”
April 7, 2021
Sheila Foster presents: The Co-Cities Project
Professor Foster will discuss her forthcoming book "Co-Cities," based in part on a survey of public policies and projects in cities around the world as part of a decade-long investigation into the ways that urban commons—collectively shared and collaboratively stewarded resources—can be created and sustained in different political, social, and economic environments. The Co-Cities project offers a set of “design principles” that can help position cities and city space as a “commons”—a shared infrastructure on which a variety of urban actors can collaborate and where various initiatives of collective action can emerge, flourish, and become sustainable.
Sheila R. Foster is the Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Urban Law and Policy at Georgetown University. She holds a joint appointment with the Law School and the McCourt School of Public Policy. Prior to teaching at Georgetown, Professor Foster taught at Fordham University where she co-directed the Fordham Urban Law Center and was a founder of the Fordham University Urban Consortium.
Professor Foster’s work focuses on the intersection of law, policy, and governance with a specific focus on urban communities and cities. She is one of the leading scholars on environmental justice and is the co-author of one of the field’s seminal books, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement (NYU Press). Her work in that field was recently recognized by the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law’s 2018 Senior Scholarship Award. Her other work is published in top law journals including Yale, Berkeley, Harvard, and Notre Dame, among others.
Her most recent work explores local development and urban governance through the lens of the “commons” as set forth in her article The City as a Commons, Yale Law and Policy Review (2016) and her forthcoming MIT Press Book, Co-Cities (both with C. Iaione). She is also co-editor (with C. Swiney) of the forthcoming Cambridge Handbook on Innovations in Commons Scholarship (Cambridge University Press).
Foster has applied her framework of the city as a commons through LabGov, an international applied research project that she co-directs with Christian Iaione. LabGov works directly with local governments and local communities on experimental projects and policies that enable city residents to co-create and steward land, digital, and other resources within their communities. Past and present LabGov projects include working in Bologna, Rome, Amsterdam, Harlem/NYC, San Jose Costa Rica, Sao Paolo, and Baton Rouge.
Foster has been at the forefront of other urban policy and governance innovations, serving as the chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors advisory committee, a member of the New York City’s Mayors Panel on Climate Change, and an advisory board member of the Marron Institute for Urban Management at NYU.
April 14, 2021
Kurt Kohlstedt presents: The Past, Present, and Future State of Cities
Kurt Kohlstedt writes articles and tells stories at 99pi in addition to managing the website and coming up with wacky episode titles. He recently co-authored The 99% Invisible City, a field guide to the hidden world of everyday design, with show host Roman Mars. Kurt studied philosophy at Carleton College before pursuing a graduate degree in architecture at the University of Washington, Seattle. He also likes to tweet about urbanism, architecture, and raccoons.