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Zoom Webinars 12:00-1:00 pm ET



Recordings will be made available after the presentation. 

September 15, 2021

Theresa Williamson presents: Rethinking the Future of Housing Worldwide: Favelas as a Sustainable Model

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Informal settlements, such as Rio de Janeiro's favelas, are not new and they’re not rare. Today, one in three people in cities lives in an informal settlement and 85 percent of all housing worldwide is built illegally. By 2050, nearly a third of humanity will live in urban informal settlements. How can we value informal settlements around the world and integrate them on their own terms into our urban planning practices? Could this search lead to a sustainable urban future? This talk will introduce strategies employed by grassroots NGO Catalytic Communities, in over twenty years supporting Asset-Based Community Development together with Rio de Janeiro favela organizers. 

Theresa Williamson, Ph.D. is a city planner and founding executive director of Catalytic Communities, an NGO working to support Rio de Janeiro’s favelas through asset-based community development. CatComm publishes RioOnWatch, an award-winning local-to-global favela news platform, and coordinates the Sustainable Favela Network and Favela Community Land Trust programs. In 2020 she helped launch the Covid-19 in Favelas Unified Dashboard crowdsourced data initiative. Theresa is an advocate for the recognition of the favelas’ heritage status and their residents’ right to be treated as equal citizens. She received the 2018 American Society of Rio prize for her contributions to the city and the 2012 NAHRO Award for her contributions to the international housing debate. Theresa has many publications including multiple book chapters and four op-eds in The New York Times. She has been cited in hundreds of publications and television. Previously she received the 2005 Gill-Chin Lim Award for Best Dissertation on International Planning and CatComm received the 2006 Tech Museum Award for technology benefiting humanity. Dr. Williamson earned her B.A. in Biological Anthropology from Swarthmore College and PhD in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

September 22, 2021

Pascale Joassart-Marcelli presents: Contested Geographies of Food, Ethnicity, and Gentrification

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This talk will focus primarily on her new book (The $16 Taco) and her ongoing research on food and gentrification in San Diego and other cities. 

Pascale Joassart-Marcelli is professor of Geography and director of the Urban Studies and Food Studies programs at San Diego State University. She earned a PhD in Political Economy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California. Her research and teaching focus on urban poverty and social justice, with a particular interest in urban geographies of food. Pascale’s work emphasizes the role of food in sustaining immigrant communities, providing economic opportunities, and revitalizing low-income neighborhoods and draws attention to the relationship between food and gentrification. It builds on her earlier research on the informal economy and new immigrants' labor geographies. She works closely with several community-based organizations that are working towards creating a more just, healthy, and sustainable food system for San Diego. Pascale has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, one monograph (The $16 Taco), and two edited volumes (Food and Place and Informal Work in Developed Nations) and has written a Food Geographies textbook that will be released in a few months. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

September 29, 2021

Kofi Boone presents: The Commons: Land, property, information, and landscape agency

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The twin pandemics of 2020 (the racial reckoning, and the COVID 19 epidemic) forced critical
reflection on the past and present of built environment professions. Numerous systemic
inequities enabled by the design of places and infrastructure were revealed resulting in
disparities in public health resources, access to information and technology, and many other
areas. In the case of Black communities, these disparities have fueled a renewed focus on
mutual aid, cooperation, and collective action to fill gaps in community resources.

This presentation presents the idea of “The Commons” as a framework that could alter ways in
which equitable practices landscape architecture and environmental planning, especially with
Black communities. Although not a uniquely Black cultural phenomenon, Commoning has been
a hallmark of Black landscapes historically including cooperatives and community land trusts to
enable labor, land, and property rights. Digital versions of commoning emerged during the twin
pandemics and helped people remain connected and leverage dispersed resources. Moving
forward, a focus in landscape architecture on developing knowledge and tools to enable
commoning could increase the equitable impacts of our work.

Kofi Boone, FASLA is a Joseph D. Moore Distinguished Professor and University Faculty Scholar in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning at NC State University. Kofi is a Detroit native and a graduate of the University of Michigan (BSNR 1992, MLA 1995). His work is in the overlap between landscape architecture and environmental justice with specializations in democratic design, digital media, and interpreting cultural landscapes. Kofi’s teaching and professional work have earned awards including student and professional ASLA awards. He serves on the Board of Directors of The Corps Network, The Black Land Loss Prevention Project, as well as the Landscape Architecture Foundation where he is President-Elect. Kofi serves on the advisory board of The Black Landscape Architects Network.  He has published work broadly in peer reviewed as well as popular media.

October 6, 2021

Melissa Peters presents: The New Rules of (Planning) Engagement: Restructuring planning processes to ensureinclusive decision-making and equitable outcomes

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Public participation in the local planning and development process has not been representative of the broader community. Conventional planning processes amplify the voices of the privileged few and exacerbate social inequities. Local governments and planners have an ethical obligation to ensure processes are inclusive and equitable. This presentation will discuss concrete examples of how planners can critically examine land use policy and public engagement tools to ensure inclusive decision-making and equitable outcomes. The talk will highlight case studies from Cambridge, MA, including the recently passed Affordable Housing Overlay and the City’s Community Engagement Team, as ways to change the rules of engagement for a more equitable future.

Melissa Peters, AICP, is the Director of Community Planning for the Community Development Department at the City of Cambridge, MA. In her position, she manages a group of planners and urban designers responsible for long-range planning, with a focus on comprehensive, neighborhood, and open space planning. Melissa previously worked for CDM Smith in Chicago and Boston developing comprehensive, neighborhood, sustainability, and climate change plans for municipalities nationwide. She is an award-winning and passionate planner skilled in creating integrated urban solutions that balance goals of diverse planning disciplines.

October 13, 2021

Jessica Omukuti presents: Climate action in the Global South: is net zero (sufficiently) inclusive?

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Following the Paris Agreement goals of limiting temperature increase to 2 degrees by 2050 through reduction and balancing of emissions, net zero has recently become a framing concept for global climate action. Different actors, including governments, businesses and civil society have started adopting net zero as a framing concept for climate action.  In this talk and building on her work on inclusivity in net zero and climate finance, Jessica will explore the evolution of the net zero framing to date, particularly focusing on the Global South. She will also discuss why and how climate justice, equity and inclusion should be an integral part of policy discussions on net zero. 

Jessica Omukuti is a Research Fellow on Inclusive Net Zero for the Oxford Net Zero Initiative and is based at the Institute of Science Innovation and Technology (InSIS). Her work involves engaging with actors in the Global South to outline what Net Zero means and Inclusivity can be embedded into Net Zero policies and practices in the Global South.


Jessica is also an ESRC COP26 fellow based at the University of York. Her research focuses on delivery of climate finance for adaptation to climate change, specifically using the Green Climate Fund as a case study.


Jessica’s research expertise is on climate justice and equity, climate finance, climate change adaptation and just transitions in the Global South. She holds a PhD in climate justice and climate finance from the University of Reading (2020), an MSc in Climate Change and Development from the University of Sussex and a BSc in Meteorology from the University of Nairobi.


She is a climate advisor at CHOOOSE, which is a Carbon Offsets company based in Norway. Jessica is also a Book Review Editor for Progress in Development Studies.


She has previously worked at the Green Climate Fund which is an international climate finance institution. She has also worked in NGOs such as Mercy Corps and CARE International in sub-Saharan Africa where she led development and resilience programs in the region.

October 20, 2021

Jay Pitter presents: Resisting Invisible Woman 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.

October 27, 2021

Marccus D Hendricks presents: Unequal Protection Revisited: Planning for Environmental Justice, Hazard Vulnerability, and Critical Infrastructure in Communities of Color

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The impact of hazard exposures such as stormwater runoff is rarely evenly felt across a community. Neighborhoods of color, particularly of low-wealth, will often face worse stormwater problems especially in the era of climate change with more frequent and intense stormwater runoff. Dr. Marccus Hendricks will discuss the equity and environmental justice issues related to stormwater infrastructure planning that result in vulnerable systems leading to everyday challenges in stormwater and more extreme urban flooding. Specifically, he will examine conceptual frameworks and contextualize what it means for physical systems to operate in a social world. He will also describe several ongoing studies where he investigates the inventory, condition, capacity, and distribution patterns of stormwater systems, along the lines of race, ethnicity, and income, at the neighborhood-level. Furthermore, as part of ongoing resilience efforts for catastrophic flood events, he will discuss opportunities at “leveling the landscape” in marginalized areas by planning for adaptations that integrate justice and participation into the redevelopment of community spaces. 

Marccus D. Hendricks is an Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and the Director of the Stormwater Infrastructure Resilience and Justice (SIRJ) Lab at the University of Maryland. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Science and a Master of Public Health, both from Texas A&M University. To date, he has primarily worked to understand how social processes and development patterns create hazardous human-built environments, vulnerable infrastructure, and the related risks in urban stormwater management and flooding. Other work has focused on technological risks, namely fertilizer explosions, and cascading events such as wet-weather events that overwhelm sanitary sewers and cause contamination, overflows, and household backups. His work emphasizes participation and action that uses methods including photography, visual inspection and environmental sampling. Hendricks has received two early-career awards from both the National Academies of Science Gulf Research Program and The JPB Environmental Health Fellows Program at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. More recently, he was named as a 2021 “Fixer” by the media company Grist for their annual Grist 50 Fixer list and has been appointed to Springer Nature’s US Research Advisory Council, the U.S. EPA’s Science Advisory Board, and as an author on the human social systems chapter of the Fifth National Climate Assessment.

November 3, 2021

Charles T. Brown presents: Arrested Mobility: Exploring the Impacts of Over-Policing Black Mobility in the U.S.

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This presentation will examine how the collective racialized forces of over-policing (i.e., policy, planning, law enforcement/policing, and polity) Black physical mobility in the US lead to adverse social, political, economic, and health outcomes that are intergenerational and widespread. This presentation will surgically examine the ways in which our approaches to research, planning, policy, and design can and must be reimagined to achieve greater mobility, health, and safety for Black Americans.

Charles T. Brown is the founder and principal of Equitable Cities, a minority- and veteran-owned urban planning, public policy and research firm focused at the intersection of transportation, health and equity. He is also an adjunct professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

Charles is an award-winning expert in planning and policy and has been interviewed by several notable outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, VICE and Bloomberg CityLab. He is highly regarded as a keynote speaker and leads workshops on transportation, health and equity for audiences worldwide.

Charles previously served as a senior researcher with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, where he authored several groundbreaking national and local studies that redefined how experts analyze the role of race and racism in transportation and mobility. In 2020, Charles was part of the inaugural class of the Public Voices Fellowship on the Climate Crisis, which is managed by the Yale School of the Environment.

November 10, 2021

Isabelle Anguelovski and James Connolly present: The Green City and Social Injustice: Tales from North America and Europe

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In this presentation, we introduce our recent book The Green City and Social Injustice, which examines the recent urban environmental trajectory of twenty-one cities in Europe and North America over a 20 year period. We analyse the circumstances under which greening interventions can create a new set of inequalities for socially vulnerable residents while also failing to eliminate other environmental risks and impacts. Based on fieldwork in ten countries, and on analysis of core planning, policy, and activist documents and data, our analysis offers a critical view of the growing green planning orthodoxy in the Global North.

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Isabelle 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.


James is codirector of BCNUEJ, a BCNUEJ Affiliated Researcher and Assistant Professor of Community and Regional Planning at the University of British Columbia. Previously he was Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Northeastern University and obtained a PhD in Urban Planning from Columbia University where his research was supported by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. His research explores how urban planning and policy serve as an arena for resolving social-ecological conflicts in cities – a key dimension of making cities green and just. He believes that a key challenge faced by cities today is ensuring that the goals of social equity and ecological health are considered in tandem and not traded off against one another.

His research examines green gentrification, urban environmental stewardship and land use politics, particularly the dynamics of coalition building across community development and mainstream environmental coalitions. He is interested in the spatial and political structure of institutions that shape urban environmental land use policy and how these are changed, and explores new applications of spatial analytic techniques for understanding urban socio-environmental processes. He has published widely in academic books and journals.

November 17, 2021

Kian Goh presents: From Urban Resilience to Climate Justice

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Kian Goh speaks about her new book Form and Flow: The Spatial Politics of Urban Resilience and Climate Justice (MIT Press 2021). The book examines the politics around climate change response strategies in three cities and the mobilization of grassroots activists to fight the perceived injustices and oversights of these plans. Goh explores initiatives such as Rebuild By Design in New York, the Giant Sea Wall masterplan in Jakarta, and Rotterdam Climate Proof, and discovers competing narratives, including community resiliency in Brooklyn and grassroots activism in the informal “kampungs” of Jakarta. Looking through the lenses of urban design and socioecological spatial politics, she reveals how contested visions of the future city are produced and gain power. Goh describes, on the one hand, a growing global network of urban environmental planning organizations intertwined with capitalist urban development, and, on the other, social movements that themselves often harness the power of networks. She reframes the critical concerns of urban climate change responses, presenting a sociospatial typology of urban adaptation and considering the notion of a “just” resilience.

Kian Goh is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Associate Faculty Director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy. She researches urban ecological design, spatial politics, and social mobilization in the context of climate change and global urbanization. Dr. Goh’s current research investigates the spatial politics of urban climate change responses, with fieldwork sites in cities in North America, Southeast Asia, and Europe. More broadly, her research interests include urban theory, urban design, environmental planning, and urban political ecology. As a professional architect, she cofounded design firm SUPER-INTERESTING! and has practiced with Weiss/Manfredi and MVRDV. She received a PhD in Urban and Environmental Planning from MIT, and a Master of Architecture from Yale University. Dr. Goh is the author of the book Form and Flow: The Spatial Politics of Urban Resilience and Climate Justice (MIT Press 2021). Other recent publications include articles in Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Journal of the American Planning Association, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Urban Studies, and Annals of the American Association of Geographers.

December 8, 2021

Vivek Shandas presents: Fahrenheit 911: Heat, Cities, and Climate Literacy from the Ground Up 

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 This presentation will examine differential climate-induced impacts on urban residents, including those who have been historically marginalized from decision making processes.

Vivek Shandas is a Professor of Climate Adaptation and Founding Director of the Sustaining Urban Places Research Lab (SUPR Lab) at Portland State University. Working as an interdisciplinary scholar, Professor Shandas examines the assumptions that guide decisions about the built environment and uses spatial analytical tools and policy evaluations as a means for identifying socially inequitable outcomes in the era of climate destabilization. During his spare time Professor Shandas serves as Chair of the City of Portland's Urban Forestry Commission, serves on several national and local advisory boards, and revels in the mountains and waters of the Pacific Northwest.

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