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Spring 2024

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January 24th
Jess Myers presents Here There Be Dragons: Urban Research Methods

In this talk, Myers will discuss her eight years working on the research, design, and production of the urbanism podcast Here There Be Dragons. HTBD starts with residents first and seeks to forefront methods from the social sciences as crucial techniques in the analysis of the built environment. The podcast covers one city per season. Myers has sat down with residents in New York, Paris, and Stockholm to discuss what inspires their feelings of belonging and tension in their cities. Through these interviews HTBD traces a post occupancy study of urban policy, design decisions, and social attitudes.


JESS MYERS is an urbanist and assistant professor of architecture at Syracuse University whose practice includes work as an editor, writer, podcaster, and curator. In the past, Jess has worked in diverse roles—archivist, analyst, teacher—within cultural practices that include Bernard Tschumi Architects, the Service Employees International Union, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Rhode Island School for Design. Her research engages sound and multimedia platforms as a means to explore politics and residency in urban conditions. Her podcast Here There Be Dragons takes an in-depth look at the impact of security narratives on urban planning through the eyes of city residents in New York, Paris, and Stockholm. Her work can be found in Urban Omnibus, The Architect’s Newspaper, Log, l’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, Avery Review, The Architectural Review, Places, Dwell, and the Funambulist Magazine. Her 2022 exhibition, A Pause Is Not A Break, was recently on “view” in Providence Rhode Island, Ames, Iowa, and Ottawa, Canada.

February 7th

Maya Singhal presents How to Fight a Mega-Jail

In 2017, New York City committed to a plan to close Rikers Island Jail Complex and build four smaller jails around the city in Manhattan’s Chinatown, Downtown Brooklyn, Mott Haven in the Bronx, and Kew Gardens in Queens. The Chinatown jail is planned to be built on the site of the current jail in the neighborhood, but rather than repurposing or remodeling the building, the city plans to demolish it and build a 300-foot mega-jail, which would be the tallest jail in the world. The fight against the new Chinatown jail has drawn together a diverse coalition concerned about the effects of the jail on the Chinatown population and the predominantly Black and Latine populations incarcerated inside it. This talk explores how concerned groups are working to bridge their differences and develop strategies to fight the new jail construction.

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Maya Singhal is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. They completed their PhD in Anthropology at Harvard University, and they also hold MA degrees from the University of Chicago and New York University and a BA from NYU. Singhal’s research is interested broadly in how people navigate violence across generations. More specifically, their recent work deals with crime, capital, and mutual aid in African and Chinese diasporic populations. Singhal’s current book project is an ethnographic and historical study of African American and Chinese American self- and community defense in New York City and the histories of extralegal neighborhood protection (e.g. gangs, neighborhood patrols and associations, etc.) that inform these present-day efforts towards safety.

February 28th

A Colloquium with Dr. Mark Roseland

Details coming soon!

March 27th

Karin Bradley presents How Local Gov Can Use Grassroots Initiatives for Sustainability Transitions

In cities across the world grassroots initiatives organize alternative forms of provisioning, e.g. food sharing networks, energy cooperatives and repair cafés. Some of these are recognized by local governments as engines in sustainability transitions. In this talk, I will discuss different ways that local governments interact with, and use, such grassroots initiatives, drawing from case studies in Berlin and Gothenburg. An argument will be made for that we need to reconsider what municipal infrastructure should entail, i.e. not only the traditional infrastructure for transport and waste but also new infrastructure for repairing and sharing.


Karin Bradley is Professor of Urban and Regional Studies at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. Her research concerns planning and policy for sustainability transitions, the role of civil society, alternative economies and justice aspects of transitions. She has been the co-director of the eight-year research programme Mistra Sustainable Consumption – from niche to mainstream that engages researchers from different disciplines as well as municipalities, civil society organizations, companies and national authorities in Sweden. She has had several assignments for the Swedish government, including leading a public inquiry on the sharing economy.

Her publications include “Community repair in the circular economy: Fixing more than stuff” (2022, with Ola Persson), “In search of sufficiency politics: The case of Sweden” (2021, with Åsa Callmer) and “Planning for sharing: Providing Infrastructure for citizens to be makers and sharers” (2017, with Anna Hult).

April 10th

Eden Kincaid presents Consuming the Creative City: Gastrodevelopment in a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy

Scholars have recently coined the term “gastrodevelopment” to refer to the leveraging of food culture as a resource and strategy of economic development. Drawing on a case study of Tucson, Arizona – the United States’ first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy – I use the lens of gastrodevelopment to examine how food culture is transformed into a form of symbolic capital that animates a broader project of urban development. I show how this transformation encodes differentials of value that are racialized and racializing and risk contributing to Tucson’s uneven urban geographies. I then turn to community visions of food-based development to imagine alternative trajectories for the project of gastrodevelopment.

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Dr. Eden Kinkaid (they/them) is a human geographer and social scientist whose work focuses on themes of sustainable and equitable food and agricultural systems, place, race, and development. They have researched these themes in north India and in the U.S. Southwest. In addition to this line of research, they publish on topics of feminist, queer, and trans geographies, geographic theory, creative geographies, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in academia. Their work has been published in Urban Geography, Progress in Human Geography, Transactions of the British Institute of Geographers, The Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Environment and Planning D, and various other journals and books. Eden has served as an editor at Gender, Place, and Culture, The Graduate Journal of Food Studies, and you are here: the journal of creative geography. You can learn more about their work on their website or by following them on social media @queergeog on Twitter, Instagram, and Bluesky.

May 1st

 Esther Charlesworth presents Architects Without Frontiers: A Journey from Divided Cities to Zones of Fragility

This event is co-hosted by Boston Urban SalonCities@Tufts, and Shareablewith support from Barr Foundation. 

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Professor Esther Charlesworth works in the School of Architecture and Design at RMIT

University, where in 2016 she founded the Master of Disaster, Design, and Development

degree [MoDDD] and the Humanitarian Architecture Research Bureau [HARB]. MoDDD is

one of the few degrees globally, enabling mid-career designers to transition their careers into

the international development, disaster and urban resilience sectors. Esther is also the founding Director of Architects without Frontiers [AWF] while also being one of the original founders of Architectes Sans Frontières [ASF] International. AWF is the largest design not-for-profit in the Asia Pacific region. Since 2010, AWF has undertaken 63 health, education, and social infrastructure projects in 15 countries for vulnerable communities and has been described by ABC journalist Phillip Adams as ‘destined to develop into one of the greater forces of good on this battered planet’. Charlesworth has worked in the public and private sectors of architecture and urban design in Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Boston and Beirut since graduating with a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design [MAUD] from Harvard University in 1995. In 2004 she was awarded her PhD from the University of York (UK). In 2020, Esther received a Membership of the Order of Australia (AM), one of the highest civilian awards in Australia, for ‘significant service to architecture, to education, and to the community of the Asia Pacific region’.She has published eight books on the theme of social justice and architecture, including, ‘Divided Cities’ (2011), from a research project funded by the Macarthur Foundation in 1999; ‘Humanitarian Architecture’ (2014) ‘Sustainable Housing Reconstruction’ (2015) and ‘Design for Fragility’ (2022).

All colloquia are held via Zoom webinar from 12:00-1:00 pm ET

Recordings will be made available after the presentation

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