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Aging in [a] Place: Planning, Design & Spatial Justice in Aging Societies (2019)


    The United States is an aging society with growing economic inequality and socio-cultural diversity. Age-associated disadvantages, such as declining health, overlap with unequal access to healthy places, suitable housing, and other social determinants of health. These have in many cases affected people throughout life. As a result, there are vast differences in people’s experiences of late life.

    Today, public discussion and policy focuses on “aging in place” as a way to improve quality of life and reduce costs. However, in part because of socioeconomic differences and structural inequalities, not all older adults can live in or move to age-supportive communities, neighborhoods, or homes that match their values and needs. Differences in access to places to age well can take the form of spatial inequalities, such as inadequate market rate housing for older adults on fixed incomes.

    Co-sponsored by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and The Hastings Center, the symposium will apply a spatial justice lens to this challenge, asking, who has access to age-friendly communities, accessible housing to prolong independence, and sufficient funds to cover housing and care? How can planners, policymakers, designers, and citizens make progress on social inequalities among older adults through planning and design? How can the fields of medicine, public health, and planning/design work together to effect change?


    • Chris Herbert
    • Mildred Z. Solomon
    • Nancy Berlinger
    • Toni Griffin
    • Jennifer Molinsky
    • Lauren Taylor
    • Lisa Marsh Ryerson
    • Robin Lipson
    • Emily Greenfield
    • Emi Kiyota
    • Rodney Harrell
    • Reese Fayde

    See also:

    Black in Design Conference (2019)


      The Black in Design Conference, organized by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design African American Student Union (GSD AASU) recognizes the contributions of the African diaspora to the design fields and promotes discourse around the agency of the design profession to address and dismantle the institutional barriers faced by our communities.

      The 2019 Black in Design conference, “Black Futurism: Creating a More Equitable Future” explores pathways to liberation through a design lens, considering the historical past and present structural oppression of black and brown communities locally and internationally. The conference will demonstrate how designers, creatives, organizers, educators, and policymakers are imagining more sustainable and equitable futures for black and brown bodies. The conference will lead discussions and exhibitions on the intersection of black futurism and design, contending with the role of the radical imagination as we tackle complex urban problems of social and economic injustice.

      We seek to create a learning environment where participants collaborate, grappling with questions of equity and possibility, while also sharing visions for the future of black communities across the world. This environment gives agency to black and brown voices to define what a more sustainable future looks like and how we can collectively realize this vision.

      A Convergence at the Confluence of Power, Identity, and Design (2018)


        This Convergence marks the formation of a regional network of equity-focused design-centric student groups focused on re-imagining the intersection between identity and design. We hope that this event can be the start of a wide-spread dialogue about the importance of identity-based discourse in the practice and pedagogy of design of the built environment, as well as an opportunity to form a network of equity-focused design-student groups and merge these ongoing conversations in our disciplines.

        We hope to seize the opportunity to grow and merge the many individual conversations about gender and other identity-based discrimination happening in our disciplines and in our schools. The SAM list did not tell us anything we did not already know; however, it did spark broad conversation where there had been uneasy silence. The Convergence breaks that silence, and invites us to engage in a collective restructuring of the design disciplines and actively question the nature of design work as it intersects with gender and other personal identities.


        Jha D, Senior Associate, MASS Design Group

        Abby Spinak (Lecturer, UP+D, GSD)
        Sonja Dumpelmann (Assoc. Prof. of LA, GSD)
        Hansy Better Barraza (Professor, Dept. of Arch., RISD; BR+A+CE, Studio Luz Architects)
        Sai Balakrishnan (Asst. Prof. of UP, GSD)
        Andrea Merrett (PhD Cand., GSAPP; Architexx)
        Ang Li (Asst. Prof., Northeastern SoA)

        Jeana Dunlap (Loeb Fellow; Louisville Metro Redevelopment Strategies)
        Jen Grosso (SOM; Architexx)
        Jess Myers (Writer; Strategist; Editorial Consultant Here There Be Dragons Podcast)
        Peggy Deamer (Architecture Lobby; Prof. of Arch., YSoA)
        Maya Harakawa (PhD Cand., CUNY)
        Sasha Costanza-Chock (Scholar; Activist; Mediamaker; Assoc. Prof. of Civic Media, MIT)

        Stephanie Lee (Spaceus; M.Arch Cand., MIT)
        Amber N. Wiley (Asst. Prof. of Art History, Rutgers)
        Chandra Rouse (GSD AASU; MUP Cand., GSD Meral Ekincioglu Fellow, MIT)
        Teresa Gali-Izard (Arquitectura Agronomia; Assoc. Prof. of LA, GSD)
        Bryony Roberts (Bryony Roberts Studio; Visiting Prof., GSAPP)

        Toolkit for Today 2018: Activisms


          This year’s Toolkit, Activisms, focuses on the different forms that engaged practice can take for scholars of architecture. But what counts as activism? We want to explore how social and political agendas challenge and shape the disciplines that study and teach architecture. How can architectural research be mobilized in the service of society? In what ways does the academy enable or limit meaningful action?

          To discuss these questions and others, we host one researcher every evening to engage, through their work, the topics of the social production of space, decolonized pedagogy, redensified housing, gender parity, and racial politics in architecture. We invite the public to join the doctoral students in considering how their work can produce change.

          Black in Design Conference (2017)


            The Black in Design Conference, organized by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design African American Student Union (GSD AASU) recognizes the contributions of the African diaspora to the design fields and promotes discourse around the agency of the design profession to address and dismantle the institutional barriers faced by our communities.

            Building upon the Black in Design Conference in 2015, we are framing the upcoming conference across the forms of design, to unearth our agency as designers to envision more radical and equitable futures. We revealed the boundless capacity and power of a network of black and brown designers that we intend to grow through the 2017 Black in Design Conference: Designing Resistance, Building Coalitions. While the political climate we face today is tenuous, the forces of systemic injustice are not new.

            We will explore design as resistance and show how designers are advocates and activists. We will highlight the contributions made by leaders across nontraditional fields in creating spaces for actions and representations of resistance. Through this exploration, we will broaden the definition of design, understanding it through the lens of these visionaries in their work. Design is activism Design is coalition building.


            Power and the Space of the Planet (2016)


              Spanning the planet, the dynamics of climate change bind together innumerable, often incompatible categories, things, and processes. Among these are energy infrastructures, politics, nature, biological and social life, and the built and unbuilt environment. The struggles and contradictions they entail, and the powers they sustain, impose limits on our capacity to grasp their connections and to conceive alternatives.

              This event, which brings together contributors from comparably disparate domains, will explore some of those connections imaginatively and concretely, in the past, present, and possible future. It inaugurates the Buell Center’s new, long-term research project, “Power,” which extends the Center’s recent work on housing, inequality, and real estate into another dimension of the planetary commons. Where the earlier research began with an analysis of land ownership and its relation to housing and the public sphere, “Power” begins with the air circulating above that land, the energy coursing through it, and the earth below it, all in relation to the lives lived within it.


              • Phillip Wegner,
              • Ed Eigen,
              • Jeanne Haffner,
              • Paige West
              • Kim Stanley Robinson

              Black in Design Conference (2015)


                This conference has been organized to address social justice from the perspective of design, emphasizing the importance of compassion in the design ethos, and with the goal of recognizing the contributions of African descendants to the design field and, by so doing, to broaden the definition of the designer. A series of conversations including students, faculty, and invited guests will consider design at the scale of the building, neighborhood, city, region, and globe.

                Organized by the Harvard GSD African American Student Union with support from the Joint Center for Housing Studies, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, Loeb Fellowship at Harvard GSD, the Dean’s Diversity Initiative at Harvard GSD, and H-OAP

                The list of confirmed participants includes:

                Amber N. Wiley, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
                Brent Leggs, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington, DC
                Bryan Mason, AphroChic, New York, NY
                Craig L. Wilkins, University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Ann Arbor, MI
                Deanna Van Buren, FOURM, Chicago
                Euneika Rogers-Sipp, Harvard GSD Loeb Fellowship, Cambridge, MA
                Frank Christopher Lee, Johnson & Lee, Ltd., Chicago, IL
                Fred Opie, Babson College, Wellesley, MA
                Jeanine Hays, AphroChic, New York, NY
                Justin Garrett Moore, NYC Department of City Planning, New York, NY
                K. Michael Hays, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA
                Kimberly C. Driggins, Harvard GSD Loeb Fellowship, Cambridge, MA
                Liz Ogbu, Studio O, Berkeley, CA
                Maurice Cox, City of Detroit Planning Director, Detroit, MI
                Mitch McEwen, McEwen Studio, New York, NY
                Phil Freelon, Perkins+Will, The Freelon Group, Raleigh-Duram, NC

                Informing Justice: A Conversation about the Role of Design in Building Equitable Communities (2015)


                  In the wake of events in Ferguson, Staten Island, and around the country, three organizations at the Harvard Graduate School of Design will come together to host an interactive conversation about the role of urban design in social justice and equity. Sponsored by the Joint Center for Housing Studies, The Loeb Fellowship, and the African American Student Union, the event will feature a dialogue among leading design, architecture, and planning professionals, exploring the power of urban form and the responsibility of design professionals in the creation of more just communities.

                  Informal City: Design as Political Engagement Symposium (2012)


                    The AA has been very central to the evolution of ideas about the informal city and the formulation of strategies to deal with it. The AA Research Cluster on Urbanism and the Informal City has sought to give continuity to that work while focusing more specifically on architecture and urbanism as tools of political engagement in the transformation of the informal city and the social conditions associated with it. This year the Research Cluster hosted a series of events that have investigated the role of design as a generative tool in reconceptualising the challenges and potential of informality.

                    The symposium continues this exploration bringing together internationally acclaimed practitioners working directly with conditions of informality in this day of discussion and debate structured around two key themes: design as research and design as strategy. The focus of the symposium is the relevance and importance of design and spatial strategies in scaling-up to the challenges of the informal city and its articulation with the politics of creating socially inclusive cities.


                    • Alfredo Brillembourg (The founding director of Urban Think Tank (U-TT))
                    • Jose Castillo (The co-founder and principal of arquitectura 911sc, an architecture, urban design and planning practice based in Mexico City)
                    • Felipe Hernández (An architect and lecturer in architectural Design, History and Theory (Cambridge))
                    • Jorge Jauregui (An award-winning architect-urban Designer based in Brazil)
                    • Franklin Lee and Anne Save de Beaurecueil (Directors of the Brazilian architecture office SUBdV, using a mixture of high and low design technologies to generate socially and environmentally responsive geometries for architecture and urban design projects.)

                    The City: Language, Planning and Politics (2011)


                      The Architectural Association is pleased to host the 8th AHRA Research Student Symposium. The one–day event will provide a platform for PhD candidates to discuss work in progress. The Symposium’s aim is to promote critical debate among presenters, respondents and the audience.

                      The event will conclude with a lecture by Elia Zenghelis.

                      Part 1:

                      • Iris Lycourioti (University of Thessaly, N.T.U.A., Greece) – ‘Anti-Form: When is space fleeting contigency to see you?’
                      • Orsalia Dimitriou (Goldsmiths) – ‘Public/ Squatted/ Autonomous/ Municipal/ Common Space’
                      • Amir Djalali (Berlage Institute, T.U. Delft) – ‘A Grammar of Common Space’

                      Part 2:

                      • Iris Lycourioti (University of Thessaly, N.T.U.A., Greece) – ‘Anti-Form: When is Space Fleeting Contigency to See You?’
                      • Orsalia Dimitriou (Goldsmiths) – ‘Public/ Squatted/ Autonomous/ Municipal/ Common Space’
                      • Amir Djalali (Berlage Institute, T.U. Delft) – ‘A Grammar of Common Space’

                      Part 3:

                      • Maros Krivy – University of Helsinki
                      • ‘Between planning and non-planning: Use of Culture in transformation of obsolete industrial Space’
                      • Vilmos Katona- Budapest University of Technology and Economics, ‘Regionalism Reloaded’
                      • Karita Ching-Yeung Kan – Oxford University ‘Architecture of Show and Control: the spectacular and the vernacular in Chinese cities’

                      Part 4:

                      • Maria S. Guidici – Berlage Institute, The Netherlands
                        Commonplaces: Rethinking the Architecture of the Street.
                      • Eva Eylers – AA, The Modern Medical Institution and its Role within the City
                      • Ross Adams – London Consortium,
                        ‘Validad’ and the Total State: Theological Foundations in the Construction of Liberal Universality

                      Part 5: