Iconic Planned Communities in the age of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 7 - 8:30pm
ZOOM Session
Iconic Planned Communities and Portland's Good Life book covers

Sponsored by the Latrobe Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, Washington D.C. 

Presenting twenty-three case studies located on six continents, Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change, edited by Mary Corbin Sies, Isabelle Gournay and Robert Freestone (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), documents worldwide efforts to translate optimal design into sustaining a common life that works for changing circumstances and new generations of residents. The twenty-three essayists, drawing upon historical research and practical on-the-ground considerations, conclude that preservation efforts succeed best when they build upon foundational planning principles, address landscape, architecture, and local culture together, and respect the spirit of place. 


This event is free but advance registration is required to participate.



In this roundtable webinar, which will be moderated by Jeremy Wells (associate professor of Historic Preservation, University of Maryland) we convene four of the authors to discuss what they have learned about “critical resilience” --a concept the editors used to frame this international anthology—in iconic planning communities during this year of pandemic and worldwide reckoning with racial injustice. 

Mary Corbin Sies is an associate professor of American Studies and an affiliate of the Historic Preservation Program at the University of Maryland. She is an expert on American suburbs and a member of the Lakeland Digital Archive Initiative, a Black digital humanities community/university collaboration with the Lakeland Community Heritage Project in College Park, MD. Mary Sies will reflect on what she has learned about critical resilience in light of the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and structural racism. 

Until Covid confined her in leafy Greenbelt, where she sits on the city's Advisory Planning Board, Isabelle Gournay (emerita, Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park) split her time between this New Deal community and her home town of Paris, France. She will revisit issues of collective memory and grassroots stewardship, place-making and genius loci, with a final note on affordable housing, by referring to case studies discussed in Iconic Planned Communities and to Parisian cités-jardins 

Ángel David Nieves is Professor of Africana Studies, History, and Digital Humanities and Director of Public Humanities at Northeastern University. He is the author of An Architecture of Education: African American Women Design the New South (2018). Nieves has also completed a new volume in the Debates in the Digital Humanities Series (w/Senier & McGrail), People, Practice, Power: Digital Humanities Outside the Center (forthcoming, 2021). Nieves will discuss the ways in which Soweto, Johannesburg represents varying forms of resilience given its long and difficult history impacted by apartheid-era city planning policies and efforts to celebrate the liberation struggle through heritage development projects beginning in 1994. 

Bruce Stephenson is a planning consultant and a professor at Rollins College. His 2015 biography, John Nolen, Landscape Architect and City Planner, won the JB Jackson book award. His recent work appeared in Iconic Planned Communities and the Challenge of Change, the Classicist, and Planning. His presentation will be drawn from his latest book, Portland’s Good Life: Sustainability and Hope in an American City, due out this spring. 

Additional Information

Internal Speaker / Exhibitor
External Speaker / Exhibitor
Ángel David Nieves
Bruce Stephenson

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