Divided: Can planning communication diminish contested spaces in an era of contemporary populism?

Can planning communication diminish contested spaces in an era of contemporary populism? Please join us for a special event, sponsered by the Ross Silberberg Memorial Fund. The event will include, live music and a panel discussion by guests Richard Parker, Suzanne Morse Moomaw, Karen Abrams, and Ceasar McDowell. The event is open to the community and we ask you to RSVP online

Richard Parker is a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, Senior Fellow of the Shorenstein Center, cofounder of Mother Jones magazine, and Editorial Chair of The Nation. As an author, editor, publisher, professor, and senior observer, Mr. Parker will reflect on America from its founding, especially considering how today’s geographic divisions date back to the settlement of this nation.

Suzanne Morse Moomaw is Associate Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning and Director of the Community Design Research Center at UVA’s School of Architecture. She also has had a distinguished career in the nonprofit and philanthropic worlds She has spent a career working to bring design and planning to places disrupted or overlooked, and she trains students to work in the nation’s often forgotten rural and former industrial communities.

Karen Abrams, is Community and Diversity Affairs manager at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, will underscore the importance of public involvement and community development, especially in vulnerable urban communities. She collaborates with residents on urban planning and design projects and helps neighborhood groups build social capital and financial capacity. She has a BS in African and African American Studies and a Master of Science in Sustainable Systems.

Ceasar McDowell is Professor of the Practice of Community Development at MIT. He holds an Ed.D. (88) and M.Ed. (84) from Harvard.. Ceasar's current work is on the development of community knowledge systems and civic engagement. Drawing from his practice, he will address the importance of communication among and across communities that are currently at odds.

This event is generously supported by the Ross Silberberg (1990) Memorial Fund, which supports student research travel grants and a bi-annual lecture in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at MIT to explore the interaction of design and social justice. Ross Silberberg was an architect, urban designer, and educator who had the soul and intellect of a city planner. He was deeply committed to issues of economic and social justice and believed all designers and planners have a responsibility to improve lives by speaking out, paying attention, and advocating for those whose voices are overwhelmed or dismissed by our systems of power and commerce. Through his decade of teaching, writing, and research he instilled in his students and colleagues the importance of listening, whether the message is welcome or not. Never one to back away from contentious issues and difficult conversations, he made a professional commitment to inclusivity and dialogue, and he took a broad view of the practice of design that is at the core of the purpose of this Memorial Fund.