URBAN FUTURES

THE 2017-2018 JOHN W. ALTMAN PROGRAM IN THE HUMANITIES

Cathy Wagner and Luis I. Prádanos, Altman Fellows

For the first time in human history, urban areas are home to more than half the world's population. Most of the urgent problems of our age—economic and racial tension, terrorism, environmental degradation, food and energy insecurity, and unequal education—are related to and mediated by the urban. Cities have faced such challenges for millennia. Among the oldest and most important human creations, they are both monuments to the human desire for peaceful coexistence and flashpoints of social conflict. For all their steel and concrete, cities are also products of human imagination—not only the visions of architects and engineers but the ideas of their dwellers and visitors. 

This is a crucial time to rethink urban paradigms. If humanity is to survive its urban futures, the metabolism of the city—its infrastructure, its flows of services and people, its relations and borders—must change to nurture, rather than deplete, the systems it inhabits. The 2017–18 Altman Program invites faculty, students, alumni, and community members to join distinguished visiting scholars for a transdisciplinary examination of the ideas and practices that scaffold our cities. How do philosophical, cultural, and historical narratives shape the material realities of urbanity? And what urban models and cultures can enable a socially just and ecologically viable future?  


Neil Brenner 
Professor of Urban Theory, Harvard School of Design
“Is the Future Urban?”
Thursday, September 7, 5 p.m.
Shriver Center Dolibois Room

Saskia Sassen
Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
“Who Owns the City?”
Tuesday, Sept 19, 5 p.m.
Shriver Center Dolibois Room

Teju Cole
Award-winning author
“Open City"
Monday, October 9, 7 pm
Wilkes Theater, Armstrong Center

Alison Isenberg
Professor of History, Princeton University
"Designs on the City: Gender and Urban Renewal in San Francisco”
Wednesday, October 25, 5 p.m.
Shriver Center Dolibois Room

Andrew Ross
Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University
“Plan for the Best or Anticipate the Worst? From Sustainability to Resilience"
Wednesday, November 8, 5 p.m.
Shriver Center Dolibois Room

AbdouMaliq Simone
Professor of Sociology and Urbanism, Goldsmiths College, University of London and Research Professor at the Max Planck Institute, Berlin
“Before the Future Disappears: Southeast Asian Cities"
Thursday, February 22, 5 p.m.
Armstrong Center Pavilion A

Teddy Cruz
Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism at the University of California, San Diego
and Fonna Foreman
Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego
“Cross-Border Citizens”
Thursday, March 8, 5 p.m.
Armstrong Center Pavilion B

The 2017-18 Altman Symposium: Urban Futures
Featuring Altman faculty and students and two keynote lectures
Thursday, April 5 –  Friday, April 6
Marcum Center
 
Keynote Lectures: 
 
Miguel Robles-Durán
Associate Professor of Urbanism at the Parsons School of Design at the New School 
“A Theory of Parallel Urbanization”
 
Susan Larson
Charles B. Qualia Endowed Professor in Romance Languages at Texas Tech University
“Trash, Recycling, and Urban Culture in Contemporary Madrid”
 
 
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