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In the face of persistent social inequities worldwide, how can architects make a meaningful contribution? Housing’s primary position in our lives, economies, and the built environment makes it a natural site of intervention in the complex fight against systemic injustices. Bringing together contemporary international and New York examples, plus a look at architects’ historic role in housing betterment, this program examines how housing projects, and the design processes behind them, can be interventions towards greater social equity. The event also marks the launch of the volume of Architectural Design (AD) of the same title.

Cynthia Barton, former Housing Recovery Program Manager, NYC Emergency Management Department
Julie Behrens, Founder, Project Urbanista
Deborah Gans, FAIA, Principal, GANS studio
Karen Kubey, Guest-Editor, Housing as Intervention: Architecture towards Social Equity (Architectural Design/Wiley)
Kaja Kühl, Principal, youarethecity
Matthew Gordon Lasner, Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Hunter College

Dr. Sharon E. Sutton, FAIA, Visiting Professor, Parsons School of Design; Adjunct Professor, Columbia University; Professor Emerita, University of Washington; Author, When the Ivory Towers Were Black

Cynthia Barton is an expert in disaster planning, recovery, and mitigation, particularly for urban areas. Her disaster-relief work includes post-earthquake housing in India with Shigeru Ban. She most recently served as the housing recovery program manager at the NYC Management Department, where she oversaw the design and construction of a prototype for urban post-disaster housing. She holds a Master of Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture and is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center residency; the AIA Arthur N. Tuttle Jr. Fellowship; and a Fulbright Fellowship in Architectural History.

Julie Behrens is Director of Housing Development at Services for the Undeserved (S:US), a non-profit housing and homeless services provider that controls more than 140 buildings in New York City. She is also the founder and principal of Project Urbanista, an affordable housing finance practice specializing in housing for homeless and other vulnerable New Yorkers. Behrens is an adjunct instructor at Columbia University and New School for Public Engagement where she teaches courses on urban migration and housing development.

Deborah Gans is principal of GANS studio and a full professor at Pratt Institute, both in Brooklyn. Much of her built work and research focuses on issues of environmental, economic, and conflict-induced displacement, from community-based plans in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and housing for New York City post-Superstorm Sandy, to speculative projects on the planning of refugee camps. Current projects include workforce houses for Sag Harbor, Long Island and an addition to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. Her work is widely published and exhibited and includes the US Pavilion for the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Karen Kubey is an urbanist and architectural educator specializing in housing and health. She co-founded the Architecture for Humanity New York chapter (now Open Architecture/New York) and New Housing New York; she was also the first executive director of the Institute for Public Architecture. Kubey served as guest-editor for the current volume of Architectural Design (AD), Housing as Intervention: Architecture towards Social Equity, and has recently collaborated with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the New York City Housing Authority. Trained as an architect at the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University, Kubey began her career in affordable housing design. She is a visiting associate professor at Pratt Institute and has received support from the New York State Council on the Arts and The MacDowell Colony.

Kaja Kühl is the founder and principal of youarethecity, an urban research, design, and planning practice in New York that strives to make cities more livable together with their inhabitants. She is an adjunct associate professor and research scholar at Columbia University, where she directs the Hudson Valley Initiative and teaches studios and courses on urban design, planning and her research on spaces of migration.

Matthew Gordon Lasner is an associate professor of urban studies and planning at Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY). He is the author of High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century (Yale University Press, 2012), a history of the ownership of flats in the US, and co-editor of Affordable Housing in New York: The Places, People, and Policies That Transformed a City (Princeton University Press, 2015). His research explores the production of space with a focus on the relationship between housing patterns and urban and suburban form. He is currently writing a book entitled Bay Area Urbanism: Architecture, Real Estate, and Progressive Community Planning in Postwar America.

Sharon E. Sutton is a public scholar who advocates for participatory planning and design processes in disenfranchised communities. Sutton was the twelfth African American woman to be licensed to practice architecture, the first to be promoted to full professor of architecture, and the second to be elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects. Her latest book, When Ivory Towers Were Black, describes the nation’s boldest recruitment of minority architecture and planning students during the Civil Rights Movement. Currently, Sutton is visiting professor at Parsons School of Design, adjunct professor at Columbia University and professor emerita at the University of Washington.

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Organized by
AIANY Housing Committee
  • Sponsored by
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