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Beyond Resilience

Actions for a Just Metropolis

New Orleans, Ninth Ward, after Hurricane Katrina, courtesy George Frantz Cataclysmic events across North America and throughout the world such as Hurricane Sandy lay bare the ongoing crises in low-income communities: unemployment, foreclosures, homelessness, and service cutbacks. During the storm, historic patterns of racial discrimination isolated the most vulnerable while wealthier, better-connected residents had the privilege of mobility. Traditional planning is partially responsible for these injustices. However, community-based organizations and activist networks are mobilizing, networking, and filling the gaps left by the failure of local and federal responses. This organizing continues beyond simple resilience, toward building a more just collective future.

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June 6-8, 2013 in New York City, a progressive, practice-based planning conference explored these alternatives to urban development and planning practice. At this conference, planners, architects, designers, activists, and neighborhood advocates came together to exchange ideas and perspectives to promote alternative, more sustainable, and just ways of preserving and developing the metropolis. Conference program included:

  • Thursday night screening of the acclaimed documentary, “My Brooklyn,” and a discussion with the filmmaker.
  • Friday daytime dialogue and tours with community groups and residents at a choice of mobile community workshops.
  • Friday night kick-off party at Pratt Brooklyn’s historic Higgins Hall--a celebration of justice and action!
  • A full Saturday of diverse conference panels, interactive workshops, and plenaries.
  • Conference wrap up Saturday evening with a performance by Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping.

Featured presenters included:

  • John Davis, Burlington Associates
  • Mindy Fullilove, NY State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University
  • Rachel LaForest, Right to the City Alliance
  • Erminia Maricato, University of São Paolo
  • Peter Marcuse, Columbia University
  • Marla Nelson, University of New Orleans
  • Miguel Robles-Durán, Parsons/New School
  • Nancy Romer, Brooklyn Food Coalition<
  • Tony Schuman, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Aixa Torres, Smith Houses Resident Association
  • And dozens more!


Header photo and Coney Island photos courtesy Rebecca Crimins. New Orleans Ward 9 after Katrina courtesy George Frantz.