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Lecture Series 2014

2014 Spring Lecture Series, Resilient Cities


The AIA Baltimore Lecture Series committee is pleased to announce that the 2014 Lecture Series will examine the resilient city. The resilient city is a material and social construct being built both from the top-down and the bottom-up. It is flexible, incorporating feedback loops with rapid responses to dynamic conditions. It is smart, harnessing insights from ever-expanding reserves of quantitative and qualitative data. It is inclusive, transcending social and cultural boundaries through new models of engagement. This lecture series is exploring the resilient city--a city that truly allows people to thrive amidst uncertainty.


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March 12@ [MICA] --- Mindy Fullilove, Columbia University

 On March 12, we will commence this year’s Spring lecture series by introducing Dr. Mindy Fullilove, who is neither an architect, nor an urban planner. Fullilove is a public health psychiatrist from New York City who has devoted the majority of her career to studying the correlation between mental health and the environment. Her wealth of knowledge about urban design and renewal is sought-after by cities engaging in urban renewal. Having studied a range of negative and positive city-centric conditions in relation to the built environment, Fullilove is a pivotal speaker to begin a discourse on resilience in Baltimore.

 Fullilove’s research spawned from her interest in the AIDS epidemic, which alerted her to a connection between the disease and the victim’s location of residence. This link between public health and the surrounding environment has been the basis of her research ever since. As of late, Fullilove’s collection of written work has grown to include six books, the most recent being Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities. Urban Alchemy poses questions about the relationship between divided neighborhoods and public health problems, as well as how city design can address both architectural and social issues. By referencing poignant case studies and successful urban restoration projects, Fullilove writes about nine tools we can use to reunite our communities and heal our fractured cities.

Though Urban Alchemy is her newest book, Fullilove is perhaps most well-known for her book Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It. In addition to the book, she started a website to maintain a continual dialogue about the phenomenon. An excerpt from the website defines root shock as "the traumatic stress reaction to the loss of some or all of one’s emotional ecosystem. Root shock can follow natural disaster, development-induced displacement, war, and changes that play out slowly such as those that accompany gentrification.”

Ultimately, what draws us to Dr. Mindy Fullilove is her vision of overcoming obstacles by simultaneously investigating the architectural and social constructs of an issue. Her unique perspective as a public health psychiatrist only adds to the intrigue. We have a great responsibility as designers to remain multi-faceted and well-informed. By engaging a wide range of experts, we hope to continue this revolving pursuit to ask questions, absorb knowledge, and form new ideas.