Environmental Justice

On December 10th, the programs will discuss how although the Climate Crisis impacts all of us, lower-income communities and communities of color disproportionately bear the brunt of environmental hazards and toxins threatening public health. Designers have a lot they can contribute through projects and advocacy to create more justice in environmental impacts. Join us for a keynote program presented by Antoine Bryant, the new director of Planning and Development for the City of Detroit. Bryant previously served as business development and project manager for architecture firm Moody Nolan in Houston, where he worked on projects in historic African-American neighborhoods.

12:00 p.m. - 12:15 p.m. 

12:15 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Session 1: Revisiting The Commons
Speaker: Kofi Boone
Credits: 1 AIA LU
Program Description: The twin pandemics of 2020 (the racial reckoning, and the COVID 19 epidemic) forced critical reflection on the past and present of built environment professions. Numerous systemic inequities enabled by the design of places and infrastructure were revealed resulting in disparities in public health resources, access to information and technology, and many other areas. In the case of Black communities, these disparities have fueled a renewed focus on mutual aid, cooperation, and collective action to fill gaps in community resources. This presentation presents the idea of “The Commons” as a framework that could alter ways in which equitable practices landscape architecture and environmental planning, especially with Black communities. Although not a uniquely Black cultural phenomenon, Commoning has been a hallmark of Black landscapes historically including cooperatives and community land trusts to enable labor, land, and property rights. Digital versions of commoning emerged during the twin pandemics and helped people remain connected and leverage dispersed resources. Moving forward, a focus in landscape architecture on developing knowledge and tools to enable commoning could increase the equitable impacts of our work. This presentation contributes to learning about health, safety, and welfare in the landscape.

1:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Session 2: Designing a Green New Deal in the Mississippi Delta
Speakers: Al-Jalil Dameon Gault & Asha Bazil (U Penn GND Studio)
Credits: Coming soon!
Program Description: This presentation will review two years of scholarship for designing a Green New Deal in the Mississippi Delta. We will trace the evolutions of racialized extraction in the Delta region, illustrating how the carceral, fossil fuel, and industrial agriculture systems interact to maintain their profitability through exploited labor and land. Then, we hope to reveal alternative futures of abundance in though care, recognition, and justice. Designers are not bystanders and must take responsibility for creating more fulfilling and just environmental futures.

2:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.

2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Session 3: Cause For Environmental Justice
Speakers: Fauzia Sadiq Garcia (Temple U) & Michael Miller (Olin)
Credits: 1 AIA LU (HSW)
Program Description: Philadelphians know the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) oil refinery site along the Lower Schuylkill, but are unaware that this site has been affecting the health of local communities for many generations. Currently, more than 113,000 residents living within 1 mile from the refinery’s property line, a community populated largely by lower income households and communities of color. On June 21st, 2019, there was a massive explosion at the refinery that ultimately shuttered PES, and the site was acquired in bankruptcy court by Hilco Redevelopment Partners. This is the biggest redevelopment parcel and most challenging development for the city and it has to be done right since there’s too much at stake for the city and local community.

3:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Keynote: Detroit Is Moving
Speaker: Antoine Bryant (City of Detriot)
Credits: Coming soon!
Program Description: Detroit is synonymous in many ways with the American Midwest, as well as considered the center of the US automobile industry. However, several decades of disinvestment, white flight, and aging infrastructure have left residents with underresourced, as well as susceptible to the unpredictable nature of climate change. However, a renewed focus on strategic planning, collaboration across municipal departments, and resident engagement are moving Detroit in a new, progressive direction.