In this issue, we explore Women + Design by highlighting women designers, how design impacts women, and how equity, diversity, and inclusion learnings can improve the profession and the built environment. 

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July 7, 2020
Chapter News

Listening & Learning #BLM

By Urban Design Committee

We at AIA Philadelphia Urban Design Committee have been listening, learning, and re-considering our programming for this summer in light of the historical events that have impacted our city. To begin, we would like to reflect on the work we did in previous years on gentrification, and how racial inequality has literally and physically manifested in the urban and suburban space of American cities. We would also like to highlight some events about gentrification. In the future, we will be sharing a new series featuring black lives in urban space, so please stay tuned.

In the Fall 2018 issue of Context Magazine, we provided a review of How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood, by P.E. Moskowitz. Written by a journalist, this book enlivens dry, academic theories with stories from real people and their real struggles with the impact of gentrification. You can read our book review HERE.

In conjunction with reading How to Kill a City, our co-chair Sophia Lee undertook some more personal research into gentrification. This research is published in a blog series, For Whom Cities Grow. In her words: “These articles will read with an academic voice, they may be dense and pretty long, but they are written with passion and a careful consideration to the subject matter. Consider this a very humble opinion piece and contribution to the ongoing larger conversation.” You can read this blog HERE.

We would like to highlight upcoming events that are relevant. Please consider attending the ULI Philadelphia event featuring a conversation with Richard Rothstein, the author of The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. This is likely the most well-known and well-respected book chronicling the history behind gentrification in America.

From the event page: “Rothstein refutes the common notion that housing segregation in the United States is the result of millions of individual private choices and instead proves with exacting precision and fascinating insight how it is the byproduct of a century of explicit racist government policies at the local, state, and federal levels. The impact has been devastating, denying generations of African Americans the constitutional right to live where they wanted, the right to raise and school their children where they thought best, and the opportunity that whites were afforded to build generational wealth through home ownership.” This virtual event will be held on Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 11:00am-12:30pm. You can sign up at THIS LINK, and there is also a link to purchase a discounted (and signed!) copy of the book.

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