MRP Alum Awarded Planner of the Year by Northern New England APA Chapter

headshot with natural backdrop

Kate McCarthy. photo / Vermont Natural Resources Council

Kate McCarthy M.R.P. ’10 was named Planner of the Year by the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA) at its annual conference in November.

McCarthy is the Sustainable Communities Program Director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, a non-profit environmental advocacy group in Montpelier, Vermont. In the program, her work focuses on strategies to achieve sustainable and compact community building and to provide provisional services to these communities, including transportation, housing, and employment accessibility.

In addition to this recognition by the local APA chapter, in 2018 McCarthy was featured in Vermont Business Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars, which aims to recognize young leaders in Vermont for their professional experience and contribution to business growth in their respective communities. As an M.R.P. student, McCarthy also served as president for the Organization of Cornell Planners (OCP) student organization.

Mellon Collaborative Studies Spring 2020 Fellowship Deadline Extended

light gray skies

Still from Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar (The Big City), 1963. photo / provided

Mellon Collaborative Studies has extended its application deadline for the spring 2020 Urban Representations Lab seminar to December 16th. The seminar, Edge Cities: Developing New Urban Images in Global Cinema & Media, explores the intersection between cities and moving images. Focusing on the development trends of density and sprawl, the examination of moving images will spur broader discussions of power, social relations, and other topics.

Selected fellows for the Urban Representation Lab seminar will receive a $1,500 stipend in support of materials, including books, films, and images to develop a final project. Past fellows in the seminars explored various methodologies in their research, including ethnography, digital mapping, cinematography, and more.

The seminar is taught by Sabine Haenni, associate professor in the Department of Performing & Media Arts at Cornell. Her teaching areas range from a variety of different media and film genres, in addition to her interest in the intersection between urbanism and cinema.

Past participants of the seminar have included graduate and undergraduate students in the fields of city and regional planning, architecture, and comparative literature.

Peter Ekman: From Prophecy to Projection: The New York Metropolitan Region Study and the Rescaling of the Urban Future, 1956-1968

Historic photo of road

Paramus, New Jersey. photo / Regional Plan Association, 1967

Date and location: December 5, 4:30 p.m. in Room 115, West Sibley Hall

Peter Ekman is the Clarence S. Stein Visiting Scholar in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. He holds a Ph.D. in geography from the University of California–Berkeley, where he has lately been a lecturer in human geography. He has also held fellowships from Harvard University’s Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, the Huntington Library, the American Geographical Society Library, and the Bancroft Library. This talk builds on a portion of his first book manuscript, a hemispheric intellectual history of postwar planning and urbanism routed through the Harvard–MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies.

Abstract:

Between 1956 and 1959, amid far-flung suburbanization and with the joint backing of several major foundations, an interdisciplinary group of scholars from Harvard collaborated with New York City’s Regional Plan Association (RPA) to produce a widely read and debated 10-volume “projection” of what the physical plant, political economy, and everyday life of that metropolis would look like in 1965, 1975, and 1985. The resulting New York Metropolitan Region Study (NYMRS) was “not a blueprint,” its principals insisted, with “no recommendations to make.” It was, however, to be read as “a necessary prelude to future planning studies of the region” — and greater New York City was, in turn, to be understood as the generalizable archetype for other urban regions in the U.S. and abroad.

This talk will explore the “Vernon Study” — after its director, the economist Raymond Vernon — as a consequential but ultimately peculiar episode in the intellectual histories of planning and social science. Rejecting both the certainties of prophecy and the hazards of mere prediction, the NYMRS sought to establish a new tense for urban research and a new set of methods for making inferences about the emerging metropolitan (mega)region on the basis of empirically registered pasts and presents. The constituent volumes of the study garnered various degrees of influence in isolation; four of them appeared in paperback and helped make the case for putting “quality” works of urban social science in view of the public. Its data, which RPA researchers mined for the next decade, equipped those preparing the Second Regional Plan of New York, issued in 1968. Its interdisciplinary organization also served as a touchstone for an array of one-off forecasting studies and many longer-lived university centers or institutes formed to confront the 1960s’ “urban crisis.” At the same time, the study exposed, even among its most devout modelers and quantifiers, an intense skepticism about the possibility that planners would ever know enough about the future to steer its course. In this way, the study also took part in the prehistory of urban neoconservatism that would command the public sphere by the 1970s. The talk will reconstruct one very specific “future past,” and more broadly it will inquire into the temporality of planning itself — which is before all else a mode of envisioning the future.

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Associate Professor Jennifer Minner Featured in CNN Travel Countdown to Expo 2020

Rendering of the 1,080-acre Expo 2020 site in Dubai.

Rendering of the 1,080-acre Expo 2020 site in Dubai. / photo Expo 2020

Associate Professor Jennifer Minner contributed to CNN Travel’s Countdown to Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In the countdown, Minner provided a historical overview of previously held expos. The 1962 expo in Seattle, Washington, she stated, was a prominent example of developing civic space and iconic architectural pieces, including the Seattle Space Needle. “One measure of a successful Expo is whether it has a societal impact in urban planning,” Minner commented.

Professor Minner has been interested in the concept of mega-event sites in her research. In the department, she has taught seminar courses on how city government agencies have channeled public and private investments to become host cities. Her special topics course Cultural Landscapes, Public Space, and former Mega-Event Sites has provided students the opportunity to research and develop design, preservation, and cultural strategies for various mega-event sites throughout history.

The CNN Travel video on the Expo 2020 countdown is part of the Global Gateway series, which documents the rapid developments occurring in Dubai. Minner’s interview can be heard at 1:13 in the video.

Ed LeClear: Planning in University Communities: Balancing Innovation and Preservation

a downtown street lined with shops

photo / provided

Date and location: November 22, 12:20 p.m. in Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium, Milstein Hall

Ed LeClear (M.R.P. ’10) is the planning and community development director for the borough of State College, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the borough, LeClear was the community development director for the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authorities and a community planner with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. He began his career in downtown revitalization working for the Pennsylvania Downtown Center.

A native of Northeast Ohio, LeClear received his B.A. from Miami University (Ohio), a master of science in urban studies from Cleveland State University and a master of regional planning from Cornell University. LeClear is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and provides service to the profession as a board member of 10,000 Friends of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Education Institute, and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association, for which he serves as chair of the legislative committee.

Abstract:

University communities are dynamic places for planners to apply their craft across nearly every specialty in the profession. Whether it is cutting edge climate resiliency work, economic development, multimodal transportation planning, affordable housing, or critical zoning enforcement, working as a planning professional in a college town requires that you do it all. University communities are laboratories for innovation but are also often resistant to change, particularly in terms of land use. This colloquium’s discussion will focus on specific techniques and tools being used in State College (home of the Pennsylvania State University), to balance innovation and preservation, particularly in this era of a booming purpose-built student housing market. Come for an interactive discussion with a CRP alumnus working in local government for more than 15 years (with a few scars to prove it).

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