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Every Church Can Do Something: Conversation with Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows M.A. HPP ’94

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The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows Bishop. image / Janet Brinkworth

Rt. Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows (M.A. HPP ’94) is featured in the Summer 2020 issue of the Sacred Places Magazine in an interview with Robert Jaeger, President of Partners for Sacred Places. In this interview, Jennifer shared her love of ministry and the church, and how her academic background in historic preservation and architecture intersect and reinforce her work.

Recently elected as the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, Jennifer also serves as a board member for the Partners for Sacred Places. Her 30-year long partnership with the organization began as a graduate student intern while attending Cornell University. After receiving her degree in Historic Preservation Planning, she trained for the ordained ministry at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, a seminary of the Episcopal Church, and received her Master of Divinity degree.

The interview is accessible on the Faith and Form issue of the Sacred Places Magazine online publication on the Partners for Sacred Places website.

Partners for Sacred Places is a non-sectarian, non-profit organization focusing on developing stewardship and community activism surround older sacred places and buildings across America. The organization provides services, including technical assistance, fundraising and campaigning training, and grant support.

Waishan Qiu Ph.D. RS ’22 Receives Grand Prize at

Waishan Qiu (Ph.D. RS ’22) received the grand prize and first place at the 2020 virtual hackathon in the Cooking with Big Data Challenge. Hosted by Jardine Restaurant Group (JRG) and Microsoft Hong Kong, the challenge asked participants to develop innovative solutions leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data to improve consumer experience and restaurant operations in the current contexts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Qiu’s proposal FoodieXpress derived a framework for the 71 Pizza Hut locations throughout Hong Kong comprising of scripting data to create delivery demand predictions, rematch order dispatch, and computing the shareability of food order deliveries. He and other participants were given just 36 hours to compile and present an innovative strategy for representatives of the sponsored-companies JRG and Microsoft, in addition to executives from partnering companies including Accenture, JLL, and HSBC.

As a Ph.D. student in Regional Science, Qiu’s research interests lie in developing informatics and analytical tools to investigate dynamic interactions between people and space. At Cornell, he served as one of the fellows in the Mellon Collaborative Studies program, participating in the spring 2019 seminar Urban Unplanning: The City as Text. Before joining the Ph.D. program, he spent several years in research settings and laboratories, including the MIT SENSEable City Lab, MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, and the Evidence for Policy Design at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Summer Internship Spotlight: Caroline Weston M.R.P. ’21

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Caroline Weston (provided)

Caroline Weston (M.R.P. ’21) is spending her summer in Cleveland, Ohio, interning for University Circle Inc (UCI). UCI serves as the community service corporation for the University Circle neighborhood, located east of Downtown Cleveland. 

“I was attracted to UCI because it services a diverse community while, at the same time, housing large institutions such as the Cleveland Mayo Clinic and Case Western Reserve University.” she shared.

As a Planning and Development Intern, Caroline is assisting in several projects for UCI, including a unique challenge in addressing the potential digital divide exerted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “I am currently working on a project that is characterizing the broadband access and digital device needs of residents in the area. The sudden shutdown of life as we knew it brought to light the systemic digital divide that exists among the residents of University Circle. Without internet access via broadband, a device, or even digital literacy where internet is available, digitally needy communities will face lasting impacts which will persist in the long-term.”

UCI and other local organizations have begun to assess residents who do not have internet access and cannot be surveyed in-person during the pandemic. Caroline is also engaging in meetings with different members of the communities representing non-profit organizations to institutional leaders to find effective approaches to leverage their expertise and resources to address barriers that are perpetuating the digital divide.

Despite the unconventional situation for UCI, Caroline feels the experience has been enriching her interests in the planning field. “I am excited to continue this research on the digital divide for my exit project. The Cornell network in Cleveland, and really the larger Cleveland community has been tremendously welcoming and generous with their insight and resources.”

Before attending Cornell, Caroline spent several years working as a Project Manager for David J. Powers & Associates, Inc., an environmental planning consulting firm based in California. She was awarded the AEP Outstanding Environmental Analysis Award in 2018 for her team’s report on the Silicon Valley Clean Water Wastewater Conveyance System and Treatment Plant Reliability Improvement projects. She received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning from the University of California, Davis.

Summer Internship Spotlight: Dorothy Qian M.R.P./M.L.A. ’22

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Dorothy Qian (provided)

By Dorothy Qian (M.R.P./M.L.A. ’22)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have decided to work remotely this summer for SHADE Institute, based in Honolulu, Hawaii. Their mission is to provide community-based planning and design to underserved communities and allying non-profit organizations through fellowship training and professional mentorship. SHADE is Hawaii’s first public-interest design (PID) organization. Public interest design is a growing sector of non-profit and pro-bono practice in the planning and architecture fields. This model stems back to the community design movement in 1968 when American civil rights leader, Whitney Young, issued a challenge to his audience at the American Institute of Architects:

“…you are not a profession that has distinguished yourself by your social and civic contributions to the cause of civil rights, and I am sure this does not come to you as any shock. You are most distinguished by your thunderous silence and your complete irrelevance.”

The rise of Community Design Centers (CDC) was a response to this challenge. Design/build programs were also initiated in architecture education. PID became a movement to encourage socially responsible architecture and design. Nowadays, PID organizations such as SHADE offer training and service-learning programs for students and graduates.

I came to SHADE aspiring to immerse myself in their community engagement process. I wanted to learn how they build relationships with representatives of different community groups and other sectors, whether that is public, private, or non-profit. I tried to observe the public design workshops and be part of that process and come to my own assessment of how they go about receiving public input and translating that into formalized plans and design. The director of SHADE, Dean Sakamoto, has been flexible in allowing me to work remotely this summer, given the global circumstances. I hope to return next summer to get the immersive in-person interaction and opportunity. It is demonstrative of SHADE’s intent to build long-lasting relationships with a variety of stakeholders as well as with the Institute’s fellows.

SHADE leaders have helped me move closer to a direction for my exit project in the MRP program, which will deal with the assessment of projects that deal with land use legislation on a national and local level in Hawaii. My mentor is Grace Zheng, a practitioner with PBR, a design firm based in Honolulu, who also is an alumna of the dual degree program in regional planning and landscape architecture at Cornell. Through her mentorship, I was able to compile a summer reading list to better understand ethical public design practices:

Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook (2016) by Lisa M. Abendroth and Bryan Bell

Urban Enclaves (1996) by Mark Abrahamson

The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History (1995) by Dolores Hayden

Oneida Community Mansion House Launches Cornell Virtual Exhibit

people sitting on the floor with paint and newspaper laid out
Abigail Lawton, center, leads a painting workshop with (from left) Dorothy Qian(M.R.P./M.L.A. ’22), Hannah Miller (M.A. HPP ’19), Olivia Heckendorf (M.A. HPP ’19), Joel Hochman (M.R.P. ’20), and Shiyuan Chen (M.R.P. ’20). photo / Dorothy Qian

With the limitations on visitors due to the public health guidelines, the Oneida Community Mansion House (OCMH) developed an online virtual exhibit showcasing the efforts done by CRP students, faculty, and alumni last spring. As part of the department’s annual Work Weekend event, led by Department Chair Jeffrey Chusid, CRP worked with OCMH over the weekend on several preservation projects throughout the house, from window restoration to painting. 

The virtual exhibit features photos of restoration work done by CRP students and alumni, demonstrating the post-Work Weekend transformation. Students were able to gain experience with the physical labor that goes into preserving the house, in addition to learning about the history of the property and its prominence in the Oneida community. The exhibit also showcases the measured drawings applications done by the Historic Preservation Planning (HPP) students. HPP students are featured hand drawing measured details of different structures in the house, such as the historic railings.

Photos featured in this exhibit were contributed by Jack Glassman, Pauline Caputi, Allison Turner (M.A. HPP ’20), Katilin Piazza (M.A. HPP ’20), and several other students.

The online virtual exhibit can be viewed in the following link:

More about the Work Weekend story can be read on the AAP website.

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