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Urban Uprising: A Conference on Connections Between Social Justice, Sustainability and Cities

NEW YORK, November 19, 2012– As demonstrated by Hurricane Sandy and the current “Great Recession,” preparing cities to confront the key challenges of the 21st century—environmental, economic, social and political–is more vital than ever before.

On November 30th and December 1st, the CUNY Graduate Center’s Center for Place, Culture and PoliticsThe Right to the City CoalitionThe Brecht ForumGrowing Roots, and the Design and Urban Ecologies program at Parsons The New School for Design is co-hosting Urban Uprising, a two-day conference that brings together architects, activists, urban designers and planners from around the country to re-imagine the city for the next hundred years.

The conference is focused on generating ideas that radically re-think what a city means, and how it can work to better serve its population. It will also look at the post-Sandy moment within New York City, which over the past several decades has faced crises of education, economic inequality, racial tensions, and growing environmental and ecological fragmentation.

“Hurricane Sandy has exposed the longstanding socio-economic and environmental crisis that New York is in,” said Miguel Robles-Duran, Director of the Design and Urban Ecologies program at Parsons. “It is our responsibility as designers and engaged citizens to find new directions that radically depart from how the city is being built today, and participate in common forms of knowledge that support the claim for our right to the city.”

Urban Uprising’s first day, held at the CUNY Graduate Center, focuses on the global protest movements of the past year, from Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street. Not since the 1960s have so many people across the globe taken to the streets to demand a more just and democratic society, access to housing, health care, education, food, jobs, a clean and safe environment and lives free from police violence. What lessons do these movements teach about the ways populations move, assemble, and work in a city? It will feature speakers David Harvey (Director, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, CUNY Graduate Center), Frances Fox Piven (Distinguished CUNY Professor of Political Science and Sociology), Rob Robinson (Campaign to Restore National Housing, Take Back the Land, US Human Rights Network), Peter Marcuse (Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning Columbia University), Marian Kramer (Co-chair, National Welfare Rights Union, founding member, League of Revolutionary Black Workers), and Miguel Robles-Duran.

The second day, held at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium, will feature participants from more than 80 civic organizations across the city collaborating in smaller working groups. By the end of the day, each group will have developed its own strategic action plan to radically alter the way a city works, and who it serves.

More information can be found at