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Through the Lens of Urban Ecology


The Center's purpose is to expand the understanding of the complexity of contemporary urban life and, through it, promote increased civic engagement among people who care deeply for their communities.

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Through the Lens of Urban Ecology


The Center's purpose is to expand the understanding of the complexity of contemporary urban life and, through it, promote increased civic engagement among people who care deeply for their communities.

Donate

The Center's purpose is to expand the understanding of the complexity of contemporary urban life and, through it, promote increased civic engagement among people who care deeply for their communities. The Center provides portals for community engagement through the lens of urban ecology to further the understanding of the interconnected human and ecological systems in our communities. 

Urban ecology is the study of the ways that human and ecological systems evolve together in urban and urbanizing regions. Through the comprehensive understanding of the ecology of cities, people can make more informed decisions about the future of places they care about. This urban ecological framework fosters collaborative, holistic and ground-up approaches to city building. Our multi-disciplinary approach to community engagement is applied through educational programs, collaborative projects, fellowships, on-line portals, workshops and publications. 

The Center also creates opportunities for at-risk, underrepresented, and curious individuals to understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens, assisting them in finding avenues for community action. A specific example of this work is a project funded by the Ford Foundation encouraging girls and young women around the globe to observe their neighborhoods, create a response to opportunities and problems they recognize and through these efforts, amplify their voices as engaged citizens. 

Cities are living organisms where dynamic systems metabolize every element. Opening doors where youth can discover these invisible flows makes opportunities for culture change visible. Teaching youth with dynamic, hands-on lessons about the intricate systems of cities empowers them to grasp a city’s essence. This understanding expands the ways they can participate in shaping, repairing and preserving the places they care about. To make a difference we have to know and love our cities.  

To further the understanding and complexity of urban life, the Center is creating a new program that seeks to strengthen the vocabulary, knowledge and skills of journalists who write about cities. This project addresses a shortfall in journalism and provides citizens and policymakers with the knowledge needed to accurately inform the ways people can preserve and transform their communities.

Additionally, in collaboration with the Consortium for Dark Sky Studies (University of Utah), the Center employs a sharp urban focus on dark skies as a resource (natural, cultural, economic) and the environmental, health and social justice impacts of light pollution, light trespass and "the disappearing dark." 

 

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Telling Vital Stories: A City Journalism Workshop


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

SEPTEMBER 27-29 2017
 

Telling Vital Stories: A City Journalism Workshop


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

SEPTEMBER 27-29 2017
 


Overview

We invite journalists of all media to take part in a workshop focusing on journalism about cities and their complexities. The workshop will include in-depth discussions in a small-group format of topics such as poverty, housing, transportation and economic mobility. Expert presenters will include the Pulitzer-winning author of Evicted, Matthew Desmond, as well as author and NPR / PBS journalist Ray Suarez.


WORKSHOP SESSIONS LED BY

RAY SUAREZ  |  STEPHEN GOLDSMITH

WENDI THOMAS  |  PAM KELLEY

and a conversation with MATT DESMOND

 

and public events


APPLICATIONs NOW OPEN!

Deadline August 23, 2017

| Preference for this workshop will be given to journalists from the Southeastern U.S. |

| Selected journalists will have all workshop expenses covered by the center, including travel, lodging, and food |  

*Please note that the application portal must be opened and completed on a computer.


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Workshop Leaders

Ray Suarez

Ray Suarez is a McCloy Visiting Professor of American Studies at Amherst College. He was recently the host of Al Jazeera America’s daily news program, Inside Story. Suarez was a correspondent and anchor at public television’s nightly newscast, The PBS NewsHour. Before PBS, he was the Washington-based host of NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

Suarez is also an author. He wrote the companion to the PBS documentary series, Latino Americans. He published an examination of the relationship between religion and electoral politics, The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America. His first book, The Old Neighborhood: What We Lost in the Great Suburban Migration (Free Press, 1999) examined decades of transition in urban America.

Suarez holds a BA in African History, from New York University and an MA in the Social Sciences, from University of Chicago.

Wendi C. Thomas

Wendi C. Thomas is an award-winning independent journalist based in Memphis, Tennessee. Her work focuses on economic and racial justice. Thomas writes for The Christian Science Monitor, The Undefeated and is a senior writing fellow with the Center for Community Change.

Thomas was a 2016 fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Thomas has also taught at the University of Memphis and at Harvard University’s Extension School, where she was invited to develop the school’s first journalism course about race and class.

From 2003 to 2014, Thomas was a metro columnist and assistant managing editor at The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal. She was the first black woman to write opinion for the then 162-year-old newspaper.

Previously she was an editor at The Charlotte Observer, an editor and reporter at The (Nashville) Tennessean and a reporter at The Indianapolis Star. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Butler University in 1993.

Her many awards include her 2008 induction into the Scripps Hall of Fame for local commentary and second place in column writing in the 2012 National Headliner contest. She was also chosen as one of 12 fellows in ProPublica’s first Data Journalism Institute in 2016.

Pam Kelley

Pam Kelley worked as a reporter at the Charlotte Observer for more than thirty years, where she won awards from the National Press Club, National Education Writers Association and the Society for Features Journalism.

She’s now writing a narrative nonfiction book, tentatively titled Money Rock: A Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South, under contract with The New Press. The book explores Charlotte’s legacy of racism through the story of one cocaine dealer and his family.

Stephen A. Goldsmith

Stephen Goldsmith is currently Director of the Center for the Living City, as well as an Associate Professor in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah. He also serves as the Director of the Capstone Program for the Office of Undergraduate Studies and serves as the co-director of the university's Consortium for Dark Sky Studies.

As the former Planning Director for Salt Lake City, Stephen was the first artist/planning director appointed in a major city in the U.S. During his tenure, which included preparations for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games, he completed projects including an award-winning guide titled, Towards a Walkable Downtown: urban design strategies to improve the pedestrian environment in Downtown Salt Lake City; a project to develop high-performance, green building policies for the city; development of the city’s first Transit Oriented Zoning districts, and a “Walkable Communities” ordinance. During the 2002 Olympics he produced an international symposium and exhibition titled, “The Physical Fitness of Cities: Vision and Ethics in City Building.”

Stephen was also the founding director of Artspace, a community development corporation creating affordable housing and workspace for artists and others in Salt Lake City. He is an accomplished sculptor whose water features and environmental installations can be seen in public spaces throughout Salt Lake City.


and a conversation with...


Matthew Desmond

Matthew Desmond is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Princeton. After receiving his Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he joined the Harvard Society of Fellows as a Junior Fellow.

He is the author of four books, including Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City (2016), which won the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Carnegie Medal, and PEN / John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction. The principal investigator of The Eviction Lab, Desmond’s research focuses on poverty in America, city life, housing insecurity, public policy, racial inequality, and ethnography.

He is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, and the William Julius Wilson Early Career Award. A Contributing Writer for the New York Times Magazine, Desmond was listed in 2016 among the Politico 50, as one of “fifty people across the country who are most influencing the national political debate.”

Photo Credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation



partners & Support

 
 

A special thanks to the Ford Foundation for supporting Telling Vital Stories: A City Journalism Workshop and to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for providing support for the public events. 

 
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events


events


JANE JACOBS CENTENNIAL LECTURE SERIES

Author and activist Jane Jacobs was born 100 years ago last May. In celebration of her Centennial Year, the Center for the Living City organized a series of lectures and panel discussions from May 4, 2016 - May 3, 2017 in various cities to celebrate her legacy and observe the impacts of her teachings on diverse places. 

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Observe! Patch program


Developing voices + skills through the power of observation, communication + action.

Observe! Patch program


Developing voices + skills through the power of observation, communication + action.

observe! Patch

overview

The Center for the Living City, with support from the Ford Foundation, has selected an energetic, creative and committed Fellow, Kat Nix, to advance a meaningful project for girls and young women throughout the world.

One of the main goals of this Jane Jacobs Fellowship is to develop civically engaged voices of young women that lead to local and global action in the places they care about. The girls and young women will participate in a community-based patch program, learn about cities and develop skills that will amplify their voices as they engage in place-based, creative action. 

Women and girls are deeply affected by misogynistic behaviors and attitudes prevalent in societies around the globe. The impacts are often internalized, creating barriers that diminish and even silence their voices. Urgent problems facing communities, including the impacts of climate change, rapid urbanization, access to safe drinking water and sanitation, food deserts and other deficiencies are also opportunities for creative responses from the change-makers of the future. Inspired by the broad impacts of women like Jane Jacobs, Wangari Maathai, and recently, Malala Yousafzai, girls and young women have both new role models and new narratives to help them navigate through inequalities and push for creative expression. This program will provide skills and tools that both inform action and support their developing voices. 

Girl Scouts of Utah troop #496 lead a group of girls on a Jane Jacobs Walk. Spring 2016 Salt Lake City, UT. 

Girl Scouts of Utah troop #496 lead a group of girls on a Jane Jacobs Walk. Spring 2016 Salt Lake City, UT. 

The Jane Jacobs Fellow works with the Center for the Living City and is seeking to engage the Girl Scouts of the USA, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and other worldwide organizations to identify, create and disseminate resources to implement the Observe! patch globally.

This fellowship builds upon a successful pilot project with the Girl Scouts of Utah during spring of 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The project focused on Jacobs’ groundbreaking work about the importance of observation. Beginning with the reading of Glenna Lang’s book, Genius of Common Sense: Jane Jacobs and the Story of the Death and Life of Great American Citiesthe girls came to understand the importance of Jacobs’ voice in our evolving understanding of cities. Lang’s book both describes Jacobs’ young life in Scranton, Pa., where she was herself a Girl Scout, and opens a window on Jacobs’ bold voice as she worked to understand the ways cities work.

Once the girls and young women understand how Jacobs developed her powerful observational skills to create new knowledge about cities, they will create individual Jane Jacobs Walks that introduce one another to their unique communities. These elements might include, but are not limited to, those which may cause concern or joy, inform a sense of history, address problems of housing, mobility, food justice, access to education and sanitation, or a host of other problems witnessed through their observational skills. They are invited to propose ways to preserve, celebrate, heal or transform an area they discover. In each case, their discoveries open pathways for creative action and a working vocabulary of the ecology of cities.

KATHERINE NIX, JANE JACOBS FELLOW- OBSERVE! PATCH

kat@centerforthelivingcity.org

Kat Nix graduated from the University of Utah in May of 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Urban Ecology and a minor in Multidisciplinary Design. For the last four years, she has worked with at-risk Latinx youth in the Salt Lake Valley through the University of Utah’s College of Social Work. She loves working with youth and is passionate about creating equal opportunities for marginalized populations. She deeply believes creative placemaking, social and environmental diversity, unencumbered play and observation are key to vibrant communities. Kat is excited to be working with the Center of the Living City to help young womxn and girls around the globe to claim their voices and create meaningful change in their communities.

 

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Jane Jacobs Walk


Walk | Observe | Connect

Jane Jacobs Walk


Walk | Observe | Connect

Jane Jacobs Walk is a program of the Center for the Living City. We invite people to organize walks in their communities throughout the year. The purpose of Jane Jacobs Walk is to engage people in walking, observing, and connecting with their communities. Walks enable members of a community to discover and respond to the complexities of their city and environment through personal and shared observation.