Our Initiatives

The Center supports research under four main initiatives that encourage speculative, inter- and multi-disciplinary thinking to understand and address complex challenges related to the equitable and sustainable design and development of cities.  

The Urban Futures initiative will learn from current local and global urbanization trends and challenges and bring innovative thinking to questions of equitable urbanization and access to public goods and resources.   

It will catalyze new research aimed at building capacity and collaboration between architects, scholars, local communities, municipalities, and other strategic partners. The Urban Futures initiative will engage in critical thinking and radical imagination necessary for sustainable and equitable development of cities and metropolitan regions within local and global contexts including Southern California, San Joaquin Valley, Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, and the Global South.   

Urban Humanities is a field of inquiry that brings together perspectives from the humanities, architecture, and urban design into an understanding of the city as a cultural entity.  

It uses interpretive, historical, material, and artistic approaches to investigate the everyday life of urban spaces and develop creative and transformative practices for egalitarian urban futures. The Urban Humanities initiative will offer a platform for intellectual collaborations among faculty with backgrounds in architectural history and theory, landscape architecture, heritage conservation, architecture design, arts and the humanities at USC, and community partners to investigate and address the challenges and inequalities brought about by increased urbanization around the world.  

Urban Humanities is a field of inquiry that brings together perspectives from the humanities, architecture, and urban design into an understanding of the city as a cultural entity.  

It uses interpretive, historical, material, and artistic approaches to investigate the everyday life of urban spaces and develop creative and transformative practices for egalitarian urban futures. The Urban Humanities initiative will offer a platform for intellectual collaborations among faculty with backgrounds in architectural history and theory, landscape architecture, heritage conservation, architecture design, arts and the humanities at USC, and community partners to investigate and address the challenges and inequalities brought about by increased urbanization around the world.  

Housing Justice is integral to racial, economic, political, and environmental justice. It imagines a world where everyone has access to safe, high quality and stable housing. Decent housing is a human right, yet its fulfillment remains one of the most pressing challenges in our cities. Architects and design professionals are in a position to make meaningful impact to fulfill the housing needs of diverse communities. But housing for all means much more than designing residential buildings; it requires an awareness of the economic and political systems that spatially discriminate against marginalized people. Housing Justice initiative will bring together architects, designers, researchers, activists, and theorists who will work with marginalized communities to dismantle institutional structures that have turned housing into a commodity and to develop solutions that address housing precarity in our cities.  

Based on the emerging framework of Reparations Scholarship and Social Sciences, Urban Reparations initiative will provide a powerful platform to link histories of the urban environment, struggles of social justice in the built environment, and investment opportunities for aiding in the repair of the past wrongs in communities and demographics that have been subjected to systemic policies of racism, housing and economic discrimination, and disinvestment.   

Based on the emerging framework of Reparations Scholarship and Social Sciences, Urban Reparations initiative will provide a powerful platform to link histories of the urban environment, struggles of social justice in the built environment, and investment opportunities for aiding in the repair of the past wrongs in communities and demographics that have been subjected to systemic policies of racism, housing and economic discrimination, and disinvestment.   

The Center For City Design @ USC Architecture was founded in 2022 to advance research and design that address spatial precarity in our cities

Resources

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