Urban Uprising – Re-imagining the City

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Date(s) - 11/30/2012 - 12/01/2012
9:30 am - 9:00 pm

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In the wake of the 2008 explosion of the current economic crisis, more and more people are actively fighting to restore what they’ve lost. Not since the ‘60s 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. Most of these uprisings are rooted in the urban landscape. Many of their demands imply a major transformation in the way our cities work. During this amazing moment of crisis and mobilization, it’s important that we ask ourselves: What kind of city do we want to see?

Day 1. Urban Uprising

In History, In Process, In the Future

November 30 at the CUNY Graduate Center, Proshansky Auditorium, 365 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10016

Organized by the Center for Place, Culture & Politics

From the revolutions sometimes called the “Arab Spring” to the vigorous demonstrations of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and more, Day 1 will address the lessons from around the world on how do we understand social change in this current moment. The day focuses on the history of urban uprisings as well as the current militarization of urban space, and concludes with a discussion of organizing on a city-wide level.

    • 9:30 to 10:00 am – Registration
    • 10:00 to 10:30 am – Opening Keynote: David Harvey – Director, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, CUNY Graduate Center
    • 10:30 to 12 Noon – Urban Uprisings of the 1960s: Living Legacies
      • Chair: Frances Fox Piven Distinguished CUNY Professor of Political Science and Sociology
      • Jordan T. Camp Visiting Scholar, UCLA Inst. of American Cultures & Bunche Center for Af-American Studies
      • Marian Kramer Co-chair National Welfare Rights Union, founding member League of Revolutionary Black Workers
      • Karen Miller Historian, CUNY, LaGuardia Community College
    • 12 Noon to 1:00 pm
    • Lunch Break
    • 1:00 to 3:00 pm – Global Urban Uprisings
      • Chair: Peter Marcuse Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning, Columbia University
      • Hiba Bou Akar Professor, School of Critical Social Inquiry, Hampshire College
      • Mavuso Dignani – with Abahlali baseMjondolo, South African miners and Democratic Left Front
      • Deen Sharp Journalist, PhD student Graduate Center
      • Éva Tessza Udvarhelyi Co-founder, The City is for All, Budapest, PhD student Graduate Center
    • 3:30 to 5:30 pm – Securitization and the City
      • Chair: John Whitlow – CUNY School of Law, former attorney w/ Make the Road New York
      • Mizue Aizeki – Organizer with Immigrant Defense Project and documentary photographer
      • Christina Heatherton – Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, postdoctoral fellow
      • Pete White- Founder and Co-director of the Los Angeles Community Action Network
    • 6:00 to 8:00 pm – Roundtable on How to Organize a Whole City
      • Chair: Kazembe Balagun -Writer and outreach coordinator of the Brecht Forum
      • Ujju Aggarwal – PhD student Graduate Center, former organizer with Center for Immigrant Families.
      • Tammy Bang Luu – Associate Director, Labor and Community Strategy Center
      • Rachel LaForest – Executive Director, The Right to the City Alliance
      • Rob Robinson – Campaign to Restore National Housing, Take Back the Land, US Human Rights Network
      • Miguel Robles-Duràn – Urbanist, Director of the Urban Ecologies, New School

Day 2. Re-Imagining the City

Transforming Demands, Demanding Creativity

December 1, at the New School, Tishman Auditorium, 66 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10011
Organized by the Brecht Forum,Growing Roots & the Right to the City Alliance
Hosted by the New School Urban Ecologies Program

Building on the previous day’s discussion of urban movements for a more just and sustainable society, Day 2 will address the need to create a transformative vision for organizing in New York City. With participation from community organizations across the city, we aim to:

  • explore a holistic vision for the city we wish to live in,
  • assess community work currently being done
  • begin a conversation on the role of transformative demands and alternative institutions in realizing our vision.

Day 2 will facilitate the connections of issues and organizations in order to encourage movement building.

  • 9:00 to 10:00 – Registration
  • 10:00 to 11:30 am – Opening Plenary
    • Chair & Welcome: Miguel Robles-Duràn – Urbanist, Director of the Urban Ecologies, New School
    • Ruth Wilson Gilmore – Associate Director, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, CUNY Graduate Center
    • Rachel LaForest – Executive Director, The Right to the City Alliance
    • Peter Marcuse – Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning, Columbia University
    • Amaka Okechukwu with Matthew Birkhold – Co-founders, Growing Roots
    • Nancy Romer – General Coordinator, The Brooklyn Food Coalition
  • 11:45 am to 1:45 pm – Breakout Sessions by Issue Area
    • These facilitated session will discuss building a holistic vision for a more democratic, sustainable, and just New York City, and assessing the current work being done toward this end.
  • 1:45 to 2:30 pm – Lunch Break
  • 2:30 to 4:15 pm – Breakout Sessions Across Issue Areas
    • These facilitated sessions ask the question “What would your work look like if it was devoted to building new communities and a new city?” Participants will discuss the role of transformative demands and of building alternative institutions in realizing a collective vision for New York City.
  • 4:30 to 5:30 pm – Wrap Up / Summation
  • 5:30 pm – Action – tba
  • 7:30 pm – Party at the Brecht Forum


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