Check out our news & activity feed below, where we post the latest updates about the Hunter Urban community. We normally keep about a year of current news & activity in our feed. If you'd like to see what transpired before this, check out the archive where we keep updates dating back to January of 2011.
On behalf of the entire faculty and staff, UPP Chair Joseph Viteritti congratulates Professor Victoria Johnson, who has received a Guggenheim Award to support her work on a book about the Hudson River artist Frederic Church, which she will be taking up while on sabbatical next year. The prestigious Guggenheim is certainly well-deserved. Professor Johnson's last book, a biography of physician David Hosack, was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize in History and a National Book Award.
In the wake of the Atlanta shootings in March 2021, Professor John Chin was interviewed by Vice and the Washington Post about his study of illicit massage parlors. His study was also cited in articles by Gothamist and the Associated Press (AP). The two AP news articles have been picked up by numerous local and national media outlets.
Professor Nicholas Bloom will be moderating a conversation about NYCHA's future on March 31st. The event is sponsored by the New York Housing Conference: https://thenyhc.org/event/rln-presents-2021-winter-thought-leader-series-with-eva-trimble-2/
UPP Chair Professor Joseph Viteritti was featured in a public conversation at Roosevelt House (virtually) with Thomas Dyja, author of New York, New York, New York: Four Decades of Success, Excess, and Transformation on Tuesday, March 23. Dye's book had been reviewed on the front page of the New York Times Book Review on the previous Sunday (March 21).
Associate Professor Karina Moreno's article, "Joe Biden’s Immigration Reform Doesn’t Do Enough to Help Migrant Workers" was published in Jacobin, March 1, 2021.
Profs. Jill Gross and Sigmund Shipp were invited and participated in the "Race and Class Chat" sponsored by the New York State Human Rights Commission on Friday, February 26, 2021.
Professor Victoria Johnson was featured on CNN, Pix11 News, and ABC World News Tonight this week after harnessing the power of Twitter to find the family pictured in a 1964 photo she found in a used book about 15 years ago. Professor Johnson credits Hunter MUP student Sola Olosunde with inspiring her to use Twitter to share this small piece of history.
UPP's Racial Justice Working Group has released a report summarizing the feedback shared at our community-wide town hall What Does an Anti-racist Department Look Like? The event took place November 20, 2020, and drew more than 85 students, alums, and faculty to engage with this question. The report also summarizes feedback gathered through an online questionnaire related to the event. The report can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here.
Profs. Jill Gross and Sigmund Shipp were invited and participated in the "Race and Class Chat" sponsored by the New York State Human Rights Commission on Friday, March 26, 2021.
Professor Sigmund C. Shipp gave a lecture entitled “A Charge to Keep: Historically Black Colleges and Universities in America" to the Washington (DC) Friends Meeting (Feb 14), Cathedral Congregations, Racial Justice Task Force at the National Cathedral, Washington, DC (Feb 21), and R.C. Nusbaum Honors College, Norfolk State University, Norfolk, VA (Feb 22). His co-presenter was Professor Gregory Gardner, Norfolk State University.
Associate Professor Laura Wolf-Powers testified on Tuesday 2/23 in favor of the City Council's new comprehensive planning legislation. One of the Council staff instrumental in devising the proposal is Hunter MUP alum Brian Paul (Spring 2011).
Prof. John Chin's report on illicit massage parlors, based on his NIH-funded study, was cited extensively in a recent article by Freedom United, an anti-trafficking organization. The article presents a cautionary tale of well-intentioned anti-trafficking efforts resulting in the criminalization of working immigrant Asian women.
Professor Viteritti was interviewed and quoted in an article in the Haitian Times (February 18) on the practice of discretionary spending by New York City Council members.
UPP Chair Joseph Viteritti was quoted in a Village Voice article on mayoral leadership and the meaning of progressivism (February 18). UPP alum Sam Stein was quoted in the same article.
Assistant Professor Mehdi Heris is co-author of a study published in the Journal of Ecosystem Services, January 29, 2021, on the first Urban Ecosystem accounting for the U.S. The study provides the results of two models for more than 700 cities in the U.S. that quantified the amount of energy savings as the impact of urban trees as well as the value of intercepted rainfall. The research shows that American cities saved $538.6 million as the result of the cooling impacts of trees in 2016. The value of avoided runoff as the ecosystem service of urban trees was $424.7 million in 2016.
For the full article, "Piloting urban ecosystem accounting for the United States," click here.
Professor Nicholas Dagen Bloom is featured in a Gothamist/WNYC article on affordable housing debates in the current mayoral election. MUP graduates Sam Stein (Community Service Society) and Moses Gates (Regional Plan Association) also provided commentary.
A comprehensive website featuring the 2019/2020 exhibition on Housing Density at the Skyscraper Museum, co-curated by Professor Nicholas Dagen Bloom, is now available online: https://skyscraper.org/housing-density/
Professor Laura Wolf-Powers's research on urban manufacturing economies was featured in a report released by the Urban Manufacturing Alliance in December 2020. Read the full report here: https://www.urbanmfg.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/UMA-Sewn-Trades-Mfg-in-the-USA-Final.pdf
Professor Laura Wolf-Powers was quoted in a WHYY Philadelphia article, "How Black Philadelphians Lived MLK's fight for 'open housing'": https://whyy.org/articles/how-black-philadelphians-lived-mlks-fight-for-open-housing/
UPH Professor and UPP affiliated faculty member Philip Alcabes' new essay, "The Cost of Prudentialism," was published in The American Scholar, (January 16, 2021). Prof. Alcabes explains the consequences of the public health profession's abdication of its former role of social engineer.
Here are links to his prior essays on coronavirus, in case you missed them:
Race and Public Health (9/5/20)
Beyond Technical Fixes for Coronavirus (4/21/20)
Coronavirus: This is not a Plague (4/6)
Anxiety of Culpability (3/31)
Coronavirus and its Costs (3/25)
Coronavirus as Crisis (3/20)
State of Vulnerability (3/15)
How to Think About the Coronavirus (3/10)
MUP graduate students in Professor Nicholas Bloom's Fall 2020 urban planning studio analyzed underutilized office parks and strip malls to identify opportunities for new affordable housing and related transit upgrades. Their full report, developed for the Westchester County Department of Planning, is here: http://www.hunterurban.org/studio/growing-opportunity-in-westchester
Prof. Matthew Lasner and MUP student Sola Olosunde explore video as a historical medium and the impact of Olosunde’s research in a conversation published recently on PLATFORM: Found Footage of Black New York: Ten Questions for Sola Olosunde
Prof. Matthew Lasner has co-authored an editorial in PLATFORM titled “The Sixth of January” reflecting upon the horrific events at the Capitol last week.
The Peter Kwong Immigrant Workers Learning Center has recently been launched, honoring the legacy of Peter Kwong, who was a member of the Hunter faculty from 1993-2017. Kwong was a Distinguished Professor in the Urban Policy and Planning Department and a Professor of Asian American Studies. He had a passionate commitment to issues of social justice and the rights of immigrant workers and a long record of activism concerning conditions in the Asian American community. The Peter Kwong Immigrant Workers Learning Center is located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and strives to advance justice and meaningful change to immigrant workers, youth and veterans of justice struggles. For more information, consult its website.
Avi Garelick, MUP student, and Andrew Schustek, MSUPL student, have published an article “The Rise and Fall of the Coops” in a special issue of Jewish Currents magazine focused on housing. They also spoke about the article last month on an episode, “Coop Dreams,” of the podcast Nostalgia Trap. The special issue also includes pieces by department alums Jenny Akchin, Samuel Stein, and Oksana Mironova.
Venesa Alicea, a MUP student who is also a practicing architect and adjunct assistant professor of architecture at City College, worked with Dark Matter University, a new, collaborative BIPOC-led group, this fall to co-teach a course (remotely) at Tuskegee University. Read about her work in Architects Newspaper.
UPP Chair Professor Joseph Viteritti has written an essay on the NYC 2021 Mayoral Race for City Limits Magazine.
UPH Distinguished Professor and UPP affiliated faculty member Stephanie Woolhandler was interviewed on Democracy Now," Amid SCOTUS Fight over ACA, Advocates Say Medicare for All Remains Best Way to Expand Healthcare," November 11, 2020.
UPP Associate Professor Laura Wolf-Powers is co-author of a powerful new report that illuminates the ways that land use practice in NYC lets value slip away:
UPH Distinguished Professors and UPP affiliated faculty members Stephanie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein's recent research on the rise of uninsurance in the Trump era is covered in the Healthline article "In Trump’s First 3 Years, 2 Million Americans Lost Healthcare, Thousands Died Prematurely," November 3, 2020.
UPP Chair Prof. Joseph Viteritti was a guest on CUNY Forum (October 28) where he participated in a panel discussion moderated by Bob Liff on the forthcoming New York City Mayoral Election of 2021. The other panelists were John Banks (Real Estate Board of New York), Jeffery Mays (New York Times), and Debralee Santos (Manhattan Times) The show is available on CUNY TV.
MS UPL student, Violet Moss is included in the Manhattan Power 50 list of most influential unelected New Yorkers. Violet is an expert on healthcare policy and government relations. She has directed policy and advocacy for prominent organizations such as the Fund for Modern Courts, the Children’s Health Fund, and the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York Presbyterian.
Other individuals on the list include Hunter College President Jennifer Raab, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Founder and President of the National Action Network the Rev. Al Sharpton.
UPH Professor and UPP affiliated faculty member Steffie Woolhandler was on BBC discussing COVID-19 and the US healthcare system, (October 11, 2020).
Click for BBC Clip. (Prof. Woolhandler's discussion starts after 42 minutes or thereabouts)
UPH Professor and UPP affiliated faculty member Philip Alcabes' short piece "Coronavirus and the Withering of the Public Sphere" was published in The American Scholar, (September 19, 2020). The entire piece pertains to questions of policymaking in the current milieu.
Professor Nicholas Dagen Bloom has been busy on the public housing front. He has provided support and feedback on groundbreaking urban design work underway designed to make NYCHA's public housing developments better places to live:
1) A co-authored editorial in The New York Daily News: "The Rebirth NYCHA Needs Now"
2) Comments on landscape innovations as part of the NYCHA Connected Communities initiative:
3) Comments on NYCHA landscape improvements as part of a feature in Le Monde (France):
In response to systemic racial injustice, the need to reaffirm UPP’s commitment to anti-racist practices, and the specific concerns of many in the UPP community, including students, alums, and faculty, around departmental priorities, procedures, and pedagogy, department chair Prof. Joseph P. Viteritti, in consultation with the department’s governing body (the Personnel and Budget Committee, whose members include the directors of UPP’s three degree programs), the full faculty, and GUAPA, has established a Racial Justice Working Group, comprising five full-time faculty, two students, and two alums.
The faculty serving on the Working Group are Professors John Chin (chair), Matthew Lasner, Karina Moreno, Lily Pollans, and Sigmund Shipp. The student members are Hafizah Omar (MSUPL student) and Lorrayne (Lola) Vieira-Sullivan (MUP student and GUAPA officer). The alums are Dr. Calvin T. Brown (MUP 2002), Assistant Commissioner for Neighborhood Development at the New York City Department of Small Business Services, and Amina Hassen (MUP 2016), Senior Urban Planner at WXY Studio.
The Working Group, which will convene throughout the 2020-21 academic year and issue periodic updates, will serve as a hub for conversations among the faculty, between the faculty and students and alums, and between all UPP stakeholders and the college around urgent issues including recruitment of BIPOC students and instructors, the needs of BIPOC students, and program curricula.
The Working Group’s efforts complement those already underway by Hunter College’s Presidential Task Force to Advance Racial Equity. This Task Force was appointed over the summer by President Jennifer Raab to effect college-wide improvements in recruitment and admissions, curriculum, anti-racism training, and student support and pipeline programs, and to host public programs, such as the ongoing Speaking of Justice series. Two UPP faculty, Professors Vivian Louie and Sigmund Shipp, also serve on this Task Force, along with two UPP alums, Dr. Calvin T. Brown and Caitlin Ho (MSUPL 2016), Program Director for HCAP: the Hunter College AANAPISI Project.
The department has created the Racial Justice Working Group in acknowledgment of the critical need to achieve equity in the department, college, fields of urban policy and planning, and the wider community.
Prof. Victoria Johnson's review of a new book about animal welfare policy in New York City and the founding of the ASPCA was published online in The New York Times Book Review, September 16, 2020. It will appear in the print edition on Sunday, September 20.
Prof. John Chin and the Hunter College AANAPISI Project (HCAP) team were awarded two minority-serving institution (MSI) grants through the US Department of Education's Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) program. The two new grants represent $3.5 million in funding over a 5-year period. Hunter College was the only school east of Illinois to compete successfully for the funding and the only school in the US to receive two grants. Prof. Chin will serve as the Principal Investigator (PI) on the project, working with Prof. Paul McPherron (English) as Co-PI, and Caitlin Ho (MSUPL, 2016) as the HCAP Program Director. HCAP collaborates closely with Hunter's Asian American Studies Program and Center, led by UPP Prof. Vivian Louie. The two grants will fund programs that help high-need Asian American and Native Pacific Islander students succeed in college, particularly targeting students who come from low-income and immigrant families, have limited English proficiency, or are first-generation college goers (Asian/Pacific Islander students have the highest rate of first-generation college attendance among all ethnic/racial groups at Hunter College).
Professor Nicholas Bloom discussed public housing in New York as part of an extensive radio feature that aired in August on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/cruise-ships-in-the-sky-the-story-of-public-housing-high-rise/12573734
UPH Professor and affiliated UPP faculty member Philip Alcabes' essay" Race and Public Health: The coronavirus reveals how this country fails to relieve suffering" was published in The American Scholar magazine, September 5, 2020.
NASPAA, the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration — the global standard in public service education — has officially announced that it has accredited our MSUPL program. Click to read more.
The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) New York City Chapter has named Assistant Professor Karina Moreno President-Elect for 2020-2021 and President for 2021-2022.
MUP student Sola Olosunde unearthed video footage of white children taunting Black children in Rosedale, Queens, in 1975. After sharing the clip on social media, the New York Times spent months investigating, tracking several of the victims. The Times published its report in June crediting Sola in a separate, second article about the investigation.
This week, Olosunde is featured in, “He’s Sharing the Historical past of Black New York, One Tweet at a Time,” New York Times, August 12, 2020.
MUP student Conor Greene is awarded the 2020 Westchester Municipal Planning Federation (WMPF) scholarship
Associate Professor Laura Wolf-Powers was quoted in an article in the Real Deal, about a proposed new subsidy for owners of rent-regulated apartments in NYC.
On July 14th Graduate NYC announced the release of The State of College Readiness and Degree Completion in New York City. This report examines the progress that the NYC DOE and CUNY have made toward their respective goals of high school graduation and college readiness and degree completion since 2010, while also detailing comprehensive policy changes currently underway at CUNY. The report was made possible by a network of talented and dedicated colleagues, including Carrie Torres, MS UPL alum (2019). Carrie started working on this report in Spring 2019 as a Graduate Fellow responsible for data analysis and policy research.
MUP alum Amina Hassen (2018) is featured in the Fast Company article, "NYC’s new Black Lives Matter mural is more than art. It’s the future of urbanism"
UPH Professor and UPP Affiliated faculty member, Philip Alcabes, published a short piece in The American Scholar. The article links the shabby coronavirus response in the US to the continuing policy assault on the minority poor.
Hunter MUP alum Felicia Park-Rogers, Director of Regional Infrastructure Projects for Tri-State Transportation Campaign (TSTC), co-authored the organization's latest report, "Back on Board: A Guide to Safe(r) Transit in the Era of COVID," which provides a suite of over 50 interventions to promote a safer transit environment for riders and workers alike. Prof. John Chin served as an advisor on the report and participated in TSTC's press conference on June 17. The report has been covered in a variety of national and regional media outlets, including, The New York Daily News, Government Technology, Smart Cities Dive, The World Journal, and The NJ Star-Ledger.
MUP student Sola Olosunde unearthed video footage of white children taunting Black children in Rosedale, Queens, in 1975. After sharing the clip on social media, the New York Times spent months investigating, tracking several of the victims. The Times published its report this week, crediting Sola in a separate, second article about the investigation.
Prof. Sigmund Shipp has co-signed a response by Black planning faculty across the country to ACSP’s Statement Following the Killing of George Floyd. Read ACSP’s statement and Prof. Shipp’s response here.
Prof. Matthew Lasner has co-authored an editorial, Power to Witness, calling upon those who study the built environment, globally, to bear witness to racialized injustices and other systemic assaults on BIPOC and the right to peacefully protest.
UPP Alum Oriade Harbor (MS 2017) is quoted in a New York Times article on "How Black Police Officers Really Feel About the Floyd Protesters."
Police Officer Harbor, a transgender black man, notes that even though he often speaks out against what he sees as social injustice, when he does police work he is still seen as "part of the system that is oppressive to black people."
He further commented, "people treat me different in uniform, because they only see the uniform." He added, "At the end of the day I am a black person who dons a blue uniform. I am a trans male. I walk in all these words."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced this week that she is appointing UPP alum Angela Tovar (MUP, 2011) Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Chicago. Selected on the basis of a national search, the mayor's press release refers to Tovar's "unique policy skill set focused on racial equity, deep community relationships across the city and a demonstrated track record of combining environmental justice, public health and inclusive economic growth."
Prof. Lily Baum Pollans’s Environmental Justice class was awarded the ACSP/Lincoln Institute of Land Policy Award for Curriculum Innovation
Professor Jill Simone Gross has been selected for induction into the Distinguished Service Honor Roll of the Urban Affairs Association (UAA). The Honor Roll recognizes the UAA's "most impactful service leaders." Prof. Gross has been recognized for her efforts to expand the Associations "international" relationships, build a "global urban research community," and "substantively contribute to the strong foundations upon which the Association stands today, and by which it will be sustained in the future."
UPP Prof. Vivian Louie's opinion piece "Asian-American studies, more vital than ever: Coronavirus is a moment we should be learning" was published in the Daily News, May 19, 2019.
UPH Professor and UPP affiliated faculty member Philip Alcabes' most recent public-health-oriented article, Beyond Technical Fixes for Coronavirus, was published in The American Scholar, May 7, 2020.
Here are links to his prior essays, in case you missed them:
Coronavirus: This is not a Plague (4/6)
Anxiety of Culpability (3/31)
Coronavirus and its Costs (3/25)
Coronavirus as Crisis (3/20)
State of Vulnerability (3/15)
How to Think About the Coronavirus (3/10)
Associate Professor Laura Wolf-Powers has been named to the editorial board of the Journal of the American Planning Association.
St. Peter's University Professor and former UPP adjunct faculty member and MUP alum Philip Plotch's book, "Last Subway: The Long Wait for the Next Train in New York City" was recently released by Cornell University Press.
UPP Chair Joseph Viteritti is the author of, "Lessons from the Pandemic: The Coronavirus Crashes a New York City History Course," Gotham Gazette, April 17, 2020.
Prof. Nicholas Dagen Bloom's article, Upstate Summer Camps for City Kids: Start Planning Now, was published in the Gotham Gazette (April 13, 2020). It was also featured on Politico New York: https://www.politico.com/states/new-york/newsletters/politico-new-york-education/2020/04/14/50-doe-coronavirus-deaths-334031
Associate Professor Laura Wolf-Powers had an article published in the online journal PLATFORM, titled "Recovering Land Value to Advance Equity: Gowanus, Brooklyn as a Case in Point."
Associate Professor Laura Wolf-Powers was a featured speaker at an event sponsored by the Urban Design Forum on January 24th. The event explored the process that led to consensus around the rezoning of East Midtown in 2017 and addressed its applicability in other contexts.
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