Growth and Structure of Cities Department Concludes 40th-Anniversary Celebration With Exhibition

Posted April 28th, 2011 at 11:35 am.

Bryn Mawr’s Growth and Structure of Cities Department concludes celebrations of its 40th anniversary with a show of student and alumnae/i work and a reception for faculty, students, and graduates on Friday, April 29, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the Goodhart atrium and Hepburn Teaching Theater. All interested faculty, students, and staff from the Tri-College community are cordially invited to the exhibit and reception.

Represented in the show are four decades of architects, planners, construction managers and engineers, urban historians, landscape designers, community organizers, writers, and others whose careers have involved them in analyzing or helping to create the built environment.

Images from the exhibition:

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Julie Beckman '95

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Emily Grigg-Saito '04

Founded as an interdisciplinary program in the 1970s by Barbara Miller Lane with the assistance of colleagues from Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges, Cities has grown over the years in interests, faculty, studentss and alumnae/i. More than 500 students have graduated with Cities as their major, in addition to hundreds who have shared courses, activities, and interests. In addition to the graduates featured in the exhibition, other Cities majors have forged paths in medicine, law, film, journalism, public health, social sciences, business, public service, and other fields.

A full history of the program can be found on the Cities website.

Celebrations of the 40th anniversary began early in the 2010-11 academic year with a series of dinner research talks at which faculty shared current projects with students and each other. Next was a lecture by Professor Emeritus Barbara Miller Lane, noted architectural historian, titled “Why Study Houses?” Lane emphasized the dominant importance of houses and housing in the cityscape, outlined the role of dwelling design in her own publications, and gave some examples of her current research on American builders’ houses of the 1950s and 1960s.

In March, architect Marianne Cusato, internationally known creator of the “Katrina Cottages,” lectured on “Design and Planning in Times of Natural and Economic Crisis.” Cusato pointed to the double-edged character of 20th-century disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Along with the natural causes of each, she said, the human element has been decisive in survival and recovery. Strong and healthy societies and political entities, she suggested, give thorough attention to good housing and infrastructure, and so are able to rebound from natural disasters and sometimes even become more creative. In her lecture, and in a panel discussion with Cities Department faculty and alumnae/i, Cusato called upon future architects and planners to meet the challenges of ensuring sound housing for all levels of society in the future.

The exhibition in the Goodhart atrium and Teaching Theater reveals the commitment of Cities graduates to these and similar challenges presented by studying and/or seeking to improve the urban built environment. It shows that Cities graduates have followed individual paths, sometimes broadening connections across disciplines to provide diverse pathways. They are the heirs of the interdisciplinary Cities curriculum, and of its faculty members’ efforts to encourage critical thinking and civic engagement.

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