Architecture, The City and Democratic Capitalism

10/24/19, 8:00AM

  • Thursday, October 24, 2019
    8:00AM - 5:00PM
    Town & Gown

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For 100 years, USC Architecture faculty and graduates have pushed beyond the traditional boundaries of the field to pioneer many paradigm-shifting new practices of architecture. In its 100th year, USC Architecture inaugurates three consecutive symposia exploring the major issues confronting our constituencies: Architecture, The City and Democratic Capitalism (fall 2019); Technology / Public Spheres (spring 2020); and Mechanisms of Social Control (fall 2020). 


Our fall 2019 symposium, Architecture, The City and Democratic Capitalism, explores the tenets of a democracy based in capitalism and the contemporary implications of that system on the development and ideation of architecture, urban design and landscape. We have come to understand John Rawls’ idealized version of the egalitarian society as articulated in his Theory of Justice as a singular blueprint for resource distribution to achieve the most equitable society, yet new work in political philosophy on egalitarianism reveals vital cultural work in flattening social hierarchies as even more relevant and urgent than the redistribution of resources. The collective future in the urban life spheres of the global community require a shared prism from which to understand basic human rights, how to distribute limited resources, and how to prioritize what different humans value.


The symposium convenes leading thinkers to discuss three interconnected topics: 1) income inequality and community reinvestment; 2) housing, displacement and justice; and 3) planetary warming, technology and resilience. Each panel, made up of an eclectic group of panelists, will articulate positions and questions that no single discipline can answer. Therefore, an additional and important component of the symposium is to seek ideas on how to integrate these questions into our core and elective curricula. 



8:00-9:15 AM


9:15-9:30 AM


Milton S. F. Curry, Dean / Della & Harry MacDonald Dean’s Chair in Architecture

9:30-11:00 AM


Basic income, the right to housing, and the right to the city—are these ideals whose time has come, or are they inimical to the capitalist credos of individualism? What are the consequences for conventional real estate development and public/civic infrastructure for cities?


MODERATOR: Frank Muscara, Former Executive VP, Wells Fargo Bank     

Juliana Uhuru Bidadanure, Assistant Professor, Stanford Philosophy

Andreas Christopolus, Director, Yeshiva University Real Estate Program

Annette M. Kim, Associate Professor and Director, Spatial Analysis Lab

Martin Muoto, CEO, SoLA Rentals


11:15 AM-12:15 PM


Scott Kurashige, Professor, University of Washington Bothell


12:15-1:30 PM



1:30-2:30 PM


In Los Angeles, Mexico City, Islamabad, Detroit and Houston, housing displacement and gentrification occur at all class levels yet deliver disparate impacts on specific communities and persons. What can we learn from diverse approaches towards building equitably with housing as a catalyst for equity?


CO-MODERATORS: Geoffrey von Oeyen, Assistant Professor of Practice, USC Architecture // Maria Esnaola Cano, Architect and Lecturer, USC Architecture       

Andrew Herscher, Associate Professor, University of Michigan Taubman College

Lorcan O’Herlihy, FAIA, Adjunct Professor, USC Architecture

Rick Lowe, Founding Director, Project Row Houses

Faiza Moatasim, Assistant Professor of Architecture, USC Architecture

Arturo Ortiz, Architect and Artist, Mexico City


2:45-4:15 PM


Will solutions to planetary warming unleash a new colonialism in appropriation of lands and ecologies or unleash a new form of globalized cooperation? Is the environment to be re-thought as a system to serve human desires or a mechanism for altering conventional boundaries between species? What are implications for cities, ecosystems and economies as “resilient” responses to the climate crisis consume more and more political and social capital?


MODERATOR: Alison B. Hirsch, Associate Professor and MLA Program Director, USC Architecture

Andrea Chegut, Co-Founder, MIT Real Estate Lab

Kyle Konis, Assistant Professor of Architecture, USC Architecture

Mia Lehrer, President, Studio-MLA

Shawn Rickenbacker, Director, J. Max Bond Center for Urban Futures at CUNY    


4:15-4:45 PM




This symposium was made possible thanks to generous support provided by the Ned and Nancy Fox Urban Design Critic Endowment.

Related Links: USC Architecture Celebrates 100 Years of Innovation & Impact