Press Room

EARTH DAY 1970/2017: A Forum on Global Urbanization, Biodiversity and Policy

With Frederick Steiner, Richard Weller, Genie Birch

Friday, April 21, 2017, 4:00pm
Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, 4th floor, Fisher Fine Arts Building, 220 South 34th Street, Philadelphia
Reception: Meyerson Plaza, 210 South 34th Street, Philadelphia (5:30 – 8:00pm)

PHILADELPHIA—On April 22, 1970, thousands descended on Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park for Earth Day, which was organized by a group of Penn students. Among the headliners were PennDesign faculty member Ian McHarg—whose 1969 book Design with Nature pioneered the concept of ecological planning—fellow faculty member Lewis Mumford, Ralph Nader, Paul Erlich, and the cast of the Broadway musical Hair. Fast forward to 1992: At the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, 196 countries sign on to the United Nations’ Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) committing to reach a global target of 17% protected wilderness area by 2020. To celebrate Earth Day 2017, Martin and Margy Meyerson Chair of Urbanism and Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture Richard Weller unveils his Atlas for the End of the World, a collection of maps which survey land use and urban growth in relation to the United Nations targets.

Weller is joined by PennDesign Dean Frederick Steiner, who was among the organizers of one of the first Earth Day events, and Eugenie Birch, Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Co-Director of Penn IUR. Birch leads sustainable development efforts for the UN as Chair, UN-HABITAT’s World Urban Campaign, and President, General Assembly of Partners.

Presented by the Office of the Dean at PennDesign, Penn IUR, and PennDesign Student Council.

Eugénie Birch is the Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. She is the founding co-director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research, dedicated to integrative research and instruction in sustainable urban development. She is co-editor of Penn Press’s The City in the 21st Century series that has published more than twenty volumes since 2005. She also currently acts as chair of the Board of Directors of the Municipal Art Society of New York, co-chair of the UN-HABITAT’s World Urban Campaign, and chair of Emerging Issues, Planning Trends Task Force at the American Planning Association. She has been active in the field’s professional organizations and in academia in the United States and abroad. She is a member of the U.S. National Committee for Habitat, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Thematic Group on Resilient Cities, and an Associate Editor, Journal of the American Planning Association. Birch received her AB in history from Bryn Mawr College and both her Masters and PhD in Urban Planning from Columbia University.

Frederick Steiner is Dean and Paley Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Most recently, he served as Dean of the School of Architecture and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin for 15 years. He previously taught at Penn and the following institutions: Arizona State University, Washington State University, the University of Colorado at Denver. He was a visiting professor of landscape architecture at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Dean Steiner was a Fulbright-Hays scholar at Wageningen University, The Netherlands and a Rome Prize Fellow in Historic Preservation at the American Academy in Rome. During 2013-2014, he was the William A. Bernoudy Architect in Residence at the American Academy in Rome. He is a Fellow of both the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, and a Scholar at the Penn Institute for Urban Research. Dean Steiner earned a Master of Community Planning and a B.S. in Design from the University of Cincinnati, and his Ph.D. and M.A. in city and regional planning and a Master of Regional Planning from PennDesign.

Richard Weller is the Martin and Margy Meyerson Chair of Urbanism and Professor and Chair of Landscape Architecture at PennDesign. He is also Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Australia and former Director of the Australian Urban Design Research Centre (AUDRC). He has received a consistent stream of international design competition awards at all scales of landscape architecture and urban design. Throughout his career he has worked simultaneously as an academic and a consultant specializing in the formative stages of projects ranging from gardens to plazas, memorials, museums, suburbs and waterfronts. Weller’s research projects have involved scenario planning for cities, megaregions and nations and his current work concerns the application of United Nations (CBD) biodiversity targets. He has published 5 books, over 90 single-authored papers and is the Creative Director of the interdisciplinary journal of landscape architecture LA+.