The McHarg Center

Designing the Political Landscape: Activism and Urbanism in the Trump Era

Thursday, August 30, 2018 6:00pm
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Meyerson Hall, 210 South 34th Street, Lower Gallery

Increasingly, the Trump Administration is exercising its power through spatial means, sowing chaos and despair across a broad spectrum of the American landscape. In January, the Administration’s decision to open many of our National Parks to oil and gas drilling--and to privitize signicant portions of our other public lands--sparked a mass resignation from the National Park Service Advisory Board. More recently, the Administration's family separation policy has involved the use of prisons, holding centers, and military installations to detain immigrant children in designed spaces and landscapes (to say nothing of the unending calls for a massive border wall along the U.S.-Mexico Border).

Though the Architecture Lobby and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility have issued forceful statements in opposition to these acts, the design community has otherwise remained conspicuously quiet on issues that are fundamental to the present and future of our professions.

Simply calling one’s design “activist” isn't enough. The challenges posed not only by this Administration, but by the simmering threat of climate change, demand more.

In light of this, The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology at PennDesign welcomes May Boeve, executive director of, in conversation with Councilwoman Helen Gym (City of Philadelphia), Mark Gardner (J/GA and The New School), Barbara Brown-Wilson (UVA), and Billy Fleming (McHarg) for its fall public forum: “Designing the Political Landscape: Activism, Urbanism, and Design in the Trump Era.” As one of the few women figureheads in the U.S. environmental movement, Boeve was recently dubbed 'the new face of the climate movement' by The Guardian.