Justice and Belonging at Weitzman: Beyond DEI

A handful of elderly Chinese men in Taiziwan Park in Hangzhou
THE HOMETOWNS PROJECT – CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
This is the JXB Zine – a bi-monthly roundup of curiosities and conversations curated by JXB Director Matt Miller – where we publicly ask ourselves, “How can Weitzman be more culturally welcoming, socially accountable, and intellectually transformative?” in the work of design and in the world of e
Matt Miller
This spring, Matt Miller, a post-doctoral fellow who teaches in the Department of City and Regional Planning and is better known as Dr. Matt, was appointed to the newly-created role of director of Justice and Belonging (JxB). His appointment, which began July 1, creates a focal point for work undertaken at all levels of the School to make Weitzman more welcoming, socially accountable, and intellectually transformative for current and former students, faculty and staff members. In the first part of a three-part interview, Miller talks about growing up in the Bay Area, his path to planning and to Penn, and his vision for a more inclusive student experience.
Graphic w two circles and the words Justice and Belonging separated by a large X
A year ago, the murder of George Floyd – and so many others – amid a global pandemic shook our country and catalyzed many conversations about anti-racism in our Department. On this one-year anniversary, postdoctoral fellow and inaugural Director of Justice x Belonging Dr. Matt Miller shares his 30+ page report “Toward Justice & Belongingness in PennPlanning” recounting and memorializing our thoughts in the form of a collective vision and an emerging plan generated from dozens of generous thinkers. 
Potted cactuses next to a road with powerlines in the distance
At the end of this month, New York’s Museum of Modern Art will open Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America, which includes 10 newly-commissioned works by architects, designers, and artists that are proposals for an intervention in one of 10 cities. Reconstructions is MoMA’s first exhibition to address the work of Black architects and designers. In addition to the commissioned projects, the curators, Mabel O. Wilson and Sean Anderson, asked David Hartt, Carrafiell Assistant Professor in Fine Arts, to create a photo essay for the catalog and a film for the exhibition that would explore the idea of Black space. 
The JXB Logo with text reading "The Podcast" below in black
The Justice & Belonging Initiative at the Weitzman School of Design would like to invite interested individuals to engage with our design community for our inaugural podcast season in production during the Spring of 2022.
An African American man and young girl seated in front of a black and gold mural

Miller describes himself as a photographer, storyteller, and geographer, and since 2018 he has published work on Instagram at @BlackUrbanism to preserve “the complexity in Black lives by visualizing the Where, When, and Why.”

This spring, Matt Miller, a post-doctoral fellow who teaches in the Department of City and Regional Planning and is better known as “Dr. Matt,” was appointed to the newly-created role of director of Justice and Belonging (JxB). His appointment, which began July 1, creates a focal point for work undertaken at all levels of the School to make Weitzman more welcoming, socially accountable, and intellectually transformative for current and former students, faculty and staff members. In the second part of a three-part interview, Miller talks about how to approach anti-racist work on an individual level, the role for consensus building and design thinking in this work, and the need to move the conversation beyond diversity, equity and inclusion.
Robert Gerard Pietrusko and Jamaal Green
Pietrusko is expected to join the Department of Landscape Architecture as an associate professor on the tenure track beginning January 1, 2022, and Green the Department of City and Regional Planning as an assistant professor on the tenure track beginning on July 1, 2022. Green joined Weitzman as a postdoctoral fellow in 2020 and will continue in that role through the upcoming academic year.
A middle aged man in a business suit stands on a rocky shore, looking at the ocean

Photo courtesy Julian Abele, Jr. and Patty Susnitzky

In March of 2021, a group of Abele’s living descendants, including his son, Julian Abele, Jr., and his great grand-niece and -nephew Susan Cook and Peter Cook, joined a virtual panel celebrating the life of their long-overlooked forebear, the first Black student to graduate from Penn’s architecture program.
Julian Francis Abele, c. 1927

Image courtesy University Archives & Records Center at Penn

Among the Weitzman School’s latest efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion within our community and the design professions, the School has established the Julian Abele Fellowship in Architecture, which will be given annually to a graduate architecture student or students once the fund is fully endowed. The Fellowship is named for the first Black architect to graduate from Penn.