The Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design is pleased to announce the 2017 class of Loeb Fellows. This year’s diverse group of outstanding professionals is disrupting political exclusion in refugee camps, overturning longstanding social inequities in rust-belt cities, democratizing telecommunications infrastructure, and raising design expectations in the cities of Ethiopia. They are helping elders contribute to climate resilient communities, restoring the natural hydrologic ecosystems in cities, and promoting environmental justice and food security.
Their upcoming year at the Harvard Graduate School of Design–and their membership in a worldwide network of practitioners supporting equity and social justice through the built and natural environment–is certain to elevate their work and broaden its social impact.
Introducing the new Loeb Fellows
As diversity and community affairs manager at Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority, Karen Abrams creates civic engagement tools to encourage participation by the city’s most vulnerable residents in decision making processes that directly impact them. Her Toolkit Projects use art and design to help low income communities of color address land use and design challenges and reimagine their neighborhoods. During her Loeb year she will explore just and inclusive development and design practices to help mitigate the negative effects of climate change and demographic shifts.
Greta Byrum, director of the Resilient Communities Program at the NY policy institute New America, envisions design, control, and distribution of telecommunications infrastructure that democratizes technology. Her collaborative projects around the US demonstrate how community-led technologies can support digital justice, expand social capital, and strengthen climate resiliency. As a Loeb Fellow she will form cross-disciplinary collaborations to envision more effective communications systems that support the design of communities facing systemic inequity and climate risk.
Born in Japan and working internationally from Washington, DC, Emi Kiyota founded the non-profit Ibasho to foster places of belonging and purpose for seniors. She recognized that while elders are a vulnerable population, especially in times of disaster, they also want to remain connected and useful to their communities. With that in mind, following the 2011 Japan tsunami she designed and built the first Ibasho café, where all generations come together for services and support. While replicating the model in other countries, she will also be working on reimagining communities to enhance the functional competence and engagement of older adults and promote cross-cultural multigenerational learning.
As architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and professor in practice at the University of Texas at Arlington, Mark Lamster champions progressive policies, preservation, and higher design standards for all citizens. While elevating the city’s conversation on architecture and urban planning, his writing pressured its leadership to create a preservation task force and new ordinances safeguarding the city's landmarks. He is looking forward to expanding his planning policy and urban design knowledge and focusing on housing, equitable economic policies, and uses of landscape architecture for urban revitalization.
Pallavi Kalia Mande leads the Blue Cities Initiative at the Charles River Watershed Association in Boston, with the goal of restoring the natural hydrologic function and ecosystem of the city. By emphasizing community collaboration, her urban design and planning projects have had multiple social impacts: promoting environmental justice for vulnerable populations, reducing conflicts over water resources, and building thriving local economies. She is looking to the multidisciplinary connections and learning of the Loeb year to enable her to expand the Blue Cities approach to influence design, planning, and policy discourse at the global scale.
David Molander is a Swedish artist dividing his time between Stockholm and NY, who collects, dissects, and reconstructs the built environment to link it to history, ideology, cognitive space, and living memory. Presented through a variety of media and contexts–artifacts, public installations, film, print publications, lectures, and online forms–his work raises crucial questions of how and why we build our cities and who makes the decisions. During his Loeb year, Molander proposes to further develop the civic participation and presence of his work and apply his distinctive mapping method to understand the visions, projects, research, and impact of an institution dedicated to the built environment: the Harvard GSD.
Disturbed by the prolonged political and social exclusion he saw among residents in Palestinian refugee camps, Alessandro Petti, an Italian working in the West Bank, intervened by co-creating Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency and Campus in Camps. The result is self-organized studies and practicums established by participants’ urgent interests, university courses delivered by a consortium of local and international universities, an architectural studio, and an art residency program. Petti looks to the Fellowship as an occasion to further explore the "Architecture of Exile" and for spreading–not a model–but a certain intellectual and ethical approach to working in refugee communities.
Emmanuel Pratt, cofounder of the Sweet Water Foundation in Chicago’s South Side transforms waste–of people, materials, physical spaces, and time–into community resources. Operating at the intersection of architecture, art, urban design, and social praxis, he views urban agriculture as the solution to achieve food security, neighborhood stabilization, and ecological sustainability for vulnerable communities. The resources and faculty of the GSD will enable him to hone and present his theoretical framework and develop a policy, zoning, and land use strategy for a specific site.
Architect Rahel Shawl has elevated design expectations within the frenzied building boom in the cities of Ethiopia. The firm she founded in Addis Ababa is a leading voice in promoting a dialogue about an architecture that is equitable, true to its environment and users, and sensitive both to traditional and contemporary architectural approaches. She anticipates dividing her time at the GSD between mentoring students interested in international public interest design and working on her own leadership skills for an international audience.
Loeb Fellows represent the broadest spectrum of accomplished practitioners who are influential in shaping the built and natural environment: architects and landscape architects, urban planners and journalists, public artists and affordable housing developers. Since 1971, they have come from around the world to the Harvard Graduate School of Design with a common purpose: to strengthen their ability to advance positive social outcomes and to make the world a better place for all. After stepping away from their hectic professional lives for a transformative Fellowship year in residence, they join a powerful worldwide network of over 450 colleagues and friends. The connections, collaborations and learning are there for a lifetime.