During Meet the Loebs Week, the 10 new Fellows introduced themselves to the GSD and Harvard community in a series of mini-lectures, grouped by common themes: “Agitating Communities,” “Resiliency in the 21st Century,” and “Community Power and Leadership.” The Fellows described their personal and professional backgrounds and invited the community to join them in answering new questions and challenges over the course of the year.
Andrew Howard uses creativity, smarts, and a love of cities to create “Better Blocks.” He’s passionate about tactical disruptions for civic engagement and lasting change. “You have to show up, give it a name, and challenge the rules.”
Shahira Fahmy is a talented and fiercely driven designer. From bus stops to houses to nightclubs, her architectural practice has pushed boundaries and staked a space in her home country of Egypt. She’ll use her fellowship year to reflect on the political upheaval and the role for design, posing the question: “How is the political played out in the physical city?”
Kolu Zigbi is a food systems thinker and grantmaker. She’s constantly contemplating the scale, shape, and scope of food systems and how they can better nourish and serve communities. She poses fundamental questions for her Fellowship year: “Can food systems be just? What does a just food system look like on the ground?”
Resiliency for the 21st Century
Scott Campbell is a community advocate and conservation advocate. Through his leadership of Palmer Land Trust in Colorado, Scott sees conservation as a “critical community development tool for marginalized communities.”
Thaddeus Pawlowski has long been pushing the bounds of urban design. From his work in the City of New York, Thaddeus has leveraged the importance of urban design, making the argument to neighbors and mayors alike. He brings resilience down to the most tangible level and asks, “Tell me about your house.”
Maria Jaakkola has a careful eye – whether for landscapes, places, or the makings of a “good city.” A talented artist, landscape architect and acclaimed city planner, she will use this year to explore the role of open spaces in citymaking, asking fundamental questions: “What kind of open space? How much is truly enough?”
Community Power and Leadership
Marc Norman loves a complicated project. He has worked in numerous roles in community development– banker, real estate developer, planner–always committed to the complication and satisfaction of building affordable housing. His Fellowship year will be dedicated to a broad yet clear initiative: “Designing Affordability.”
Through design, historic preservation, and community engagement, Jamie Blosser's work in the historic pueblos of the Southwest has opened important dialogues and avenues for community empowerment in native communities. She is eager to continue to interrogate her role and responsibility and contemplate the impact of design and planning: “How do we talk about impact or scale? How do we understand the breadth or depth of our work?”
LaShawn Hoffman is all about “people and place.” As executive director of the Pittsburgh Community Improvement Association in Atlanta, he developed a broad and encompassing view of community, linking in new local partners and federal projects to improve the neighborhood, home by home. Hoffman is committed to bolstering strategies for connecting “civic infrastructure and community development.”
Gísli Marteinn Baldursson is full of surprises. A talk show host and former city councilor, his unusual career path has been rooted in his love of cities and a willingness to throw himself fully into a challenge. As a Loeb Fellow, he will work to understand the planning process in a systematic way, outlining the community engagement needed to pursue “big projects” from the very beginning.
Meet the Loebs Week also gave Mark Mulligan, interim curator of the Loeb Fellowship, the opportunity to introduce himself in his capacity as “the new Jim Stockard,” as he stated with a laugh. An associate professor in practice of architecture and previous program director for the GSD’s Master in Architecture Degree, Mulligan is an integral part of the GSD community, now stepping into a new leadership role. Mulligan energetically encouraged students in the audience to take advantage of the immense resources offered by the Fellows. “For this year,” Mulligan reminded, “they’re yours.”
Photo by Maggie Janik