Slums: New Visions for an Enduring Global Phenomenon

Location: Harvard Graduate School of Design & Harvard Center for Government and International Studies (CGIS)

There are very few signs that slums will transition out of the urban landscape in the foreseeable future. Even after more than one and a half centuries of policy interventions, starting from efforts to address the effects of industrialization in Europe, slums persist in almost every geography on the planet. Slums are not only visible in the Global South, but are reappearing in old and new manifestations in the Global North. Their persistence can be linked to a number of political and economic failures to effectively address poverty and inequality, distorted land markets, and systemic social exclusion. These failures are, in turn, rooted in the very way policymakers, global media, and intellectuals conceptualize and represent how, why, and by whom slums are produced, maintained, and reproduced. Slums continue to be imagined as urban aberrations, something that falls outside of (or delinked from) urban ecologies.

Slums: New Visions for an Enduring Global Phenomenon is a symposium being held at Harvard University from September 20-22, 2018 that will challenge participants to discuss the range of perceptions and systemic changes needed to re-imagine integrative urban and social landscapes, as well as the labor and land markets that most often underpin the formation of slums. Over three days, the symposium seeks to advance new policy, financial, design, and educational tools that can both improve existing slums and generate alternatives to future ones.

The symposium starts on the evening of Thursday, September 20, with a keynote at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (48 Quincy Street) and continues on Friday and Saturday, September 21 and 22 at the Harvard Center for Government and International Studies (South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street).

FULL AGENDA (revised 9/17/18)


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Jose Baravelli, Tereza Architechture and Urbanism

Martha Chen, Harvard Kennedy School and WIEGO

Michael Cohen, The New School

Alejandro de Castro Mazarro, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (2019)

Fernando de Mello, URBEM Institute of Urbanism and Studies for the Metropolis

Alejandro Echeverri, Center for Urban and Environmental Studies of EAFIT University; Former Loeb Fellow

Brodwyn Fischer, University of Chicago

George Galster, Wayne State University

Sumila Gulyani, The World Bank

Alejandro Haiek Coll, Lab.Pro.Fab and Umeå University

Chris Herbert, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

Jorge Francisco Liernur, University Torcuato di Tella

David Luberoff, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

Ranjani Mazumdar, Jawaharlal Nehru University

George McCarthy, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Rahul Mehrotra, Harvard Graduate School of Design and RMA Architects

Sheela Patel, Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres

Janice Perlman, The Mega-Cities Project

Edgar Pieterse, African Centre for Cities

Lyvia Rodriguez, Executive Director, El Cano Martin Pena ENLACE Project

Enrique Silva, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Martim O. Smolka, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Michael Uwemedimo, Collaborative Media Advocacy Platform and University of Roehampton

Charlotte Vorms, University of Paris

Peter Ward, University of Texas at Austin

 Jake Wegmann, University of Texas at Austin

Theresa Williamson, Catalytic Communities

Nicholas You, Global Business Alliance

M. Lorena Zárate, Habitat International Coalition