Conferences + Workshops

OMAN PRACTICUM 2020 (Study Abroad with the Urban Design Lab)

Join the International Play Association (IPA) for their 21st Triennial world conference in Jaipur rescheduled for October/November 2021. I have the pleasure of Co-Leading the Technical Committee for Child-Friendly Cities and Communities with Ruchi Varma. Our event, like so many others during the novel coronavirus pandemic was rescheduled from fall 2020 and is pending the safe reopening of borders.

The International Play Association (IPA) is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961. IPA’s purpose is to protect, preserve and promote the child’s right to play (article 31, UNCRC) as a fundamental human right. IPA is at the forefront of developing a global understanding and increased visibility of right to play including promoting healthy, high quality play opportunities and environments.

Conferences are a important means by which IPA seeks to fulfil its purpose of maintaining an international cross sectoral forum to protect and promote a child’s right to play and facilitate the exchange of experiences, disseminate information and influence society. IPA has members in almost 50 countries, and branches in 13 countries including a newly formed branch in India.

APR 7-11 2021 – IASTE

IASTE is a unique forum for truly diverse and interdisciplinary academic discourse. I’ve volunteered with IASTE for the past 6 years (Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, and Coimbra) and am happy to serve the conference cycle as the Conference Coordinator for IASTE 2021 | Virtual Traditions: the transience of tradition in changing geographies and global landscapes. This conference has been rescheduled due to the impacts of the novel coronavirus to 7-11 April 2021 at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K.

Tradition has multiple forms, manifestations, and influences that shape the processes used to produce, transform, preserve, and consume built environments in synch with socio-cultural and economic change. Over the past 30 years, IASTE has helped shape the discourse around the political, cultural, economic, and legal frameworks of tradition. As successive generations hand down building traditions, the endurance of these traditions typically relies on the continuing significance of the built environment to the everyday life of communities, societies, and nations. Yet contemporary societies are increasingly confronted with new forms of communication that are mobile, digital, and remote, and hence the very notion of tradition is undergoing a rhetorical transition according to the new global economy and boundary-less conditions of citizenship that are influencing, mobilizing, and manipulating built environments.

With the predominance of mobile communication, social media, and online interaction, the terms “virtual” and “tradition” are no longer at opposite ends of cultural discourse, as they seemed to be a decade ago. Virtual space is developing socio-cultural norms that dictate everyday life, while built environments adapt to virtual events, spaces, and gatherings. IASTE 2020 Nottingham will explore how the mutual influences between the virtual and the traditional reconfigure new structures of communities, societies, and cities — extending and connecting built spaces. In an era defined by social media and online interaction, new agents manipulate traditions, values, myths, borders, and even the legitimacy of the built environment in virtual space. Scientific innovation, data-mining, algorithms, and spatial and digital modeling have thus led to new methods of interpretation and mechanisms of decision-making that force a reconsideration of the link between buildings and people, culture, and its consumers.

The organizers of IASTE 2021 Nottingham invite participants to revisit the notion, concepts and practices of tradition at a time when virtual and mobile interaction is increasingly dictating the terms of everyday life, at home, at work, and in the public sphere. Participants will investigate the intellectual dialogue and reciprocal influences at the intersection of physical and virtual landscapes, and reflect on how new methodologies, practices, policies, information technologies, and even the parallel presence of virtual space and cloud communications inform the meaning of tradition in the built environment. By examining alternative futures of tradition, the conference organizers anticipate a progressive inquiry and dialogue regarding the epistemological and philosophical basis of tradition. As in past IASTE conferences, we invite scholars, professionals, and practitioners from architecture, architectural history, urban design, art history, anthropology, archaeology, folklore, geography, history, planning, sociology, political science, urban studies, conservation, design, digital technologies, and related disciplines to submit papers that address one of the following tracks.

JUN 2020 – BEYOND 2020 – The UN World Sustainable Built Environment Conference

I have been invited to prepare a paper for this conference work with Save the Children, Philippines on building marginalized children’s urban resilience.

AUG 2019 – ISA RC 21 for Urban & Regional Development

I presented the paper, “Everyday Gathering in the Tech City: How the tradition of chai usurps the neoliberal patterns of the IT Campus typology in Hyderabad, India” at the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee 21 for Urban and Regional Development held in Delhi, India. The theme was Emerging Ontologies: In and Beyond the City.

Across the globe, cities surpass their own contours. Urban cores expand and intensify in size and height, and we see connectivities, nodes and enclaves involving new technologies, information flows, migrations, time/space compressions and everyday rhythms and experiences that defy known cartographies and categories. Meanwhile, a city’s decision makers, planners, politicians, representatives and all other agents who govern urban life face increasing challenges that exceed their tools of measurement and categorizations in unprecedented ways.

MAY 2019 – ARCC

I presented the paper, “Manila’s Resettlement Communities: How the Built Environment Structures Kid’s Social Lives” at ARCC 2019 – Future Praxis: Applied Research as a Bridge Between Theory and Practice in Toronto, CA with support from the University of Oregon Student Services Travel Scholarship. Thank you.

In the world of increasing complexity and competing ideas, approaches, resources and techniques, how does architecture mediate these tensions?  What is the role of academics and researchers in developing research outcomes that are meaningful and measurable?  What is the role of practicing designers (architects, engineers and scientists) in developing an applied research agenda in architecture?


MAY 2019 – EDRA

I will present the paper, “Neoliberal Subjectivities: Identity Formation and the Significance of Place” at EDRA50 – Sustainable Urban Environments: Research, Design, and Planning for the Next 50 Years in Brooklyn, NY with support from the Anthony Wong Scholarship. Thank you.

This conference will explore how environments at all scales can be designed in support of a more sustainable world. While cities are contributors to the causes of climate change and other environmental problems, the urban setting will be the proving ground for many of the solutions that address environmental, economic, social and behavioral issues across the globe. Environmental design research is integral to shaping urban design and changing environmental behavior at the global scale.

NOV 2018 – Urban Action School

I presented the lecture “Qualitative Research for Urban Issues” which was recorded and offered via open access and participated in the Urban Action School: Urban Commons and Right to the City at Osmania University in Hyderabad, India with support from ActionAid. Thank you.

Urban Action School (UAS) is an advanced course panning several fundamental facets of the ‘Urban’. This course is designed essentially as a mid career training for the mid and senior level activists, policy advocates, lawyers, journalists, researchers, and all categories of urban policy practitioners. UAS is intended for the benefit of action researchers and social activists, with the objective of building the knowledge base of the participants and to complement action research and field-based activism.

OCT 2018 – IASTE

I presented the paper, “The Neoliberal Landscape in Hyderabad, India: How Architectural Transformations in the Tech City Challenge Tradition & Identity” at IASTE 2018: The Politics of Tradition in Coimbra, Portugal with support from the IASTE Board of Directors. Thank you.

Past IASTE conferences have dealt with themes as diverse as Value, Myth, Utopia, Border and many others. This conference intends to prolong this collective reflection by foregrounding an examination of the ways in which the domain of the political and traditions in and of the built environment are intertwined. While the political in traditions has always been part of the debate at IASTE conferences, at a time of struggles globally around the meaning and the practices of political participation in making the built environment, it is valuable to address how the built environment has been shaped by state apparatuses or by citizens to advance diverse political positions, often deploying imaginaries of tradition, purportedly rejecting emerging spatial practices and political subjectivities. Consequently, the conference will offer reflections both on the importance of the concept of tradition for the political question in itself and on the ways in which variants of governance structures face the question of tradition in the built environment. Participants are encouraged to question the practice of tradition in the production of space in relation to different regimes of politics. In addition, the conference will examine the systems of politics as a category of tradition, reflecting on how the construction and deconstruction of professional political bodies act on the built environment.

JUL 2018 – Rural-Urban Entanglements in India Workshop Participant

On July 23rd and 24th a workshop on ‘Rural Urban Entanglements in India’ took place on the University of Hyderabad campus. Organized by University of Washington professor of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Priti Ramamurthy and University of Hyderabad professor Purendra Prasad, the workshop brought together graduate students and practicing scholars from India, France, and the US. Participants approached the rural-urban theme from many perspectives, addressing intersectional identity, labor, informal economies, urbanization, migration, and conflict.

JUL 2018 – ISPA

I presented the paper, “American Tiny-House Villages: Challenging Neoliberalism” at ISPA Building as Service: People, Politics, and Governance in Colorado Springs, CO; the paper was read by Carolyn Fahey.

Assuming that buildings are already intrinsically enmeshed within the governing body’s authority, can a single building work against that same authority? Can a building undermine an entire regime? Some may argue that the Berlin Wall marked the end of the Communist rule over Eastern Germany, but how much weight can a building hold on the integrity of a governing body? How effective, for instance, are efforts to rebuild Iraq? Considering that American contractors are building structures programmatically and aesthetically at odds with the resident socio-political climate, the very act of building in Iraq may be taken as an offense to the Iraqi nation-state. Although not all instances of international exchange are as contentious as this one, can architecture be incompatible with particular political concepts or systems?

The intent of this interdisciplinary conference is to gather a group of philosophers, architects, urban planners, and critics to consider these questions regarding building’s service to political ideologies, governing authorities, and socio-political contexts.

The event will be held in one of the most iconic and representative projects of the International Style of 20th century modern public architecture: Walter Netsch Jr.’s United States Air Force Academy – a premier education facility – in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The conference itself will be held in the latest addition to the Academy: the new Center for Leadership and Character Development—a 45 million dollar addition designed by SOM that remains true to Netsch’s original vision. The stunning new addition breathes new life into a pristinely preserved Modernist campus, a detailed analysis of which is featured in the Journal of the American Institute of Architects.

JUN 2018 – ARCC – EAAE

I presented the paper, “Creating Community: Housting Insecurity & the Tiny-House Village Model” at ARCC-EAAR 2018: Architectural Research for a Global Community in Philadelphia, PA with support from the University of Oregon Department of Architecture Doctoral Fellowship. Thank you.


JUL 2017 – SBSE Retreat Participant

Materials, buildings, neighborhoods, and cities are intricately connected by complex systems that are intended to provide comfort, beauty, and well-being. The 2017 retreat theme, CRAFT, focuses on tools, strategies, resources, and innovative design practices that we develop to inspire our students to create appropriate environments.

CRAFT is purposely intended to have multiple meanings—from hands-on sculpting or construction to create powerful low-energy design projects to matching theory to actual performance. In accordance with long-standing retreat tradition, participants will be asked to share their wealth of knowledge and procedure from their architecture programs or practices.

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