Damon Rich (Hector): Power Moves

A colorful piece of art featuring a variety of cartoon people on a white background.

Park Powers Postcard photo / 2016–17 by Hector, Philadelphia Mural Arts Restored Spaces, Philadelphia Youth Network, and SEAMAAC

2018 Clarence Stein Lecture

Damon Rich is a partner at Hector, an urban design, planning, and civic arts practice. Hector's recent projects include designing a neighborhood park in one of Philadelphia's most diverse neighborhoods, constructing a housing crisis learning center at the Queens Museum, and creating a memorial for eco-feminist Sister Carol Johnston.

Rich has worked in municipal government as chief of staff for capital projects for New York City Parks, and planning director and chief urban designer for the City of Newark, where he led design negotiations involving more than $2 billion of real estate development, completed the city's first riverfront parks, and drafted and implemented a comprehensive update to the city's zoning regulations. Rich is the founder of the Center for Urban Pedagogy, an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that uses art and design to increase meaningful civic engagement, where he served as president for 10 years.

Rich's work has been recognized by the MacArthur Foundation Fellows Program, American Planning Association National Planning Award, Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, the Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Studies, the MacDowell Colony Fellowship, and the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies. His projects have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Queens Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and the United States Pavilion at the 2008 Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Rich teaches architecture and planning at schools including Harvard University, Barnard College, The Cooper Union, and Syracuse University, and has written about architecture and real estate for Perspecta, Metropolis, Architecture, Domus, and the Village Voice, among other publications.

Abstract:

"Up to that time in America, our attack on housing had been regulatory — legal don'ts. I went . . . in search of more constructive action."

~Clarence Stein, Toward New Towns for America

Making decisions about how we plan and build the world materializes human relationships and conflicts. How do we planners, architects, and designers navigate, negotiate, and narrate these power relations over and in the environment? What can we learn from popular educators and community organizers to correct our own record of power evasion? When can these lessons help designing and building with roots in organized communities? For the inaugural Clarence Stein Lecture in CRP, designer, urban planner, and recent MacArthur Fellow Damon Rich will share practitioner's progress and pitfalls on the way to more democratically powered environments.