Reshaping the Intersection: Living and Learning Difference and Coexistence in the City

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Urban planning and design are often approached as an intersection of various fields. However, this bustling intersection has remained complicit in societies built from structural racism, patriarchy, and economic exploitation. The goal of this student-led webinar is to assist in reshaping this intersection, and to explore how this intersection can evolve to respect, empathize, and empower the communities that have been left at the margins of the field. This webinar will be split into two back-to-back sections:

Students and speakers will talk about what made us interested in cities and how our experiences have been as planners (or budding planners) pushing against the grain.

We will explore the ways through which planning and design education can transform to build the foundations for a more just and anti-racist future.

Please join us in this interactive event. We will have breakout rooms in the middle of the program where attendees can discuss among each other and an audience question and answer session.

Register here for the event.



Kellen Cooks is a rising sophomore in the urban and regional studies program from Ossining, NY, with a minor in Public Policy. On campus, he’s involved in multiple a capella groups, Collective X (Cornell’s magazine addressing the intersection of fashion, media, and social justice), the Organization for Urban and Regional Studies, along with AAP Ambassadors. His academic interests lie within the worlds of urban housing justice, the visual aesthetics of gentrification, equity in economic development, and black geographies.

Thomas Petluck is a rising sophomore in the urban and regional studies program with a double minor in Policy Analysis Management and Demography. Growing up, both in the Bronx and Westchester County, Thomas’ interest in urbanism came from witnessing the differing social stigmas associated with public transportation between those two locales, and plans to critically examine transportation and sociology intersections in the future. On campus, Thomas is involved in notable communication roles with both university-wide and AAP-wide admission initiatives.

Ayana Smith is a rising sophomore in the urban and regional studies program with an intended minor in education and a Hunter R. Rawlings III Cornell Presidential Research Scholar. Her academic interests lie in housing policy and educational attainment, school zoning policy and de facto segregation, and transportation education. On campus, Ayana conducts transportation-related research and is a member of the Organization for Urban and Regional Studies and the Cornell Book Review. Off-campus, Ayana interns for GO ITHACA, a transportation management association in Ithaca, NY, and is a leader in the education justice organization Student Voice.

Main Speakers:

Justin Garrett Moore is a transdisciplinary designer and urbanist and serves as the executive director of the New York City Public Design Commission. He has extensive experience in architecture, urban design, and planning, from large-scale urban policies and projects to grassroots and community-based planning, design, and arts initiatives.

Ernst Valery is the founder and president of SAA, EVI affiliate Ernst Valery Investments Corp. (EVI), a private, minority-owned real estate investment firm established in 2001. He is an alumnus of Cornell's Urban and Regional Studies program, and has been active in social entrepreneurship work with the MIT Community Innovators Lab.

Guest Speaker:

Dr. Jennifer Minner is an Associate Professor in Cornell AAP’s Department of City and Regional Planning. Her teaching and research is focused on connections between preservation, city planning, and additional methods and forms of knowledge in the interest of collectively envisioning and building equitable and just places. She brings people together to conduct research in the Just Places Lab.


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