John Reps Memorial

A group of people sitting in an auditorium with a man standing at a podium in a suit.
John Reps (right) giving a lecture as part of the Thomas Mackesey Lecture Series in the Olive Tjaden Auditorium, 1982. photo / provided
A man standing next to a map sitting on a table with another map on the right side of him.
John Reps took great interest in a range of representations of urban spaces, geographies, & landscapes around the world. Over the course of his career, he amassed an extensive collection of illustrations & prints, maps & plans, & documentary photographs. Left: John Reps, image / Thomas Reps; right: image / Historic Urban Plans Collection
John Reps (right) giving a lecture as part of the Thomas Mackesey Lecture Series in the Olive Tjaden Auditorium, 1982. photo / provided John Reps took great interest in a range of representations of urban spaces, geographies, & landscapes around the world. Over the course of his career, he amassed an extensive collection of illustrations & prints, maps & plans, & documentary photographs. Left: John Reps, image / Thomas Reps; right: image / Historic Urban Plans Collection

John Reps Memorial

Please join us for a memorial lecture and panel discussion in memory of Professor Emeritus John W. Reps. Reps was a fixture in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University for over 70 years. After graduating as part of the first class of students to confer master's degrees in city and regional planning at Cornell in 1947, and several years of study in England both at the University of Liverpool and the London School of Economics, Reps returned to Ithaca in 1951 to join the planning department as a member of the faculty. His service to CRP took almost every form imaginable. Reps taught lecture courses and seminars and chaired the department for twelve years, acting simultaneously as the department secretary as well as director of admissions, commencement, and scheduling as he wrote books and papers, documented cities and towns, and collected historical city plans.

Professor Thomas J. Campanella, MLA '91 (AAP), will begin the proceedings with a brief overview of the life and work of John Reps.

The memorial lecture titled "Planning in an Era of Rapid Urbanization:  The Case of Indonesia" will be presented by Professor Christopher Silver, University of Florida. The lecture will be presented in person in the Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium, Milstein Hall. The lecture is open to members of the Cornell community who are actively completing the Daily Check. The lecture will also be live-streamed. Please see The John Reps Memorial Lecture tab for more details.

Following a brief intermission, a panel of former students will present on the work and legacy of the late John Reps. This panel will be held online via Zoom. Please see the Panel Discussion tab for more details. After this panel, please join us for a virtual reception where we invite guests to share memories and stories of John.

Schedule of events

Lecture

12:25–2:20 p.m.

Milstein Auditorium/Livestream

Panel Discussion

3:00–4:00 p.m.

Available on Zoom

Virtual Reception

4:00–5:00 p.m.

Available on Zoom

This memorial is sponsored by the Russell Van Nest Black Lecture Fund and by generous gifts from Ms. Marte Reps, Dr. Thomas Reps, and Dr. Vukan Vuchic, Emeritus Professor of Transportation Systems Engineering and of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The John Reps Memorial Lecture

Christopher Silver: Planning in an Era of Rapid Urbanization: The Case of Indonesia

A man with glasses and a bright blue jacket smiling in front of a wooden piece of furniture.

Bio:

Christopher Silver is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning who joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 2006 as Dean of the College of Design, Construction, and Planning (until 2016). He previously served as Head of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1998–⁠2006) and as Professor of Planning and Associate Dean at Virginia Commonwealth University. Silver is a four-time Fulbright Senior Scholar at two Indonesian Universities and holds honorary appointments at the University of Indonesia and the Institute of Technology, Bandung. He received his Ph.D. in Urban History from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Silver's teaching and research draw upon his international engagement in planning and urban development and he currently teaches Cities of the World, Sustainable Urbanism in Europe, Sustainable Community Development, and International Development Planning. Teaching, consulting, and researching in Indonesia led to Planning the Megacity: Jakarta in the Twentieth Century (2008), Decentralization and Planning: Contested Spaces for Public Action in the Global South (2008) with Victoria Beard and Faranak Miraftab, and (with Andrea Frank) Urban Planning Education: Beginnings, Global Movement and Future Prospects (2018).  His forthcoming publications include Urban Flood Risk Management: Looking at Jakarta (Routledge, 2021) that focuses on water management in Jakarta and the problems of flooding in one of the world's fastest sinking megacities and (with Andrea Frank), Dialogues in Urban and Regional Planning 7: Transformative Planning: Greener, Smarter and More Inclusive Practices (Taylor and Francis, 2021). Silver is a past co-editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association and the founding editor of the Journal of Planning History. He has served as president of the Society of American City Planning History, vice president and president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, and chair of the Global Planning Education Association Network.

Abstract:

The immense and highly influential scholarly career of John Reps centered on helping us understand the land development and planning practices that created and shaped cities and towns in the United States from the 17th through the 20th centuries. He provided the first comprehensive history of city building and urban planning in the United States in his 1965 opus, The Making of Urban America. The present century is characterized by urbanization processes that reflect new urban forms and urban planning challenges, especially when one ventures outside of the North American experience. Rapid urbanization has created urban centers and mega urban regions in excess of 20 million inhabitants across the globe that call for a different set of planning approaches. Jakarta, Indonesia began as a Dutch frontier town in Southeast Asia, one of the many places affected by the "eastward" march of European colonizers. For several hundred years, it grew and changed incrementally and retained many of the European community attributes that the Dutch brought over. As with the western urban expansion in the United States that Reps documented in his books, city building in the Asian colonies was facilitated by government policy but also heavily reliant upon private speculative endeavors. In the case of Indonesia, independence in 1950 brought about mass migration to its cities, but with a newly formed government unable to provide the support needed to meet even the basic needs of its growing cities. The government relied on individual initiative and private sector investments to finance and guide development, sometimes in line with the objectives of official planning and development processes, but more often than not, ignoring the plans. The government did support private-led development processes by making available the land to build upon, including lands already occupied or designated as protected open space. The consequences of the unregulated and accelerated growth of Indonesian cities over the past three decades benefitted some but at a high cost to many more. This has brought about new challenges to the planning processes, as well as a call for enforcement of more sustainable and inclusive practices. The transformation of the colonial frontier town to the megacity region in Jakarta will be of focus in this fully illustrated presentation.

Click here to view a livestream of the event.

Due to Cornell's recent changes in event guidelines, department lectures will only be open to members of the Cornell community who are actively completing the Daily Check. Most lectures are recorded and you may request a copy of a recording by emailing crpinfo@cornell.edu.

Panel Discussion / Virtual Reception

Following the memorial lecture, a panel of former students will present on the work and legacy of John Reps. This panel will be held online via Zoom. After this panel, please join us for a virtual reception where we invite guests to share memories and stories of John.

This event will be held online via Zoom, please register here.

Panelists:

Mimi Bussan, M.S. '83 (Engineering), Ph.D. '86 (AAP)

Mimi Bussan is Professor John Reps' last official Ph.D. student, graduating in 1986. She entered Cornell for a master's degree in City and Regional Planning and then continued into the doctoral program where she explored applications of computer technologies to urban planning and historic preservation. After graduation, Mimi helped create the computer aided design studio for the Cornell architecture department and managed it for eight years. She has remained in Ithaca since, working as a software developer in the high-tech industry. Throughout, Mimi and John, with their spouses Fred and Connie, enjoyed many shared experiences at favorite haunts, such as Bailey Hall, Ford Hall, the Hangar Theatre, and the Ithaca Yacht Club.

Miriam Gusevich, (B.Arch. '75, M.Arch. '79) 

Miriam Gusevich was born in Havana, Cuba, and emigrated to the US with her family in 1968. She received a B. Arch '75 and M. Arch '79 from Cornell University and was a Loeb Fellow '97 at Harvard University.  She is the founding principal at GM2 Studio, LLC, an urban design firm, and Restoring our Places, an NGO recovering memory in contested Jewish sites. She is inspired by the story of the site to reconcile factions and guide public action. Recent international awards include "Zenica Kilim," Bosnia (2019), and two memorial – masterplans in Ukraine: "Constellations" for Euro-Maidan" (2015) and "Yahrzeit Candles" for Babyn–Yar (2016). These led to "Remember Sambir" and "Ralivka," two Holocaust landscapes in Ukraine. Built projects in Chicago are Jane Addams Memorial Park with Louise Bourgeois, the Cancer Survivor's Park and Mandrake Park, and many unbuilt masterplans in the U.S. and abroad. Miriam has a distinguished academic career with a long list of lectures and publications. She is professor emeritus at CUA in Washington D.C. and has taught at Columbia, UPenn, Washington University, UIC, and UWM. Research grants include Arnold W. Brunner, Graham Foundation, NEA, and Cintas Foundation for Cuban American Architects. 

Kevin Harrington, (M.A. '75, Ph.D. '81 HAUD)

Kevin Harrington is Professor Emeritus of Architectural History at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he began teaching in 1978. Born in Rochester, N.Y., he majored in history at Colgate University (B.A.) and studied the History of Architecture & Urban Development at Cornell University (M.A., Ph.D.). His thesis explored the treatment of architecture in the Encyclopedie. His research and publications have focused on Chicago's architectural and urban development in relation to modern architecture and the modern city, especially considering the ways Chicago is typical or unique. He has taught for IIT in architecture programs in Italy and France, and he has been a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin, where he held the Ruth Carter Stevenson Chair; Escola da Cidade; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus, Germany. He is co-author, with Franz Schulze, of Chicago's famous buildings, and with Edward Windhorst, of Lake Point Tower: A Design History. He edited Mies van der Rohe: Architect as eEucator, to which he also contributed the essay "Order, space, proportion: Mies's Curriculum at IIT." He also wrote "Ideas in Action: Hilberseimer and the redevelopment of the South Side of Chicago," for In the shadow of Mies: Ludwig Hilberseimer, architect, educator, and urban planner.

Kristen Schaffer, M.A. '90, Ph.D. '93 (AAP)

Kristen Schaffer is an architectural historian in the School of Architecture at North Carolina State University, a recipient of NCSU's Outstanding Teacher Award, and an internationally recognized expert on Daniel H. Burnham and the Plan of Chicago. Her articles have appeared in British, Italian, and German publications. She is the author of a book on Burnham's architectural practice and has acted as a juror for architectural competitions in Chicago. She is currently investigating the relationship of Burnham's Swedenborgian religious beliefs to his professional practice. She earned a B.A. in Environmental Design from SUNY Buffalo, and a master's and Ph.D. from Cornell, where she had the honor of working with John Reps.

Moderated by Jeffrey Chusid, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of City and Regional Planning

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