Princeton University
Cities Studied

Detroit, Havana, Los Angeles, Newark, New York, São Paulo, Trenton (New Jersey), Union City (New Jersey),

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS

Stan Allen
School of Architecture

Bruno Carvalho
Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Alison Isenberg
Department of History

PROJECT MANAGER

The Princeton-Mellon initiative combines the efforts of a diverse group of faculty, programs, and schools to develop a more dynamic and nuanced understanding of cities with a common historical legacy, distinct from both European models and developing cities in Asia and Africa.

"Learning from/in Latin America" conference, 2015. Photo courtesy of Princeton University.

Sample Projects

Team-taught Courses

Making Sense of the City (Architecture/ Urban Studies/ Humanistic Studies), The Arts of Urban Transition (Dance/ Architecture/ Theater/ Urban Studies), Urban Studies Research Seminar (Urban Studies/ Humanistic Studies/ Architecture/ Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs), and at the graduate level, Topics in Domestic Policy Analysis: Planning Methods and The Bronx (Woodrow Wilson School/ Architecture).  These courses have involved the initiative’s Visiting Fellows, and faculty from a variety of departments across the University.  The initiative has developed and is developing courses with travel components in Cuba, Detroit, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, São Paulo, Trenton, the Amazon basin.  It supports additional, related courses sponsored by other divisions, enabling them to add site-visits or campus events.  More detailed information on course offerings can be found at http://arc-hum.princeton.edu/courses.

The Mellon Forum for Research on the Urban Environment

The Mellon Forum for Research on the Urban Environment brings together scholars and students from various disciplines to discuss themes of shared interest.  In the first year the forum focused on “American Places and Infrastructure.”  In 2015-2016 the theme is “City as Home.” Issues like design, property, identity, housing, habitation, and social justice will be examined.

Conferences and Symposia

Conferences, symposia interrelated with exhibitions and campus programming have included the following events: “Producing Waste/Producing Space” (March 7, 2015);  “City as Stage/Art as Plan” (April 9-10, 2015), in collaboration with the Princeton University Art Museum’s The City Lost & Found; “Learning From/In Latin America” (April 3-4, 2015), held in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art exhibition, “Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980” (March 29-July 19, 2015).  The Initiative also collaborates with ongoing series, like the Fluvial Metropolis Workshop with the University of São Paulo, and the international seminar OIKOS: Affects, Economies, and Politics of House-ing.

New Jersey Urban Research and Civic Engagement

The initiative has also led to the development of interrelated courses, symposia, and collaborations with humanities and policy organizations in the state around student and faculty research, and student internships.  The first conference was “The State Between: A Symposium on New Jersey Urbanism” (May 1, 2015).  Courses have included Making Sense of the City, where student-created projects reimagined Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in Paterson, NJ.  Trenton has been a focus, building on Documentary Film and the City (Urban Studies/Sociology), where students have made micro-documentaries exploring how jobs, employment and work shape the city of Trenton.  Overall themes have included deindustrialization, immigration, migration, education, urban futures, environmental justice, the Trenton-Princeton region, race and ethnic tensions centered on the 1960s, and the role of the arts and humanities in rebuilding urban economic foundations today.

Impact on Urban Fields and Curriculum

The Initiative is building tangible outcomes through courses, exhibitions, and other partnerships, including policy studies, documentary film, websites, self-published pamphlets, and “alternative” walking tours.  Two projects are focusing on collaborative publications.  A February 2016 working group will develop the “Cities of the Americas” comparative theme into a published research agenda, carried out through scholarly essays, but also pedagogy, and primary source collections.  In 2016-2017, “The Future of Urban Studies” will be the organizing subject for a second meeting, and likely publication.

Resources

Cities of the Americas

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Cities of the Americas

Institution:

Princeton University,

Locations:

New York, São Paulo,

This workshop brought together a diverse group of scholars and educators to examine how pan-American perspectives reshape the way we think about urbanism and design.

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City as Stage/Art as Plan

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City as Stage/Art as Plan

Institution:

Princeton University,

Locations:

New York,

This symposium brought together a dynamic group of interdisciplinary scholars for conversations about the ongoing relationship between visual arts and urban studies. Sessions focused on New York neighborhoods in the 1960s, visual culture and architecture in pan-American cities, and the ways in which artists engage with urbanism in the present day.

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Environmental Challenges and Urban Solutions

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Environmental Challenges and Urban Solutions

Institution:

Princeton University,

Category:

Syllabi

Environmental Challenges and Urban Solutions confronts urbanization and environmental problems, rethinking traditional theories about nature and city dynamics. 

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Fluvia Metropolis Workshop

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Fluvia Metropolis Workshop

Institution:

Princeton University,

Locations:

São Paulo,

Topics of discussions included: sustainable solutions for issues like water resource management, energy efficiency, technology innovation, human and environmental health, as well as equity and fairness, poverty and job creation, and more intangible notions of belonging – of cities as homes.

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Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955–1980

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Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955–1980

Institution:

Princeton University,

Category:

Publications

In 1955, the Museum of Modern Art staged Latin American Architecture, a landmark survey of modern architecture in Latin America. This book--edited Barry Bergdoll, Eduardo Comas, Jorge Francisco Liernur, and Patricio del Real--offers a complex overview of the positions, debates, and architectural creativity from Mexico and Cuba to the Southern Cone between 1955 and the early 1980.

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Learning From/In Latin America

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Learning From/In Latin America

Institution:

Princeton University,

Learning from/in Latin America was a two-day conference co-organized by Princeton University and MoMA designed to further explore key positions, debates, and architectural activity arising from Mexico to South America over three decades of architectural and urban development from 1955 to the early 1980s.

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OIKOS: Affects, Economies, and Politics of House-ing

OIKOS: Affects, Economies, and Politics of House-ing

Institution:

Princeton University,

This seminar explored the house as a key nexus of political-economic and interpersonal/affective realities in flux.

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Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities

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Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities

Institution:

Princeton University,

Category:

Syllabi

The Princeton-Mellon Initiative focuses on North and South American cities, interpreting their shared historical legacies as distinct from both European models and developing cities in Asia and Africa.

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Producing Waste/Producing Space

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Producing Waste/Producing Space

Institution:

Princeton University,

Locations:

Mumbai, New York,

Producing Waste/Producing Space brought together scholars engaging in innovative research on the origins, meanings and repercussions of waste landscapes in conversation with artists and architects conducting design research and interventions in spaces designated as waste or wasted. 

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Reimagining the American City

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Reimagining the American City

Institution:

Princeton University,

Locations:

New York,

A panel discussion on the occasion of the exhibition Freedomland considers past and present visionary plans for American living.

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The Arts of Urban Transition

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The Arts of Urban Transition

Institution:

Princeton University,

Category:

Syllabi

Locations:

Detroit, New York,

This interdisciplinary course uses texts and methods from history, theatre, and dance to examine artists and works of art as agents of change in New York (1960-present) and contemporary Detroit. 

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The State Between

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The State Between

Institution:

Princeton University,

Locations:

Newark, New York,

This symposium joins scholars and practitioners from multiple disciplines and professional fields for a discussion on the global, metropolitan, and local forces and actors that shape New Jersey’s urban cultures, communities, and built environments.

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All auh Resources  >