Urban Growth Seminar: This is a Black Spatial Imaginary

Friday, February 23, 2018 at 12:15pm to 1:30pm

This is a past event.

Lewis Hall (RGL), 101
650 Childs Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Speakers: Sharita Towne, Artist and Professor- Pacific Northwest College of Art Lisa Bates, Professor- Portland State University


This is a Black Spatial Imaginary is, in part, a project based on research and inquiry over the past several years into the history and current status of Black neighborhoods and repeating instances of displacement. The work brings into dialogue several sources— official planning documents and records from the City archives, showing the rationales and actions of Portland policymakers; news accounts that depict the framing of the problems and possibilities for the Black community in Portland at different points in Portland’s history; materials from community-based  organizations that have participated in political and policy debates; and our own work engaging Black community members, from youth to elders and from “the North to the Numbers,” in several artistic and urban planning processes. For the most part, official planning documents represent a white spatial imaginary— a term used by scholar George Lipsitz to describe the application of urban planning and development regulations and public investments to support a landscape of exclusion, segregation, and the accumulation of property value for private interests.

Addressing Race and Displacement…

As an artist, Sharita Towne’s interests lie in unpacking the inherited struggles of past burdens and in affording collective catharsis. Through collaboration, stereo-photography, printmaking, video, and community art projects, she’s worked at memorials in Germany; in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria; Brazil; in gentrifying cities like Portland, Oregon and New Orleans; in schools, museums, and neighborhoods, and within her own family. She received a BFA from UC Berkeley and an MFA from Portland State University. She currently teaches at Pacific Northwest College of Art, works in the DIY printmaking and audiovisual collective URe:AD Press (United Re:Public of the African Diaspora), the post-colonial conceptual karaoke band Weird Allan Kaprow, and is a 2016 Art Matters grant recipient. 
When Portland State University urban studies and planning associate professor Lisa Bates looks at a neighborhood, she sees more than buildings. She sees how economic policy, institutional racism, and human perception contribute to housing inequities after catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina and in Portland's urban revitalization. With data as her ally, Bates uses her work to pose a powerful question: Can we do better?          

Organizers: Professor Lisa Schweitzer, Angela Lucero With Support from the USC Provost Research Collaboration Fund
Friday, February 23rd, 12:15 to 1:30 pm Lewis Hall (RGL), Room 101 Urbangrowth.usc.edu

Lunch Provided: Please RSVP with Angela Lucero (arlucero@usc.edu) by Tuesday, February 20th

Event Type

Lecture / Talk / Workshop


Students, Faculty/Staff


University Park Campus



Price School of Public Policy
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