This session includes multiple presentations. Timestamps are indicated in parentheses so you can forward to the presentation you want to view.

Defining the New Urban Commons: Food Security and Urban Land-Use (00:00)

Presented by University of DC

Disparities in food access and the resulting inequities in food security are persistent problems in cities across the United States. The nation’s capital is no exception. The District of Columbia’s geography of food insecurity reveals a history of uneven food access that has only been amplified by the vulnerability of food supply chains during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Our presentation examines the history of food insecurity in Washington, D.C., and explores opportunities in urban agriculture that cannot be fully appropriated unless they are supported by new land-use policies. Existing policies are insufficient and amplify persistent sociopolitical, racial and gender barriers instead. We argue that the current pandemic and its imposed social isolation exacerbates these barriers, rendering conventional food access solutions inadequate. The ability to order groceries and browse home goods on mobile devices, for example, may seem fortuitous yet it also exposes the deep disadvantages of minoritized populations and the isolating nature of structural racism. We identify new approaches to policy that move beyond market-centered solutions and focus instead on a new Urban Commons. This new Commons redefines the use of public space in a broader and more realistic context of productivity and efficiency that recognizes the need for both productive resources and restorative sinks.

Power of Place & Presence in 2020: Building Capacity through Community-Based Degree Programs (22:50)

Presented by College of Staten Island, CUNY

In 2020, College of Staten Island(CSI/CUNY) simultaneously launched community-based Doctoral and Associate degree programs to establish an urban extension to the main campus in St. George neighborhood of Staten Island. St. George is characterized by the tension created by rapid economic development and the close proximity of a free ferry commute to Manhattan’s Wall Street amidst generational disinvestment and stark racial and economic divides that plague the borough. The EdD in Community-Based Leadership is designed to develop scholar-practitioners from within communities, those best suited to understand nuances of the issues. The Associate’s degree centers on a grant-funded learning community in Public Interest Technology: a nascent national area of study designed to leverage technology for the public good.

Critical to the mission of each program is:

  • Embracing varying interests, perspectives, and demographics.
  • Activating the assets of students to authentically participate.
  • Generating institutional capacity to harness the value students and urban communities bring to academia.

CSI-St. George is striving to bring us beyond our mission of socio-economic mobility: building reciprocal academic programming, centered in anti-racism and anti-poverty, to co-create new discourse for locally driven solutions to social injustice. This panel will reveal how these programs developed and tangible gains achieved via the power of place and presence during these challenging times.