Master of Landscape Architecture Lecture: Jill Desimini

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2021 11 AM – 12 PM CST

Online Event | Click here to attend and/or register

In this lecture titled Cyclical City: Stories of Urban Transformation, landscape gardener and educator Jill Desimini will present research shaping her forthcoming book, Cyclical City, a groundbreaking work offering a study of designing for urban vacancy worldwide.

The event is free and can be delivered via Zoom.

As cities evolve and resources shift with time, spaces within those cities are often left fallow and abandoned. Cyclical City tells the stories behind these sites, from Philadelphia’s Liberty Lands park to Lisbon’s Green Plan, and it’s at the ways during which these narratives are often leveraged toward future engagement and use. Desimini posits a fundamental role for spatial design practice to rework abandoned urban landscapes through time. She argues for approaches that promote the precise affordances of the land itself (hydrology, vegetation, topography, geology, infrastructural capacity, occupation potential); the importance of cyclical change; and therefore the particularities of the cultural, political, and physical context. These themes are explored in five cities—Philadelphia, Berlin, Lisbon, Amsterdam, and St. Louis—and across centuries, from periods of great upheaval to ones of relative stability and even economic process .

This lecture is coordinated with the seminar Vacant/Wild/Ruined: Feral Urbanism, taught by senior lecturer Michael Allen, and is funded by the Master of architecture program.

Jill Desimini is professor of architecture at the grad school of Design, Harvard University . before joining the full-time faculty at the GSD, she taught within the second term core studio of the MLA Program at the GSD and at the Northeastern University School of Architecture. She was formerly senior associate at Stoss Landscape Urbanism, where she managed the firm’s efforts on the Lower Don Lands in Toronto, the Bass River Park on Cape Cod , and therefore the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Her work has received numerous awards including a finalist entry within the Van Alen Urban Voids competition, a Narendra Juneja Medal and an ASLA certificate from the University of Pennsylvania, and a specific Professions Fellowship from the American Association of University Women. She holds a Master of architecture and a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from Brown University . Desimini’s research focuses on landscape strategies to deal with the conditions of shrinking cities.

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