Black Urbanism: From Surviving to Thriving
Black urbanism is characterized as the ongoing resilience of black communities in urban environments despite legacies of segregation, gentrification, and historical disinvestment. Forms of black resistance are ever-present in cityscapes, from the stoops that serve as informal meeting grounds in Harlem, to the Sankofa-ridden ironwork that line balconies in New Orleans. This panel will bring together three scholars with demonstrable experience in researching novel forms of black collectivity: Michael Ford is the founder of the Hip-Hop Architecture Camp and BrandNu Design; Kristen E. Jeffers is a black queer feminist urban planner, founder of The Black Urbanist; and Dr. Deshonay Dozier is an assistant professor at CSU Long Beach with a research focus in carceral geography and abolitionist planning. Each panelist will present their current work, and collectively discuss what’s needed to ensure futurities of thriving black communities.
Kristen E Jeffers
Kristen Jeffers was one of the first people to bring the concept of Black urbanism to the internet and social media in 2010 by purchasing and launching The Black Urbanist, which in its 11th year continues to be a resource for Black urbanism at the intersection of feminism and queer/trans life. She is the author of the forthcoming A Black Urbanist Journey to a Queer Feminist Future, a memoir/manifesto for Black queer feminist urbanism. She is the creator of the K. Jeffers Index for Black Queer Feminist Urbanism, a guide, measure, and data center to assess the thrivance of black queer feminist urbanist people globally and curator of the Black Queer Feminist Urbanist Book Cannon and School. Finally, under the banner of Kristpattern, she shares her own journey into sustainable fashion and invites others to do the same. A sought-after public speaker and workshop leader, she makes her home just outside of Washington, DC with her partner Les and was born and raised in Greensboro, NC.
Dr. Deshonay Dozier
Dr. Deshonay Dozier is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Urban Planning and Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. from the City University of New York in Environmental Psychology. She is currently completing a book manuscript on how unhoused and poor people produce abolitionist alternatives to the penal organization of their lives Los Angeles since the 1950s. As a faculty advisor, she is helping to Archive the Age of Mass Incarceration through Million Dollar Hoods. Her research has been published in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, and Housing Studies.
Michael Ford, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, is an award-winning architect and academic whose mission is to promote diversity in the architecture, engineering, and construction fields through culturally relevant pedagogy. Known as “The Hip Hop Architect,” Ford is making waves in the design world with his pioneering program, The Hip Hop Architecture Camp, which uses Hip Hop culture to introduce underrepresented youth to architecture and design. This unique approach to diversifying the design professions has earned Ford national acclaim, with features in media outlets such as Oprah Winfrey Network’s Super Soul Sunday, The TODAY Show, Rolling Stone Magazine, Architect Magazine, and Vibe Magazine.
As a sought-after speaker, Ford delivers keynote addresses at major design conferences including the American Institutes of Architects National Conference on Architecture, American Planning Association’s National Planning Conference, SXSW Eco, International Interior Designer Association, Interior Designers of Canada, Interior Design Show Toronto, NeoCon, and his TEDx talk, “Hip Hop as Modernism’s Post Occupancy Report” is widely recognized. In addition to his work with The Hip Hop Architecture Camp, Ford is the Founding Principal of BrandNu Design Studio, where he leads the design of notable projects such as The Universal Hip Hop Museum in The Bronx. He recently served as the President of Wisconsin’s Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects, an organization he worked tirelessly to charter. Under his leadership, the Wisconsin Chapter won NOMA’s Chapter of the Year award. Ford has received numerous accolades for his contributions to the field, including the 2022 Wisconsin Young Architect of the Year, the Spirit of Detroit Award, Top Innovator in Anti-Racism, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Programming.