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Housing Justice and Urban Design

April 27, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Finding solutions to the housing crisis in California is daunting. Skyrocketing rents and housing prices, almost non-existent housing supply and pent-up demand, and pervasive homelessness result from a set of complex and multifaceted problems. Housing policy is also a contested territory in a state governed by “home rule” where over 482 local jurisdictions have authority to shape land use regulations and zoning. To complicate matters, residents also hold power in shaping local land use decisions through ballot box measures, NIMBY groups, YIMBY groups, and activism. How can we reverse the downward spiraling trajectory and decades of discriminatory and unfair policies that have made housing within the state unaffordable and untenable for low- to moderate-income families? This Design@Large will talk about how urban designers, planners, policymakers, and the private sector can make big strides towards housing justice.

Join us at the Design and Innovation Building (2 nd floor) from 4-5pm on April 27 for a discussion with Anu Natarjan, Housing Initiative Lead at Meta, Stephen Russell, President and CEO of the San Diego Housing Federation, Dana Cuff, CityLab Director at UCLA, and Cecilia Estalano, CEO of Better World Group.

Featured Panelists:

Dana Cuff is a professor, author, and practitioner in architecture. Her work focuses on affordable housing, modernism, suburban studies, the politics of place, and the spatial implications of new computer technologies. Cuff’s research on postwar urbanism was published in a book titled The Provisional City (MIT 2000), she edited Fast Forward Urbanism with Roger Sherman (Princeton Architectural Press 2011), and she recently coauthored Urban Humanities: New Practices for Reimagining the City with her colleagues from the Urban Humanities Initiative (MIT 2020). She founded cityLAB in 2006, and has since concentrated her efforts around issues of spatial justice in the emerging metropolis. Dr. Cuff is widely published, the recipient of numerous fellowships, and lectures internationally. Three recent awards describe the arc of her career: Women in Architecture Activist of the Year (2019, Architectural Record), Researcher of the Year (2019, Architectural Research Centers Consortium), and Educator of the Year (2020, AIALA).

Cecilia V. Estolano is a leading voice on contemporary urban planning issues with expertise in equitable economic and workforce development, climate resilient infrastructure, land use, and urban revitalization. An urban planner and land use and environmental lawyer, Cecilia has worked at all levels of government, settled major Clean Water Act litigation, led the largest redevelopment agency in the nation, founded an award winning urban and public policy firm, and acquired and repositioned an environmental advocacy consultancy. She is currently Chair of the University of California Board of Regents and has served as President of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors. She has taught courses on equitable urban development and law and the quality of urban life at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design. Cecilia sits on the board of the National Employment Law Project and Jobs to Move America. She previously served on the California Coastal Commission and on the boards of Manufacturing Renaissance, the California League of Conservation Voters, Lambda Legal, and California YMCA Youth and Government.

Stephen Russell is a 2005 graduate of the NewSchool of Architecture & Design and has a 20-year history working in community and economic development in the Mid-City region of San Diego. He served as Executive Director of the El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement District, where he was responsible for implementing an economic development strategy for an aging commercial district. He later served as an advisor to then-San Diego City Councilmember Toni Atkins on issues related to redevelopment, infrastructure financing, small business support, and the City’s General Plan (the “City of Villages”). Since then he has served as volunteer board member and President of the City Heights Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing, employment opportunities, and quality neighborhoods in the community of City Heights. Stephen has served on the NewSchool Foundation Board since 2009 and as President of the Board since 2011.

Anu Natarajan currently serves as the Housing Initiative Lead at Facebook, where she leverages her extensive background across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to guide Facebook’s housing policy initiatives, partnerships and investment work. Natarajan is a long-time advocate for sensible, sensitive, and sustainable planning as the engine for economic growth and community building. Prior to joining Facebook, Natarajan served as the Director of Policy and Advocacy for MidPen Housing, where she worked to find solutions to build more affordable housing in the Bay Area. In her work with the American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley, Anu focused on community engagement and outreach and built a diverse coalition of more than 35 partners from the Bay Area to solve regional challenges through civic engagement. While at StopWaste, she also worked on sustainability, the circular economy, and climate actions plans. Natarajan has served a total of 10 years as the Vice Mayor and City Councilmember for the City of Fremont, and is the first Indian-American to be elected to a City Council in the Bay Area.

About Design@Large

Design@Large is a speaker series hosted by The Design Lab at UC San Diego, where each quarter we examine a topic in society and the relevance and implications through the lens of human centered design.

For the first time in the nearly 10-year history of the Design@Large speaker series the UC San Diego Design Lab is partnering with a state-wide organization, California 100, to present an expanded hybrid experience to not only expand the audience of our series, but to deepen the means of engagement. California 100 is an initiative focused on identifying and uplifting transformative ideas, people, and projects through research and engagement that accelerate progress towards a shared vision of California’s future over the next century, the Design Lab will host six hybrid experiences between April 13 – May 25, 2022.

Taking place in the Design Lab’s state of the art new home, the Design and Innovation Building, a series of panels, talks, and participatory design sessions will be led by an extraordinary group of California thought leaders who reflect diversity by region and industry, and the perspectives of communities who have been historically marginalized or excluded. Attendees can plan to learn more about, and actively co-create, around the following topics:

  • Alternative Transportation Futures
  • Climate Risk Reduction and Technology
  • Housing Justice and Design
  • Transborder Regions and Immigrant Integration
  • Future Prospects in Health Equity and Tech Innovation
  • The Future of Work and Higher Education

This series is sponsored by the Burnham Center for Community Advancement, San Diego Supercomputer Center, and Qualcomm Institute. Session are open and free to the public.

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April 27, 2022
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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