A.D. (After Disaster)

natural disaster

The last 10 years have seen more than their fair share of disasters, some man-made, like the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and civil wars in Africa, and others caused by nature, like 2004’s Asian tsunami, 2005’s Hurricane Katrina and the recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and China.

These disasters have altered the landscape of many cities throughout the world. The PennDesign Black Student Alliance (BSA) says previous mistakes in planning and design have proven difficult to fix, and the recent economic crisis has only exacerbated the complexities.

Future solutions, the BSA says, will require a synergy between politicians, designers, planners, economists, businesses and residents.

The BSA’s 4th Annual Unspoken Borders Conference, “Rebuilding Communities After Disaster: How Design Can Heal or Harm Cities After Natural or Economic Disasters,” will examine past successes and failures of strategically designed rebuilding efforts and discuss contemporary approaches seeking to establish new, justice-oriented design strategies that begin reconstructing communities while ensuring that all residents are included in the rebuilding efforts.

Scheduled for April 23 and 24 at Meyerson Hall and Claudia Cohen Hall, the event will include panel discussions about “Rebuilding After Natural Disasters” and “Rebuilding After Economic Disasters.” It will also include a fashion show featuring clothing made of recycled material and a keynote lecture address by Elijah Anderson, the William K. Lanman, Jr. Professor of Sociology at Yale and a former Penn sociology professor.

The conference begins on Friday, April 23, at 5:30 p.m. in Meyerson Hall. For more information, contact Nakita Johnson at 571-332-3046 or email pdunspoken10@gmail.com. Admission is $15 general admission, $7 for students.

Originally published on April 22, 2010