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Infrastructure's Public Landscape: Civic Imagination & The End of Public Works

Tuesday, March 3, 2015, 12 - 12pm

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Infrastructure alters the land on a grand scale, unifying cities and territories, and stitching together natural and cultural systems into one collective hybrid network. Infrastructural landscapes have always been political; the design of infrastructure is an act of regional cartography and territorial reorganization, formerly carried out with grand ambition on a national scale. Today, the era of pubic works is over. Amid fragmentation, conflict, and privatization, how can design help rebuild a civic narrative around infrastructure? What is the vision for the new generation of infrastructural landscapes?

Nicholas Pevzner is a lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, and has been teaching landscape studios on the role of energy systems in landscape design, as well as courses in urban design and urban ecology. He is co-editor of Scenario Journal, an interdisciplinary digital publication that strives to bridge the conversations in design, planning, engineering, and ecology. Mr. Pevzner received a Bachelor of Architecture from The Cooper Union in 2005 and a Master of Landscape Architecture from UPenn in 2009.

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  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

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  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.