By Chandra Livia Candiani

Introduced and translated from the Italian by Brian Robert Moore

The work of Italian poet Chandra Livia Candiani can be described almost in its entirety as a creation of connections, a building of bridges between the individual and what lies beyond the self. Her relationship to poetry is inherently social in its engagement with the outer world, and even as one of Italy’s most beloved contemporary poets, Candiani has led poetry workshops in places such as hospices, homeless shelters, and elementary schools in the outskirts of Milan. The connections explored in her own writing link people and animals, the living…

by Nick Schiff

My body floats down the putrid, black water pooled on the subway tracks, past surgical gloves and food containers, through miles of black canals strung with stations empty but for the sleeping, slumped on benches and against walls under the talcum-colored lights. When the trains pass over me I feel a faint gust, like a candleflame when the door is shut. I don’t know how I got here, or how long I’ve been here, or why. Is it due to some sin, like lack of money, or ugliness?

All I remember is this. Every year was hotter than the last…

by Daniel Horowitz

The two pieces below are from a project of oral history turned poetry tentatively titled Still Lives. It began with an aborted attempt to found a dirt farm on the Mississippi Gulf Coast during the summer of 2017 that I had the luck to be a part of. We had three miniature horses named Lucy, Red and Midnight. There was too much oil in the soil on our land off Highway 90. The sunflowers grew crimson. There was no running water. Every morning and afternoon I would lug coolers to fill a kiddie pool for the horses. We had dreams…

By Andrea Marpillero-Colomina, Laura Castro, and Zef Egan

This is part three of the More Democracy Triptych. Here are part one and two.

For this piece, Resilience editor Zef Egan was in conversation with Laura and Andrea about two of their favorite topics — democracy and classroom vibes.

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An open street on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights. File photo: Clarence Eckerson

Andrea Marpillero-Colomina (AMC)
I’m Andrea. I am a born and raised New Yorker. I’m a Sagittarius. I have spent most of my time in the urbanism space thinking about how to make cities work better for people. …

by Andrea Marpillero-Colomina and Laura Castro

Part of the More Democracy Triptych. Here are the second and third pieces.

The answer to the shortcomings of democracy is more democracy. [1] Participative mechanisms are crucial for creating equitable and inclusive public life. Participation is key to creating successful public life. The first step towards transforming democratic participation is to change the format and forums for public engagement. Economic and political power is in the hands of a few, and these few are often driven by political agendas, or their own subjective moral or social considerations. In gentrifying neighborhoods and other contested geographies, democratic processes must take into…

Andrea Marpillero-Colomina and Laura Castro

Part of the More Democracy Triptych. Here are the first and third pieces.

To understand how one iteration of participative democracy can work, let’s examine PBNYC, New York City’s Participatory Budgeting process. (We acknowledge that in the context of U.S. policymaking, New York is an outlier: It is by far the most populous city, with 8.6 million residents, and comprised of five counties spread over a dozen landmasses. New York City has more than double the number of people of the U.S.’s next most populated city — Los Angeles; population 3.99 million — and a larger population than twenty-four U.S…

by Zoe Banzon, Sudeepti Rachakonda, Raissa Xie, and Darcy Keester

COVID-19 has torn through vulnerable communities and surfaced the inequities of our world. Among the most vulnerable of these communities are seniors, who make up roughly 73% of COVID-19 deaths in New York City. As we see how places like retirement homes, public spaces, and grocery stores become less safe and less accessible for seniors, it becomes clear that vulnerable groups, like the aging population, and the challenges that they face in the urban environment should be put front and center rather than in the periphery when designing for urban life.

In light of COVID-19 and beyond, we propose the…

by Simon Tan

Can attempting to correct for equity in urban planning go too far?

Of all the crucial conversations we are having as a society in 2020, perhaps none is more salient than the ongoing one about social justice in our cities. A recent stream of events that have brought inequities to light: the pandemic, the economic fallout, the police brutality, the battles between factions of protesters on our streets. Truly, this year has centered social justice in the global zeitgeist in a manner not seen for decades.

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by Johanna Hoffman

Given the explosive pace and scale of current change — from economic inequality and geopolitical instability, to technological acceleration and environmental collapse — one of the most important questions we can ask is what makes for more resilient cities. Yet responding to the impacts of widespread disease, forced migration, drought, hurricanes, floods and firestorms demands more than better power grids. It calls for stronger social ties between the people that call a city home. Research has shown that when the unexpected strikes, we cooperate better and act quicker when we foster strong connections with the humans who share our landscapes…

Urban Systems Lab

Research, design, and engagement for more equitable and resilient cities.

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