Process and Presence: Lecture & Fundraiser

Enlivened City: How Disability Arts and Culture Can Inform the Livable Cities Movement

Aimi Hamraie, Vanderbilt University

Since the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, mayors of global cities committed to addressing climate change via urban-scale projects aimed at promoting livable, sustainable, and healthy communities. New development projects incorporating greenways, parks, public art features, and exercise-promoting infrastructures are believed to enhance livability through wellness, weight loss, and “human-powered transportation.” But while these projects are typically understood as serving the common good, they are also transforming the fabric of cities, introducing new obstacles and barriers to accessibility and ultimately framing some bodies as undesirable urban citizens. In this talk, I will analyze urban design, public art, and building certification frameworks to discuss transformations in contemporary cities. Drawing on concepts and practices from disability studies and the Mapping Access project, I will show how disability arts and culture can reframe the “enlivened city” as a place that celebrates and sustains, rather than eliminates, embodied difference. Ultimately, this new framework offers urban planners and inhabitants—both those who imagine the city’s future and dwell within it—alternatives to normative public health frameworks for desirable life.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Contact for sponsorship opportunities. This event will be recorded and archived for future access.


Friday, October 26, 2018, 4 - 5:30pm, $10 - $60


The Donnelly Center at Aquinas College
157 Woodward Ln SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506


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