Civil Encounters: Exploring “Other” Urbanisms – Michael Martin
The Spring 2019 Urban Design Colloquium: Questions of Civility takes as its overarching theme the notion of “civility” – considering civic topics from a variety of standpoints.
In the West, we tend to perceive our urban historical trajectories as representing the norm or the ideal. Other urbanisms – particularly the informalities characterized by developing countries – are positioned at the margins. The development trajectory of Cuba occupies an interesting position among these “other” urbanisms. Prior to the revolution, Cuba had already started along a trajectory that aimed to improve civil society for those most in need — offering the first cooperative, subsidized housing projects in the Western hemisphere (1911). Now, some 60 years since the revolution, Cubans are, more than ever, reaching out to establish common ground with the rest of the world. What might we learn through such civil (and civic) encounters?
In this final colloquium session, Michael Martin, a Milwaukee-based planner and adjunct professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will offer insights into the history of urbanization in Cuba. He will describe how Havana’s social housing experiments aim to improve dignity and self-respect among those with the greatest need. The talk acts as a precursor for those interested in the summer 2019 Urban Design Global Studio, which will visit Cuba. Taught by Ben Shirtcliff, associate professor of landscape architecture and urban design, and Luis Rico-Gutierrez, dean of the College of Design, the studio is open to all eligible students in the College of Design.