H+U+D 2.0- The Inclusive City, Past, Present and Future—


For the past five years, we have been privileged to oversee the H+U+D initiative aiming to contribute new sensibilities and collaborations centered on humanities, urbanism and design (hence H+U+D) to Penn’s scholarly climate. As we have worked with faculty and students, promoting interdisciplinary scholarship and building social capital, we have also laid the groundwork a renewed Mellon-sponsored project, “The Inclusive City, Past, Present, Future” (H+U+D 2.0), that will, again bring together faculty and students from the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Design. We found that H+U+D has been successful in three areas that we will replicate, slightly modified in H+U+D 2.0. They are:

The first area, the signature H+U+D project, has been the interdisciplinary, multi-generational H+U+D Faculty Colloquium that met bi-weekly, sometimes around a seminar table and sometimes at a site or exhibition, to explore shared interests and discuss the work of its members. Participants included 36 Penn faculty at all levels of their careers, four visiting Junior (Postdoctoral) Fellows, and several associated postdocs (including two Marie Curie Fellows from the EU) who were already at Penn. The colloquium has been very successful in creating a supportive environment for younger scholars and connecting them with mentors and peers with whom they would not usually come into contact. The scholarly productivity of this group is impressive; to date they have produced 14 books, 9 chapters, 28 refereed journal articles, and 8 exhibitions.

The Colloquium has also hosted a small number of lectures and co-sponsored symposia. We have gone “on the road,” organizing interdisciplinary panels at scholarly conferences (most recently the “Sensing the City” at the last meeting of the Society for American City and Regional Planning Historians).

The second area has been in instruction. The H+U+D initiative sponsored 15 co-taught courses involving 35 faculty members and more than 150 students. These comprised 10 undergraduate “city seminars,” with international and domestic field trips, and an annual “problematics” seminar for graduate students.

The third area has been in research. H_U+D supported 27 undergraduate and graduate student research projects with results presented by the students to the Colloquium. The projects have yielded enriched doctoral dissertations, publications, notably one by an undergraduate in the Smithsonian Magazine, and inspired ongoing career choices and graduate studies.

As we look forward to the next step with “The Inclusive City, Past, Present, Future” (H+U+D 2.0) we will retain the basic structure but adding the thematic dimension focusing on inclusion and diversity both in what we study and who we are. The new project will have at its heart a renewed the Inclusive City Colloquium to explore how the humanities can inform the design professions and how the design professions can inform the humanities with a special focus on inclusion in its many forms. With the course sponsorship effort, we will give preference to courses that are co-taught, likely to reach a large audience, part of the College general education requirement and permanent “gateway” courses, designed to attract a large and more diverse undergraduate audience to the study of cities and the built environment generally. In this area, we will also initiate “Anchor Institution” seminars to take advantage of the opportunities that Philadelphia offers as a laboratory for the study of inclusion and diversity. Here we will select and work with one of Philadelphia’s “anchor” institutions to create the seminar. We expect that these seminars would offer students opportunities to study and work with collections, exhibition design, public programming, policy making and implementation, city planning, architectural design, and management. Finally, in the research arena, we will offer up to 12 graduate and undergraduate fellowships per year with undergraduates being offered a non-credit Undergraduate Student Research Colloquium to enrich their experience.

So the projects of the past five years have nurtured a remarkable treasury of human capital in the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Design as this report illustrates. The Mellon Foundation’s support has made a huge difference in the lives of faculty, undergraduate and graduate students at Penn, Moreover Mellon’s has been field-defining world-wide, seeding creativity and productivity in urban humanities among the many scholars of the participating universities Penn is proud to be among their number.

H+U+D Colloquium Visits Wright Exhibition at MoMA—


H+U+D colloquium members traveled to New York to MoMA to see Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive   The show marked the recent joint acquisition of the archive by Columbia University and MoMA. The exhibition divided materials fromthe Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s Archive into 12 sections showcasing 12 different guest curators and scholars. The show was organized by Barry Bergdoll, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University; with Jennifer Gray, Project Research Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art. Colloquium members discussed the exhibition with Jennifer Gray.

H+U+D co-director, David Browlee and Jennifer Gray

H+U+D co-director, David Browlee and Jennifer Gray


H+U+D Colloquium Members (l-r) Raffaella Giannetto Fabiani, Domenic Vitiello, Lee Ann Custer (guest) and Naomi Waltham-Smith


H+U+D Launches Four New Courses in Spring 2018!—


In its final year, the H+U+D initiative invested in the creation of four new courses to attract students from across the university at both graduate and undergraduate levels. The courses each pair a faculty member from the Schools of Design and Arts and Sciences to co-create and co-teach a course that explore cities from the dual perspectives of the humanities and design disciplines. The city seminar courses focus on one city in depth for undergraduates and include travel to the city under study. This semester students will be traveling to New York and Berlin. Students in “New York as Incubator for the Twentieth Century” will study four urban visionaries influence by New York City. In “Media Memories and the Future: Sound and Environment in Berlin,” students will use the city as a  a palimpsest—sonically, visually, and spatially—to investigate and interpret historical patterns and their relationship to novel practices and methods in the present. The graduate problematics seminar takes a theme and tackles it using methods of inquiry from both the humanities and design disciplines. Students will be studying coastal cities and how infrastructure needs contend with sea level rise in “Sinking and Floating: Phenomenologies of Coastal Urban Resistance.” A fourth course, “Philadelphia: Urban Experience and Public Memory,” explores how monuments. memory, politics and sensory experience shape understandings of Philadelphia’s past, present and future.  For more information

Deadline Extended for City Seminar Proposals—


The Mellon Humanities, Urbanism and Design (H+U+D) Initiative requests proposals for undergraduate city seminar courses and course development funds. Attached please find the full RFP that details the application process. 

Next year (2017-18) the initiative will sponsor two city seminars: one international and one domestic. Please see our website for descriptions of previous seminars here. The seminar should examine one city in a detailed, multidisciplinary way that incorporates both the humanities and design. Please consult HUD Course Development RFP for full application information. 

The deadline for proposals is April 21 , 2017. Proposals should be submitted to Mary Rocco at mrocc@design.upenn.edu. 

For questions, please contact Genie Birch at elbirch@design.upenn.edu or David Brownlee at dbrownle@sas.upenn.edu.

Search for the Next Mellon Junior Fellows in Humanities, Urbanism and Design—


Applications are now invited for two one-year Junior Fellowships to be held in 2016-2076.

One fellow will be selected from the humanities and one from design. Each will be hosted at Penn by a department in the other discipline.

Mellon Junior Fellows will be selected on the basis of their ability to contribute, through research and teaching, to the mission of the initiative.  During their ten months in residence, they will have the opportunity to pursue their own research. They will participate in the bi-weekly Colloquium, presenting their research at one of those sessions, and they will also participate fully in the academic life of their host departments. In the spring semester they will teach an undergraduate seminar, which may be co-taught by the two fellows.

For full job description,
HUD Junior Fellow JobDescript 2016-17
Junior Fellow application cover sheet