City Planning Poetics

November 13, 2017: City Planning Poetics 4: Urban Memory

Simone White is the author of Dear Angel of Death (coming later this year from Ugly Duckling Presse), Of Being Dispersed, and House of Envy of All the World, the poetry chapbook, Unrest, and the collaborative poem/painting chapbook, Dolly, with Kim Thomas. Her poetry and prose have been featured in NYTimes Book Review, Harper's Magazine, BOMB Magazine, Chicago Review, and Harriet: The Blog. She has been the recipient of the 2017 Whiting Award, Cave Canem Foundation fellowships, and recognition as a New American Poet for the Poetry Society of America, in 2013. She works as Program Director at The Poetry Project and teaches writing and American literature at Thew New School, Eugene Lang College.

Randall Mason plays several roles at Penn's School of Design: Executive Director of PennPraxis; Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning; and Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. His published work includes: The Once and Future New York, on the origins of historic preservation in New York City (University of Minnesota Press, 2009, winner of the Society of Architectural Historians' Antoinette Forester Downing Award), and North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City (with photographer Christopher Payne, Fordham University Press, 2014). Mason's professional practice includes projects at many scales, addressing planning, preservation and public space issues, commissioned by organizations including the Brookings Institution, Getty Conservation Institute, William Penn Foundation, the City of Philadelphia, and the National Park Service. His education includes a PhD from Columbia University (urban planning/urban history), MS from Pennsylvania State University (geography), and BA from Bucknell (geography). He worked previously at the Getty Conservation Institute, University of Maryland and Rhode Island School of Design, and was the recipient of the 2012-13 National Endowment for the Arts Rome Prize.

April 20, 2017: City Planning Poetics 3: Queer Placemaking

Max J. Andrucki is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography & Urban Studies at Temple University. He holds degrees from Leeds University, the University of Vermont, and Columbia University and has published on sexuality and space, geographies of the body, mobilities, and critical whiteness studies. Also a songwriter, he's a member of long-running indiepop band The Smittens. He lives in New York City.

Rachel Levitsky came out as a Lesbian in 1984 and as a poet in 1994. In between those two events she wrote fact sheets and polemic for street actions demonstrating for LGBT and Women's Liberation, Women's Health, and against the state negligence of the AIDS epidemic. As a poet and a prose writer and teacher, she's been interested in the strange ways of USAmerican subjectification. She's specifically informed by being born of Jewish refugees and immigrants with an absented story of what came before settling in New York City. She is the author of three book length collections, Under the Sun (Futurepoem, 2003), NEIGHBOR (UDP, 2009) and the poetic novella, The Story of My Accident is Ours (Futurepoem, 2013). She calls her current writing project The Mother of Separation, which she describes as a 'memoir without memory.' Adjunct and intersecting with her writing practice, Levitsky builds and participates in a variety of publishing, collaboration and pedagogical/performative activities. In 1999 she founded Belladonna* which is now Belladonna* Collaborative, a matrix of literary action promoting the writers and writing of the contemporary feminist avant-garde. In 2010, she co-founded the Office of Recuperative Strategies, which has staged urban walks and instant performances and publications in a variety of cities, about which more can be learned at She is currently a fellow of LMCC Process Spaces, an open studio project on Governors Island. She teaches writing Pratt Institute, Naropa Summer Writing Program and lay institutions in NYC. In 2009 she was Fellow in Poetics and Poetic Practice at University of Pennsylvania's Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing.

September 6, 2016: City Planning Poetics 2

Francesca Russello Ammon is an assistant professor of City & Regional Planning and Historic Preservation in the School of Design. A cultural historian of the urban built environment, she has published articles on topics including urban renewal, gentrification, and children’s books about destruction. Her recent book, Bulldozer: Demolition and Clearance of the Postwar Landscape (Yale, 2016), traces the transformation of this iconic machine from wartime weapon to instrument of postwar planning. As a Mellon Researcher at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, she is now beginning a new project on the role of photographs in shaping postwar historic preservation and urban renewal.

Jason Mitchell is most recently the author of FIELD for Peter Culley (self-published 2015) and is the host and coordinator of the Philadelphia reading series Frank O'Hara's Last Lover. His writing can be found in Hi Zero, Court Green, Jacket 2, and Stolen Island among others.

February 24, 2016: CITY PLANNING POETICS 1

Jena Osman's books of poems include Corporate Relations (Burning Deck, 2014), Public Figures (Wesleyan University Press, 2012), The Network (Fence Books 2010, selected for the National Poetry Series in 2009), An Essay in Asterisks (Roof Books, 2004) and The Character (Beacon Press, winner of the 1998 Barnard New Women Poets Prize). She is a Professor of English at Temple University, where she teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program. She founded and edited the literary magazine Chain with Juliana Spahr for twelve years, which is currently archived in the ReIssues section of the online journal Jacket2 ; Osman and Spahr now edit the occasional book series ChainLinks together.

Amy Hillier has been at Penn since 1995 when she came to complete her MSW and PhD in social welfare. Her dissertation on historical mortgage redlining made extensive use of GIS mapping and eventually led to a faculty position at the School of Design. She currently teaches GIS courses in city planning, urban studies, and social work. Her research has focused on spatial health disparities including access to healthful foods and exposure to outdoor advertising. Currently she is engaged in a collaborative effort to extend academic and field training opportunities for graduate social work, education, and nursing students relating to social, educational, and health services for LGBTQ youth, particularly trans youth of color. She lives in West Philadelphia with her husband and two young children.