Cities on the Edge: Hemispheric Comparisons and Connections

In Spring 2017, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded $1.2 million to Princeton University for a second three-year period of the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism and the Humanities. Housed within the School of Architecture, the Princeton-Mellon Initiative (PMI) supports graduate and undergraduate courses, a fellowship program, and public programming. Princeton is one of more than a dozen research universities and institutes in the US, Canada, Great Britain, and South Africa that the Mellon Foundation engages and connects through its Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities initiative.

The renewed PMI program, Cities on the Edge: Hemispheric Comparisons and Connections, will continue its innovative work bridging architecture, the humanities, and environmental studies through a comparative approach to urbanism and architecture along South-North, East-West, South-South, and North-North lines. The Initiative will engage new units on campus, foster research and teaching collaborations across disciplines and regional boundaries, and support engaged urban design and scholarship that seeks to contribute to better urban futures. Leading the project in its second phase will be Alison Isenberg, Professor of History, and Mario Gandelsonas, Professor of Architectural Design and Class of 1913 Lecturer in Architecture.

From 2014 to 2017, the Princeton-Mellon Initiative catalyzed teaching and research on campus around the theme, Cities of the Americas: Architecture, Society, Policy, and Culture. The program was led by Isenberg, Stan Allen, The George Dutton '27 Professor of Architecture, and Bruno Carvalho, Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese.

PMI funding will assist Princeton faculty in expanding existing courses and developing new ones focused on urbanism.  Beginning in Fall 2018, Urban Studies certificate students will take an interdisciplinary design studio launched through the Initiative and co-taught by faculty from the School of Architecture and the humanities.

The Council for the Humanities and the Princeton Environmental Institute will co-sponsor Fellows in the PMI program. Scholars across a variety of academic departments will provide fresh perspectives on critical scientific and policy frameworks currently shaping urban agendas around the world, such as smart cities, resilient cities, and healthy communities.

The Mellon Research Forum on the Urban Environment, which allows faculty and students to present and discuss their research, will continue to serve as the intellectual core of the program. In addition to the Forum, a range of programming will be open to the public.