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Working with Ghana ThinkTank

Nikhil Sambamurthy

In January, at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Terreform joined forces with Ghana ThinkTank to help solve diversity problems identified by residents in Houston, Texas. Ghana ThinkTank works with communities in 'developing countries' to propose solutions to the issues plaguing more economically developed regions. Drawing on their experience living in the diverse, multicultural, and secular city of Kochi, residents came up with insightful and creative grassroots solutions to problems related to racial identity, religious intolerance, and resentment towards undocumented immigrants. The solutions will be implemented by the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at CounterCurrent 2017 arts festival in Houston. 

The images below are from two focus groups that Andrea Johnson, Terreform's Research Director, participated in: one with volunteers at the Biennale and one with students at Aquinas College. 

Promising Developments

Nikhil Sambamurthy

On January 25, Terreform co-organized Promising Developments: Designing Presents and Futures for the South Side of Chicago, a daylong conversation with designers, activists, and planners, with The City College of New York and Experimental Station. 

Kochi-Muziris Biennale

mariacecilia fagel

Terreform Director Vyjayanthi Rao participated in the 3rd Kochi-Muziris Biennale as a member of the artist collective Samooha. Read her article about their installation On Stage: Sathenagar Here.

While Mumbai’s informal communities are always available to the gaze of the privileged, we observed they rarely occupy the most privileged stages as protagonists themselves.

The intention was not to create a museum-like programme to display the talents of a single community but to allow a community’s public expression, long trapped in specific forms of public discourse around protest and rights, to take flight on another, more universally visible stage.

We named our project “On Stage: Sathenagar Here” to bring visibility both to the community as author and to the concept of the stage, which operates on multiple levels to support the community as author.
— Vyjayanthi Rao Venuturupalli

Sustaining Peace in an Urban World

Nikhil Sambamurthy

On December 14, 2016, Terreform co-sponsored the event Sustaining Peace in an Urban World with the Center on International Cooperation (CIC) at NYU, UN-Habitat, PBSO, the Dutch and Australian missions to the UN, the Global Alliance for Urban Crises and FAST. Michael Sorkin and Deen Sharp from Terreform spoke alongside the UN Assistant Secretary-Generals Izumi Nakamitsu of UNDP and Oscar Fernandez Taranco of Peacebuilding Support and leading experts, such as Sarah Cliffe and Gizem Sucuoglu from the CIC at NYU.  

All That is Solid Melts in the Bronx

Nikhil Sambamurthy

On November 17th, Terreform hosted an evening at City Lore celebrating Adventures in Modernism: Thinking with Marshall Berman

A scholar, advocate, and public intellectual, Berman gave generations a new way of thinking about what it means to be modern. The program included a panel discussion featuring Jennifer Corby, Jamie Aroosi, Joan Ockman, Ali Mirsepassi, and Marta Gutman; and a special screening of Henry Chalfant’s archival footage of Marshall Berman in his native Bronx.

Learn more about the event on Facebook, and watch the Facebook Live video below:

UR (Urban Research) launches Beyond the Square

Nikhil Sambamurthy

On September 26, Terreform's imprint UR (Urban Research) hosed a panel discussion at the Hagop Kevorkian Center at New York University to celebrate the launch of Beyond the Square: Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings (UR, 2016), edited by Deen Sharp and Claire Panetta. 

The panel featured both the editors, as well as Ahmed Kanna (Anthropology, University of the Pacific) and Julie Mehretu (Artist).

Watch the discussion below:

Terreform Receives Award for UR (Urban Research)

Elisabeth Weiman

Terreform has received a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts so that it can continue its publication series ( This will support our initiative to disseminate speculative research,  designs and analyses that focus on a progressive urbanism.

See their announcement printed in Arch Daily: Graham Foundation Announces $419,000 in 2016 Grants to Organizations.

Also check out our grantees project page at Graham Foundation: UR (Urban Research), Volumes 07-11.

#GrahamFunded ‪#‎GrahamGrantee

Keeping the Lucas Museum in Chicago

Elisabeth Weiman

As Terreform launches a new large-scale study of the South Side in Chicago, Michael Sorkin writes a letter to George Lucas and Mellody Hobson asking them to keep the Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts within the city. He points out an alternative site for the museum, one that would no longer take up park land but utilize the northern portion of a U.S. Steel site.

Read more here: Michael Sorkin urges Lucas Museum to stay in Chicago and revitalize the city’s South Side  (Architect's Newspaper)
And here: Architect Asks Lucas to Reconsider Museum for Chicago, Suggests U.S. Steel Site (Curbed Chicago)

Terreform_Perspective View_1.jpg

Proposing a Subway Freight System for NYC

Elisabeth Weiman

Makoto Okazaki, partner and principal architect at Michael Sorkin Studio, consulting on Terreform's New York City [Steady] State project, spoke at Urban Design Forum about a new form of mobility for the city. Makoto's proposal for a "Subway Freight System for NYC" introduced the idea of adapting the subway system to move goods. The subway could be used late at night to transfer items to distribution hubs and then in the early morning to move freight to shops throughout the city. He took this a step further, claiming that this would free up space above ground for pedestrians, recreation, and even urban farming. 

Read more about Urban Design Forum's "Onward: New Ideas for Urban Freight" panel.

The Power of Vertical Architecture

Elisabeth Weiman

Vyjayanthi Rao presented at "The Center Cannot Hold?" conference (London), the Calvert 22 Foundation's launch of event of its 12 week season of art and events, entitled "Power and Architecture." At this premiere, Vyjayanthi spoke about "Verticality, Post-Socialism and Re-Structuring in Mumbai" for the panel "Edifice Complex: Verticality Revisited."

Full conference schedule and topics: The Center Cannot Hold? New Monumentality, Neo-Modernism and Other Zombie Utopias.