Spring 2019 Bios and Abstracts

Lectures, Conferences & Events» Past Lectures & Events

Panel Discussion with Harvey Molotch and Davide Ponzini,  co-authors
of “The New Arab Urban: Gulf Cities of  Wealth, Ambition, and Distress”

Harvey Molotch, Emeritus Professor, New York University
Davide Ponzini, Professor, Politecnico di Milano

Neil Brenner, Professor of Urban Theory, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Rosie Bsheer, Professor of History, Harvard University
Bish Sanyal, Ford International Professor of Urban Development and Planning, MIT

Video of Panel Discussion

Harvey Molotch is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at both NYU and University of California, Santa Barbara. His books include the classic Urban Fortunes (with John Logan), Where Stuff Comes From, and Against Security. His awards include, most recently, the Du Bois Award for Career of Distinguished Achievement from the American Sociological Association.

Davide Ponzini is Associate Professor of Urban Planning at Politecnico di Milano. He has also been a visiting scholar at Yale, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, and Sciences Po Paris and Visiting Professor at TU Munich. Among recent publications, he is co-author (with Pier Carlo Palermo) of the book Place-Making and Urban Development and (with the photographer Michele Nastasi) Starchitecture: Scenes, Actors, and Spectacles in Contemporary Cities.

Molotch H., Ponzini D. (2019, Eds) The New Arab Urban: Gulf Cities of Wealth, Ambition, and Distress, New York University Press
Harvey Molotch at NYU
Politecnico di Milano – Transnational Architecture and Urbanism research unit

Rebuilding Architectural Heritage in Post-Conflict Mosul:
Current Challenges, Considerations, and Case Studies

Allison Cuneo
AKPIA@MIT Post-Doctoral Fellow

Allison Cuneo is an archaeologist specializing in critical heritage studies. Her current fieldwork centers on northern Iraq and her research concerns cultural heritage destruction, international heritage management policy and practice, and community-based participatory research. She has conducted archaeological and ethnographic fieldwork in Greece, England, and Spain, and has been a manager for capacity building and monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding programs, including the University Linkage Program at Mosul University and the Cultural Heritage Initiatives at ASOR. Currently she is a post-doctoral fellow in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT and a co-principal investigator with the Mosul Heritage Stabilization Program (MHSP), a multi-year U.S. Department of State Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation cooperative agreement with her independent consulting firm, Cultural Property Consultants, and the University of Pennsylvania Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations (NELC).

In Iraq artifacts and monuments historically have been valued national resource, but conflict has upended current heritage management policies and challenged the traditional definition of national culture. Following past wars, the growing market for antiquities and the catastrophic destruction were considered the primary threats to Iraqi heritage, whereas more mundane and perpetual threats like economic development and decay were underfunded and overlooked. The consequence of these narrow heritage priorities has resulted in lowered preservation standards that favor reactive solutions over long-term preventative strategies while privileging foreign interventionist strategies over local capacity building.
Iraq once again finds itself in a state of recovery, and both domestic and foreign powers are eager to rebuild after this most recent iteration of conflict while avoiding previous heritage management missteps. The defeat of the ISIS marks a significant victory that has transformed Baghdad’s relationship with its neighbors, foreign powers, and its own citizens. The places fast-tracked for rehabilitation in this post-conflict period will become highly visible national symbols, which will have significant ramifications for Iraq’s nationalized cultural identity locally while setting the tone for international heritage management practice.
Drawing on recent fieldwork in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, this talk will explore the modalities of state-sponsored preservation initiatives. It will outline the various cultural preservation projects active Mosul and the surrounding area to identify the constraints on protecting architectural heritage during post-conflict reconstruction and examine the sociopolitical implications of repairing cultural sites impacted by armed conflict.

Contemporizing Traditional Water Architecture
Regeneration  |  Mainstreaming  |  Replication

A. Mridul/Shilpa Mridul
Architect/ Entreprenuer

Birkha Bawari Synopsis


A. Mridul, an internationally awarded architect, has a variegated palette of projects in India and the US. He is passionate about the ancient water heritage of India and has been campaigning for its regeneration & mainstreaming and replication, the latter exemplified by his internationally acclaimed project, Birkha Bawari, a massive rain-water harvesting step-well built in 2009.
He has been delivering a series of talks at various forums in India, Australia and the UK.
Mridul’s practice is an interesting mix of various types: institutional, public, housing, religious, etc. His projects are an extension of heritage and contemporize traditional practices to make them timeless, thus modern and futuristic.
An exponent of Green Architecture, it was for him a praxis much before it became a movement. He holds that India already has a rich repertoire of traditional construction and design practices that can be innovated upon and applied to contemporary designs to achieve eco-friendly sustainable architectural creations that do not guzzle on energy.
His portrait as Leader of Sustainability has been compiled by mid-career professional pursuing the Executive Master of Natural Resources program of the Virginia Tech University, USA.
He sits on juries and boards of public and private institutions and is currently officiating as Chairman of Rupayan Sansthan, a folk lore institute founded by noted anthropologist Komal Kothari. Together with his wife, he has co-founded The Jodhpur Lore, an initiative to promote centuries old traditional crafts of the region through workshops and training.
Shilpa Mridul
Mrs. Shilpa Mridul is an entrepreneur, a garment designer, an interior designer, a theatre artist and, at the same time, an ambassador of green architecture. She has worked in reviving traditional and vernacular designs by deftly weaving ethnicity in modern clothes. Through this, she has enlisted numerous traditional craftsmen and women providing them employment and contributing towards their survival. While working with these craftswomen, her interest in indigenous technologies grew, including in water and sustainability, which are at the core of the survival issues of rural folk.  She has since collaborated with her husband, Architect A Mridul, in his ongoing mission to revive traditional technologies to recreate a sustainable environment in the arid regions of Rajasthan. She is especially focussing on the social and cultural perspectives of the traditional water systems of western India.
Over the last three years she has been, along with her husband, co-presenting talks on traditional water architecture in various universities in the UK and in Australia.
Shilpa is the co-founder of The Jodhpur Lore, an initiative to promote the traditional crafts of her region by way of experiential and training workshop to international artists and art enthusiasts