Wayne State, UD-Mercy to host environmental design conference

DETROIT—The University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University will co-host the Environmental Design Research Association’s 52nd annual conference May 19-23.

Experts from around the world will explore how research, design and relationships between people and environments contribute to the creation of justice.

Delivered in a virtual format, EDRA52 will bring together professionals from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds to examine topics surrounding the conference’s theme of just environments. The global conference features multiple keynote and plenary sessions, social and networking events, educational sessions, workshops and award ceremonies, as well as scholarship opportunities for students.

EDRA52’s theme of just environments was developed in December 2019 by faculty from Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture and Wayne State’s College of Engineering.

“Nothing seemed more pressing than the issue of justice,” said Claudia Bernasconi, associate professor and director of the master of architecture program at Detroit Mercy. “Understanding that building justice requires collaborative efforts by people of different disciplines and professions, cultural backgrounds, and racial and ethnic identities is at the core of the conference.”

Added Carol Miller, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Healthy Urban Waters at Wayne State: “Attendees will learn that there is great collaboration among the Detroit urban universities, community groups, nonprofits and government organizations.”

EDRA52’s keynote and plenary speakers will examine justice in the environment by looking at a variety of issues, including social, cultural and economic sustainability and equality in planning, policy making and public space design.

One plenary session, titled “Social Justice, Culture and Public Space: Transdisciplinary Perspectives,” will address how people can create a more socially just and culturally diverse public space. Additional speakers will be announced on the conference’s website in January.

Miller said she believes EDRA52 will appeal to individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, beliefs and disciplines.

“EDRA52 Detroit covers technical issues from engineering and science, as well as humanistic issues from psychology, communication and other research areas,” Miller said. “People generally enjoy expanding their range of colleagues and learning from others.”

Attendees are encouraged to participate in the conference by submitting work-in-progress abstracts and visual presentations “that address justice from a variety of perspectives and disciplines,” Bernasconi said.

An international, interdisciplinary organization, EDRA was founded in 1968 by design professionals, social scientists, students, educators and facility managers. EDRA52 marks the first time EDRA’s annual conference will be hosted in Michigan.

Early bird registration for EDRA52 runs through March 8, and features a 20% discount off regular conference fees.

Learn more about EDRA and its memberships and register for EDRA52 DETROIT by visiting EDRA’s website.

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