Detroit Mercy and Wayne State Host Conference on Just Environments


The upcoming Environmental Design Research Association virtual conference on equitable environments is being co-hosted by the University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University. // Courtesy Detroit Mercy

T.The University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University are coming together to co-host the 52nd Annual Environmental Design Research Association Conference this spring. The virtual five-day event for the international organization is called Just Environments: Transdisciplinary Border Crossings and is being investigated Issues such as building just communities, creating just societies, supporting just movements, and creating just places.

The conference will take place from May 19-23 and is aimed at researchers, practitioners and educators. However, the organizers believe that it will appeal to people from different backgrounds. The conference theme is Environments Only and was created by the faculty of the Detroit Mercy School of Architecture and Wayne State College of Engineering.

“Nothing seemed more urgent than the question of justice” says Claudia Bernasconi, associate professor and director of the Master of Architecture program at Detroit Mercy and conference director for EDRA52 Detroit. “The focus of the conference is the understanding that building justice requires the joint efforts of people from different disciplines and professions, cultural origins, racial and ethnic identity. EDRA52 Detroit is about the importance of a healthy, just environment and quality of life for all people, as well as the duty to come together to recognize injustices and to strategize and implement new approaches to promoting justice. “

Toni L. Griffin and Justin Garret Moore will be keynote speakers for the conference. // Courtesy Detroit Mercy

The event features social and networking events, training sessions, workshops, awards shows, student scholarship opportunities, and virtual mobile sessions that provide attendees with a tour of Detroit, an overview of community projects in the city, and information on local social justice groups .

The conference will also feature plenary discussions, including a conversation with Sharon Egretta Sutton, an architect, environmental psychologist and visiting professor of architecture at the Parsons School of Design; Lauren Hood, a native of Detroit, urban planner and MLK visiting scholar at MIT Urban Studies; and Garnette Cadogan, writer, journalist and founder of the Institute for Afro-Urbanism. The trio will discuss how the legacy of racism continues to affect cities.

Toni L. Griffin, the founder of UrbanAC, a New York planning and design management company, will deliver the opening address for EDRA52 Detroit, while Justin Garret Moore, a transdisciplinary designer and urbanist, will be the program director for the Humanities in Place program at The Andrew W The Mellon Foundation will deliver the closing speech at the conference.

EDRA52 Detroit ticket prices vary based on Environmental Design Research Association membership status, student status, and other factors. One-day registration for the conference is between $ 100 and $ 300, and full conference registration is between $ 120 and $ 550. Those who register for the full conference by March 8th will receive an early bird discount of 20 percent.

For more information, visit


Dusty Kennedy