Top Row (Left to Right): Aubrey Murdock, Charles Wirene, Chris Jones, Jessica Kisner Giraldo and Troy Andrew Hallisey
Jessica grew up in Bogota, Colombia. She has an undergraduate degree in Anthropology with a minor in Geography. Her urban interest started in her college years were she explore and investigated minorities and ethnic groups in urban landscapes and the role of street venders in the consolidation of urban economics and space configuration. In 2010 she started a landscape business that focused in how to empower citizens and how to built community with sustainable designs. She designed mostly parks and gardens in both urban and rural environments. With a two-year experience in the field, she noticed there were many problematic and unanswered questions in the consolidations of urban spaces. Rights to the city, integrating design, the role of the city planners and urbanists were some of the interrogatives that came up. With this on mind and the interest in the construction of cities with a more social and sustainable approach, she decided to move to New York to study the MS in Design and Urban Ecologies.
I grew up under the big skies of Wyoming before making my way to Columbia College Chicago. Throughout my undergraduate studies in film editing, I experienced the practice of translating digital information into human experience. This raised questions for me that transcend filmmaking, for examples: what systems and technologies do we use to function as a society? What is the relation between humans and systems, both organic and constructed? Chicago provided a fascinating lens for inquiry in an urban context. My curiosity deepened beyond college as I dabbled in the field of education – What systems do we use to learn and understand? How can we utilize pedagogy to deliver comprehensive and objective information to communities affected by development, so that these communities can participate in that process? I am excited for the opportunity that the Urban Design and Ecologies program provides to explore these questions in a trans-disciplinary setting.
Troy Andrew Hallisey
My interest in the urban comes from an early fascination with the built environment, or rather how we as humans adapt and mold space from nature. As an undergraduate, I studied landscape architecture and earned a degree in sociology because I wanted, not to plant trees and pick out pavers, but rather see how design can be used to solve sociological problems. Of course, twelve years ago, I thought I was on my own, and nothing like that existed, so I shifted my attention to earning a BFA which led to my current career as a graphic designer. When I stumbled across the Design and Urban Ecologies program, and after I got over the initial shock of the planets and the starts aligning, I realized I could finally unite all of my experience to my original goal of solving urban problems. Now that I am here, I am extremely thankful.
Charlie was born and raised in rural New York, followed by five years in Vermont as an undergraduate and resident director at Middlebury College. After such a rural experience, it is not much of a surprise that urbanism was not on Charlie’s radar growing up. Studying geography and environmental studies as an undergraduate, he discovered a passion for people, places, and the connections between them, as well as a strong belief in the idea of social responsibility, mostly in terms of environmental sustainability. After 16 months in the antipodes, Charlie wanted to have a more tangible effect in these fields and soon found himself working as a green builder in New York City. For two years he renovated brownstones in Brooklyn and Manhattan, intent on improving building efficiency through alternative building methods, followed by a short six month stint in southern Vermont working as a building performance contractor air sealing, insulating, and reducing client’s heating/cooling bills while improving their indoor air quality. Despite appreciating these experiences and the second education they provided, Charlie realized he wanted to work at a larger scale, trying to promote these technologies and values in a broader community. There is a tangible energy and excitement in cities and by trying to direct this energy, urbanism and urban practitioners have the potential to improve environmental, social, and economic inequalities. This potential is why Charlie is so excited to be a part of this Urban Ecologies program.
Possessing a diverse academic background that includes civil engineering & math, political science, and secondary education, Mr. Jones has employed the urban environment to inform his instruction of American history, geography and world history. As an urbanist, he hopes to “make the world glow” so that “it is the creatures of this world that the Delectable Mountains of our Pilgrim’s Progress are discovered, and where the radiance of the City of God is recognized as Man.”