Top Row (Left to Right): Desiree LaVecchia, Kaitlin Killpack, Travers Martin and Themistoklis Pellas
Desiree is an interloper in the Urban Ecologies MS program. She is currently an MA candidate at the Graduate Program of International Affairs where she specializes in Cities & Urbanization. She hopes to complete her degree this December. Her undergraduate background is in both International Relations and Anthropology.
Her recent academic focus centers on strategic urban divisions, as facilitated by neoliberal models of investment & development. Through this lens, she is researching the post-war reconstruction process of Lebanon. Her Master’s thesis analyzes the privatized redevelopment of downtown Beirut and the civic/state centered model of al-Dahiya.
Outside of her thesis work, she can often be found exploring abandoned buildings and vacant spaces in various cities including New York, Beirut, Tampa, Detroit, Newark, etc. She is in the brainstorming phase of how she will align this interest in the space of catastrophe [post-war & post-industrial] with an emerging interest in the alternative urban systems [economic, social, pedagogical] that operate outside of the dominant capitalist system.
I was born and raised in Richmond, VA and received my BFA in Graphic Design from Virginia Commonwealth University, where I was involved in various projects concerning the urban environment and sustainability. Projects included a cultural exchange project with the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe, PSA’s for children about city gardens, and the development of a device called InSpaces that enables people to interact with virtual media in real space and time within Richmond’s historical sites. I currently work for a fashion design company where the environment, human rights, community partnerships and good design are our top priorities. I have always sought further learning in a program that combines art and design, social anthropology, activism and environmental studies, and Design and Urban Ecologies seems to have articulated just that. I am so excited for this opportunity, and am ready to lend a hand in generating good ideas to promote positive change in our cities and communities.
Is a spatial planner from Heraklion, Crete. The rough landscape of this island is the matrix of his inspiration, while the way its resources are exploited one of the main drives of his professional urgency. Far from than a profession though, the engagement with spatial planning is a passion for places and the way they manifest themselves in the everyday human affairs. In that manner he travelled a lot around Europe before crossing the Atlantic to join the Parsons Urban School. Along that time he worked in Amsterdam for CITIES the magazine and participated in the application process of a project between Canada-Mexico-Brazil-The Netherlands-Greece funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This project, to be initiated in 2013, looks at how garden ecology can support the self-organization and self-sufficiency of communities. He is currently residing in Caribbean Brooklyn.
I was born in Essex County New Jersey where neighbors would brag of being only 13 miles from New York City. Although I have grown up as a “bridge and tunnel kid”, New York City and the greater aesthetic of post-industrial East Coast American cities have greatly influenced my interest in design. My fascination for art and sculpture has always made me question how the simple ergonomics of a door handle to the elaborate gridded plan of a city can influence people’s actions. A love for the built forms of architecture and the temporal processes of ecology have lead me to an undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in Environmental Planning and Design with a focus on Landscape Architecture. Experience working with a Seattle based landscape architecture firm turned me on to the economic, social, and political restrictions that create the framework for design in “the real world”. In an attempt to reconnect with the ideals which excited me in the early stages of my education, I traveled the country and was able to participate in many volunteer opportunities on a very local scale. My newly invigorated desire for urban design has led me to pursue a MS in Design and Urban Ecologies from Parsons University, allowing me to better understand the processes which contribute to the physical forms and social practices of public urban spaces.