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EDRA52 Detroit
EDRA52Detroit: Just Environments May 19-22, 2021


EDRA52Detroit: Just Environments

The conference will focus on how research, design, and relationships between people and environments contribute to the creation of justice. Current social, health, environmental, and justice challenges call for collaborative and transdisciplinary efforts to pursue intentional questioning of disciplinary borders and sensitive approaches to framing and solving pressing contemporary problems through research and practice.

we invite submissions in one or more of the following topical areas/themes:

framing just worlds

supporting just movements

building just communities

designing just places

sharing just resources

accessing just technologies

creating just societies

for more details download the <<Call for Proposals>>


In addition, we require contributors to #TAG their submission by choosing one or two (maximum) of the #TAGs listed below. #TAGs will be used to organize topics into transdisciplinary tracks by the Conference Review Committee:


Technology & Data

[accessibility, mapping, modeling,

simulation, communicating data]


Politics & Place

[national, social borders, policy,

territories, cities, cultures, communities]


Interface between Research & Practice

[collaborative projects, outreach/

education, transdisciplinary work]


Future & Possibility 

[possibilities, scenarios, trajectories,manifestos]

submission types

intensive sessions

individual presentations

abstract / paper (<<template>>)

group presentations

symposia, workshops, practitioner/ researcher collaborations

visual presentations

posters / digital media shorts

mobile sessions

graduate student mentor workshop

student poster award / student paper award


key dates*

AUG 14 th >>

Call for proposals released

AUG 24 th >>

Submission portal opens join us!

NOV 2 nd >>

Due date for all Intensives, Abstracts (individual and group presentations), and Full Papers

NOV 20 th >>

Due date for Mobile Sessions

DEC 18 th >>
 Due Date for Graduate Student Mentoring Workshop (GSMW) applications

DEC 21 st >>

Early Bird Registration Opens

JAN 8 th >>
Due date for Visual Presentation Abstracts (Poster and Digital Media Shorts)

MARCH 1 st >>

Regular registration begins/Early Bird

registration ends

Mentor applications for GSMW due

MARCH 31 st >>

Final date to register for the conference for ALL conference presenters to be

included in the EDRA52 program

APR 16 th >>

Poster digital copy due

All virtual materials due

(session pre-recorded presentations,

Digital Media Shorts)

MAY 19 -23  rd

EDRA52 Conference















The EDRA 52 organizing committee is striving to give participants the flexibility to attend events virtually. EDRA52 shifted to VIRTUAL Detroit. Updates will be published regularly on the EDRA52 main page




The world is in the middle of several converging global crises—of pandemic, overpolicing, racism, environmental degradation, economic and gender inequality—all of which demand that we interrogate how we imagine just environments. The making of just environments requires us to question what goes into conceiving, creating, building, nurturing, and sustaining justice as we negotiate new ways of interacting in public space. The very concept of public space has become contested and occupied by global protests. How we navigate these new spatial and ideological environments raises several questions: What makes a just environment in a world where democracy is threatened? What is the time and space of environments, and of justice? How can environments be integrated into the social world and values of freedom, equality, and liberation? What forecloses this possibility? What are the prospects of utopian imaginings in uncertain and revolutionary times?


The conference will provide a platform to explore issues of justice in the environment in relation to social, cultural, and economic sustainability; race and culture; education, workplace, and recreation; youth and aging; health and wellness; equality in planning, policy making, and public space design; physical border conditions, urban fragmentation and divisions; practices of inclusion and community engagement; intersections of justice and ecological sustainability; accessibility and mobility; environmental and community shared resources; pressing global displacement and migration issues; philosophical and ethical concerns; and the necessity of creating social, built, and natural environments in support of a just future.


EDRA52 invites proposals that both describe and speculate on transdisciplinary modes of inquiry using novel approaches in research, teaching, practice, and co-production to create just environments. Transdisciplinary methods are increasingly used to address challenges facing the globe, such as climate change, poverty, equitable development, that require both disciplinary and global border crossings. Transdisciplinary methods, by definition, require us to operate collectively at the boundary and across boundaries – facilitating the creation of “net new” methods and outcomes to create new knowledge and solutions to “wicked” problems. We invite proposals that address the hybridity, complexity, and dynamics of transdisciplinary collaboration. We are especially interested in research and practice that expand disciplinary boundaries and identify new territories for design agency and action while simultaneously embracing local contexts, being oriented toward action, and addressing contemporary societal problems.  



When: May 19 - 23, 2021

Where: University of Detroit Mercy & Wayne State University


Online registration opens:

November 10, 2020


transdisciplinary & allied fields


We hope to receive individual or collaborative proposals from varied disciplines, including but not limited to fields such as:



African American studies



artificial intelligence

behavioral science

biological sciences


behavioral science

biological sciences


civil engineering


community development

computer science


criminal justice






environmental science

ethnic studies

family studies



global/cultural studies

health sciences

healthcare design


historic preservation



interior design

landscape architecture



physical sciences

political science


public administration

public art

public health

public interest design

public policy

religious studies

science & technology studies


soil science

transportation design

urban planning

urban design

urban studies

women's & gender studies



  EDRA52 organizing committee


EDRA52 Conference Chair


Claudia Bernasconi*
Program Committee Chair

EDRA Board of Directors

Associate Professor

School of Architecture

University of Detroit Mercy


EDRA52 Conference Co-Chairs


Libby Balter Blume*
Emerita Professor

College of Liberal Arts and Education

University of Detroit Mercy


Tadd Heidgerken*
Assistant  Professor

School of Architecture

University of Detroit Mercy


Toni Henry 
Designer & Project Manager

Detroit Collaborative Design Center University of Detroit Mercy

James Leach
Assistant Professor

School of Architecture

University of Detroit Mercy


Erika Lindsay
Assistant  Professor

School of Architecture

University of Detroit Mercy


Carol Miller*

School of Engineering

Wayne State University


Kris Nelson
Assistant  Professor

School  of  Architecture

University of Detroit Mercy


Gianluca Sperone* 

College of Liberal Arts

Wayne State University


Noah Resnick
Associate Dean


School of Architecture

University of Detroit Mercy


*Conference   Review   Committee   members.  
The Conference   Review   Committee   is   responsible   for overseeing  the  peer-review  process  and  organizing submissions into conference tracks.