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Maria Taylor

Current Student—Ph.D in Architecture

Maria Taylor

Specialization: History and Theory
Advisor: Prof. Andrew Herscher

My scholarly interests center on the evolving trajectory of utopian and normative urban design ideologies in the 20th century. I am particularly interested in the way that place- and time-specific notions of "nature" and "urbanity" influence and are influenced by the discourse and decision-making of the built environment professions. In my dissertation research, I investigate the history of post-WWII Soviet urbanism from a landscape history perspective, looking in particular at the architectural development of the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk and its ozelenenie [greening] in the 1950s to 1970s. In this period, bracketed by Khrushchev's mass housing program and Virgin Lands campaign on one side and increasing environmentalist and preservationist opposition to large-scale hydro-engineering projects on the other (e.g. among Siberian "Village Prose" writers), Krasnoyarsk's development reveals how the modernist trinity of 'light, air, and greenery' was distinctively incorporated into Soviet citybuilding. This research contributes a needed alternative perspective onto the history of 20th century urban design and environmental thought.

Grants & Fellowships:

  • 2013-2014: SSRC Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF)
  • 2013-2014: U.S. Fulbright Program Student/Research Fellowship
  • 2013-2014: University of Michigan Rackham International Research Award
  • 2012-13: Nathan & Marilyn Levine Architectural Research Scholarship, Taubman College, UM
  • 2012: SSRC 'Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship' (DPDF) in Ecological History.
  • 2011-12: Graduate Seminar on Global Transformations (GSGT) at the Center for International and Comparative Studies, UM
  • 2011: Summer Program Grant, Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, UM
  • 2010-11: Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies Student Fellowship, UM
  • 2005-2006: Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, Stanford University.

Selected Conference Papers & Other Work:

  • Conference Paper: "Re-constructing a Profession: Urban Design in post-Soviet Siberia," Association of American Geographers Annual Conference 2010, Washington, D.C.
  • Conference Paper: "Nature, Ecology, & Urban Design Narratives in Contemporary Siberia," American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies Annual Conference 2009, Boston, MA
  • MLA research thesis: "Local Landscapes, Local Views: Nature, Ecology & Urban Design in Krasnoyarsk, Russia," University of Washington, 2009.
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