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Lecture: Catherine Tumber

Lecture: Catherine Tumber

The Death and Life of America's Smaller Industrial Cities

Catherine Tumber is a visiting scholar and Dukakis Center senior research associate at Northeastern University's School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. Tumber's most recent book is the acclaimed "Small, Gritty, and Green: The Promise of America's Smaller Industrial Cities in a Low-Carbon World" (MIT Press, 2012).

Tumber is also a Penn Institute for Urban Research Scholar and a Fellow of the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth's Gateway Cities Innovation Institute. She is a former resident fellow of Harvard University's W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African-American Research and wrote "Small, Gritty, and Green" while serving as Research Affiliate with the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning’s Community Innovators Lab.

She earned M.A. and Ph.D degrees in U.S. Social and Cultural History from the University of Rochester. A contributing editor for The Baffler magazine, she has also worked as an editor for the Boston Phoenix and the Boston Review. Her essays and articles have appeared in all three publications, as well as in the Nation, the Washington Post, Raritan, Architectural Record, In The Times, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, and Bookforum, among others.

Tumber, who spent most of her life in Rust Belt cities, wrote Small, Gritty, and Green" after traveling to twenty-five cities in the Northeast and Midwest–from Buffalo and Peoria to Detroit and Syracuse–interviewing planners, city officials, and activists, and weaving their stories into this exploration of small-scale urbanism. She argues that smaller cities can be a critical part of a sustainable future and a productive green economy. Her areas of expertise include low-carbon economic development, metropolitan land use and governance, and sustainable urban design.

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