overhead view of a group of students around a table in a concrete dome with overhead lighting

An exhibition for the fall 2016 seminar titled Cuba as Project: Urban, Political, and Environmental Transformations of the Island. William Staffeld / AAP

Over the next three years, the Mellon Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities will offer two types of innovative courses annually that bring critical humanistic thought to bear on contemporary American urbanity. The Design Justice Workshops and Urban Justice Labs are interdisciplinary courses that bridge humanist and design-based modes of inquiry and pedagogy, and integrate Cornell's many unique collections and resources.

Design Justice Workshops are offered in the fall semester and focus on research and design as it relates to race and social justice in American urban environments.

Urban Justice Labs are offered in the spring semester and focus on race and social justice within interrelated American urban/rural contexts. These seminars enable student collaboration with the Cornell Library and Cornell's Johnson Art Museum to research collections dedicated to urban challenges related to race and social justice in the United States.

Each seminar is taught by faculty from both the humanities and urban/architecture design disciplines, and each seeks to enroll highly motivated graduate students from design and humanities majors.

Prior to Fall 2021, the two-course seminar series included Urban Representation Labs dedicated to interrogating the myriad modes of urban representation and expression as embodied in artifacts held in Cornell's archival collections and Expanded Practice Seminars focused on the expanded conceptual framework demanded by contemporary global urbanism.