Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2020

Francis Kéré: Primary Schol in Burkina Faso

Editor's Note

by Mui Ho

Clara Irazabal-Zurita, our speaker for the lecture program at our retreat last year, has been awarded the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards for the 2020-2021 academic year. She will be spending her time in Costa Rica continuing her study of Venezuelan migration to Costa Rica, an extension of her prior studies of migration and planning in Latin America. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to hear her speak last year. Her talk was very inspiring and it is still resonates in my head. Looking forward, we always have our eye out for women who have made significant impacts in the area of planning and design to share their work with us. Please let our Steering Committee know if you hear of any exciting lectures or speakers who would be able to share their work with us.

Many of our members have been sending me heart-warming emails regarding how much they like learning about other members' activities, both at work and in their homes. They particularly liked seeing the innovative ways that other members created at-home workspaces while in lockdown. I highly encourage you to email me any pictures you may have, as well as a short paragraph of explanation, to share in our next newsletter.

Clara Irazabal-Zurita - Fulbright Scholar Award

Three UMKC Faculty Receive Fulbright Scholar Awards

Three University of Missouri-Kansas City faculty members, Brian Frehner, Ph.D.; Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Ph.D.; and Charles Inboriboon, M.D.; have received prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Awards for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The Fulbright program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational program. Award recipients teach, conduct research, and provide expertise abroad in a program designed to build lasting connections between the people of the United States and other countries.

Clara Irazábal-Zurita, director of the Latinx and Latin American Studies program and professor of planning in the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning + Design, received an award to lecture and conduct research at the Universidad de Costa Rica. She will focus on selective (dis)affiliations and (sub)urban implications of middle-class Venezuelan migration to Costa Rica.
The project is an extension of her study of migration and urban planning in U.S. Latinx/immigrant communities and in Latin America, including Costa Rica and Venezuela. Irazábal-Zurita plans to conduct her work in Costa Rica during the summers of 2021 and 2022.Clara Irazabal-Zurita Migration

Interview with Burkina Faso Architect - Francis Kéré

In this interview with Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, Francis Kéré discusses his approach in architecture as it relates to his hometown, culture, and his upbringing in Burkina Faso. His minimalist approach reflects his culture and the environment in which he grew up. You may find the interview at the link below, as well as images of his work.

His interview is linked here

Celebrating 30 Years of ADA

by Jacqueline Morgan

Prior to the passage of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, people with disabilities had great difficulty in navigating public and private spaces. People in wheelchairs could not use public transportation without abandoning their wheelchairs. A restaurant could refuse to serve a person with disabilities and a grocery store could prevent a disabled person from buying food there. A business could refuse to hire a disabled person and they could be paid less. Even homosexuals were considered disabled.

Before the ADA was passed, people with disabilities found ways to make public spaces more accessible to them. Outside of the National Museum for American History, a street curb was smashed by people in wheelchairs to create a makeshift ramp and allow them to access the museum more easily. This act reflects an instance in history where urban design and architecture is influenced by people with disabilities.

My perspective on ADA as an architect is influenced by my mother. As a trained nurse, she managed to raise four children and devoted much of her time to helping the handicapped. Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, there was very little help available to disabled people. While my sisters and I were helping my mother with her volunteer work, we met a woman who was paralyzed from the neck down. Before being paralyzed in a car accident, she had been a librarian. Having spent the last 15 years confined in bed, she had a wish to get out and go to the theatre. When we tried to take her to the theatre, my sisters and I struggled to lug her up the theatre’s stairs and a passerby told us that people like her should not be allowed to go out. This rude comment would not have occurred if wheelchair-access to public spaces had been available.

Our family would also regularly open our home to disabled people to give them the opportunity to meet other people and feel more integrated into their community. One woman who came to our home had been admitted to a mental institution, as she had been labeled a murderer for killing her husband. A seemingly very normal woman, she likely had been abused by her husband before the murder. Meeting women like her opened my eyes to the gendered injustices of our criminal system.

As I celebrate the thirty year anniversary of the ADA, I still hear people voicing their complaints about the limitations of the ADA. While it may seem as if the ADA demands expansion, I would like to share these stories to remind people of how far we have come to allow disabled people to live reasonable, independent lives.

Something to Pick Our Spirits Up

The countries most affected by COVID-19 are the US, Brazil, Russia, Spain, the UK, Italy, and France. Here are photos of their leaders:

The countries which are recognized as having best managed the crisis are Germany, Taiwan, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, and Denmark.  Here are photos of their leaders:

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