2017-18 Faculty Seed Fund Sprouts and Shoots: Part 2

November 29, 2018

In roundtables convened in Williams Hall November 1 and 15, 2018, faculty recipients of the 2018 Research and Teaching Seed Fund awards presented first fruits of their projects to faculty, staff and students. Drawing on those presentations, this series offers a brief glimpse of the exciting new initiatives in environmental humanities being developed by Penn faculty with support from the fund.

We are currently accepting applications for 2019 Seed Funds from faculty interested in building toward new courses, creating new public engagement tools or developing innovative cross-disciplinary research projects that push the boundaries of environmental inquiry at Penn.

Green Infrastructure?: An Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Technologies of Nature and the Natures of Technology

Nikhil Anand (Anthropology, School of Arts & Sciences), Allison Lassiter (City and Regional Planning, PennDesign)


With seed funding from PPEH, Nikhil Anand and Allison Lassiter hosted Green Infrastructure? A symposium on the technologies of nature and the nature of technologies. We began with questions extending beyond the hydro-logics of green infrastructure: what kind of social, political and design problems is green infrastructure responding to? In what ways does green infrastructure address and generate environmental inequalities? To what extent does green infrastructure demand formality and the performances of liberal governmentality?

We engaged in an interdisciplinary discussion of green infrastructure in the symposium, with talks by practitioners and scholars coming from anthropology, economics, landscape architecture, geography, and engineering. We anticipate that the symposium was the first event in a longer, more sustained interdisciplinary research collaboration on critical studies of green infrastructure. We left with questions on when is green not enough? can there be too much green? how does social life intersect with design, technology, and the promises of infrastructure?