Public Forum Looks at Urban Revitalization in New Orleans and Haiti

August 23, 2010 — A public forum, "Five Years After the Storm: The Politics of 'Rebuilding' in a Post-Katrina World," will be held Wednesday at the University of Virginia.

Organized by the 2010-11 Class Matters Lecture Series and the U.Va. Haiti Working Group, the forum will feature guest speakers Lisa Bates of Portland State University and Michael Ralph of New York University. It will be held at 5 p.m. in the auditorium of U.Va.'s Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature and Culture/Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

Bates, from Portland State's department of urban planning, is interested in the connection between housing and neighborhoods. Her research has examined urban neighborhood revitalization planning and its effects on the housing market, mortgage borrowing decisions by low-income and minority homeowners and the recovery of the housing market in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  

Ralph, an anthropologist in NYU's Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, will discuss the relationships between sovereign power and democratic rule in both Haiti and New Orleans in the aftermath of catastrophic events.

The Class Matters Lecture Series, recently created by a coalition of U.Va. offices and groups, aims to facilitate greater dialogue and collaborative action around issues of race, class, poverty and public policy within and beyond Charlottesville. Class Matters will consist of four public forums and one workshop on public policy opportunities for underrepresented minorities.

U.Va. co-sponsors include the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies, Corcoran Department of History, Black Student Alliance, Office of African-American Affairs, Miller Center of Public Affairs and the University and Community Action for Racial Equity group.

For information, contact Yarimar Bonilla,, or Claudrena Harold,