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High Ground, Low Ground: The New Racial Topography of Urban Development in the 21st Century:
In the 12 years years since Hurricane Katrina, planners and policy makers have promoted redevelopment on the city’s historic high ground as the method and metric of rebuilding a more socially and environmentally just city. Yet instead of promoting justice, post-disaster recovery has reflected a new topography of vulnerability and privilege. The “new” New Orleans exposes the nuanced ways that neoliberalization concentrates affluence and displaces poor communities of color on both high and low ground and this research interrogates the racial topographies of redevelopment in a 21st century, post-disaster city.


Dr. Anna Livia Brand is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on the intersection of race and space, specifically looking at historic black mecca neighborhoods and how they change through processes of gentrification and resistance. Her comparative research focuses on cities in the American North and South, including New Orleans, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago and New York. This work highlights the ongoing spatial impacts of racial processes and resistance to these processes over time and evaluates the role that urban planning and design plays. Within her work, Dr. Brand focuses on interpretations of everyday landscapes and the built environment and she is interested in the ways that people shape and create a place for themselves in urban environments and the ways that they imagine more just places and communities.
Dr. Brand’s background is in urban planning and design. She has worked professionally as both a planner and designer. She received her Bachelor and Master of Architecture from Tulane University, her master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, and her Ph.D. from MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

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Behrakis Health Sciences Center, 310
30 Leon Street
Boston, MA 02115 United States

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