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Currently I am the lead scholar advancing research on the role of the arts and the built environment in fostering civic agency for the Thriving Cities Lab, based at the University of Virginia. The Lab critically engages the consequences of the global shift towards urban environments for human thriving, and equips scholars, communities and practitioners with the intellectual resources for meeting them.

Organised around a Human Ecology Framework, the Lab sits at the intersection of multiple fields of thought and practice, drawing from the humanities, the natural and social sciences, and the applied sciences and professions. Building upon two decades of cutting-edge cultural analysis at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, the Lab works dynamically with the Thriving Cities Group. The Group applies civic design, a human-centered, multidisciplinary approach that engages thought leadership, community engagement, data, technology, and research to transform the best research and thinking into practical tools.

“We believe cities are more than just machines. They work best when they are able -- like the vibrant, diverse, and complex people who live in them -- to grow in ways that are increasingly integrated, cooperative, responsive, and healthy.”