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Associate Professor Larissa Larsen discusses science, relationship to health, democracy & social justice at Ford School March 14

Larissa Larsen, Associate Professor in the Urban and Regional Planning Program and at the School of Natural Resources and Environment, will provide commentary on the topic, "Science and the City: Toward Health, Democracy, and Social Justice," on Monday, March 14, 2011, at a lecture hosted by School of Social Work, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the Center for Global Health. Larsen will respond to a presentation made by Jason Corburn, Associate Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning, Co-Director of the Master of City Planning, and Master of Public Health Degree Program, University of Berkeley.

Cities have long been understood for shaping, and being shaped by, scientific and technical institutions and the knowledge they generate. The credibility of scientific claims stems from widely shared assumptions about where processes of discovery and justification take place, and about the people, instruments, specimens, inscriptions and infrastructure assembled in specific places. Universities, laboratories, museums, hospitals and other 'places of science' are often located in cities and act as sites for legitimate science-based public decisions. At the same time, science and scientific knowledge have shaped urban life – from transport and communication systems to urban planning and architectural norms. This talk explores these Science and the City connections through the lens of urban health and argues that in order to address persistent urban health inequities, greater emphasis needs to be placed on ensuring that the science underwriting public policy is more open and democratic. A democratic science for the city emphasizes that truth is provisional, that questioning of experts should be encouraged, that steps forward may need corrective steps back, and that understanding history is the surest foundation for moving toward more healthy and just cities.

The lecture will take place at 4 p.m. at 1110 Weill Hall (Betty Ford Classroom), 735 S. State St., Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

The event is sponsored by the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. For more information, go to: stpp.fordschool.umich.edu

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