A progressive, generative, interdisciplinary conference & research series

SPIA initiaties Ridenour Faculty Fellowship conference & research series – A different conference format for generating different approaches to the pressing problems of our time.

Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs has initiated a conference and research series promoting interdisciplinary discussion in order to overcome the disciplinary limitations in understanding social phenomena and in suggesting solutions to problems. The first conference took place this April and focused on distressed cities.

Our approach is twofold: First we aim for a progressive interdisciplinary exchange during the conferences. Second, we generate a research network between SPIA faculty and students and external scholars and artists, with the goal of producing edited volumes from the research that sparks off at our conferences.

The conference format of our Distressed Cities conference featured structured yet free flowing conversation and allowed new explorations of empirical research and conceptual ideas to emerge. Conversations between social scientists, geographers, artists, public administration scholars, planners, landscape architects, economists, lawyers, and others highlighted new ideas, forged cross cutting themes, questioned the concepts and methods we use, and made intellectual and aesthetic connections not previously in place. This is the approach we generate.

Stay tuned for our ongoing research on distressed cities and for the 2013 conference.

Watch guest speakers Carol Becker and Robert A. Beauregard and other contributors share their insights and perspectives on distressed cities here.

Anne M. Khademian, Anja H. Bieri


Videos up: watch our scholars reflect on distressed cities

Watch our scholars speak about various aspects of distressed cities and about ideas triggered by this conference. The videos were made during the conference and reflect the interdisciplinary inspiration at work.

Watch all videos here.

Featured video of our guest speaker Robert Beauregard, Columbia University