Wayne State University, University of Detroit Mercy co-hosting global conference exploring just environments

University of Detroit Mercy and Wayne State University will co-host the Environmental Design Research Association’s 52nd annual conference May 19-23, 2021.

DETROIT — Experts from around the world will explore how research, design and relationships between people and environments contribute to the creation of justice when University of Detroit Mercy (Detroit Mercy) and Wayne State University co-host the Environmental Design Research Association’s (EDRA) 52nd annual conference May 19-23, 2021.

Delivered in a virtual format, EDRA52 DETROIT will bring together professionals from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds to examine topics surrounding the conference’s theme of just environments. The global conference features multiple keynote and plenary sessions, social and networking events, educational sessions, workshops and award ceremonies, as well as scholarship opportunities for students.

EDRA52 DETROIT’s theme of just environments was developed in December 2019 by faculty from Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture and Wayne State’s College of Engineering.

“Nothing seemed more pressing than the issue of justice,” said Claudia Bernasconi, associate professor and director of the master of architecture program at Detroit Mercy. “Understanding that building justice requires collaborative efforts by people of different disciplines and professions, cultural backgrounds, and racial and ethnic identities is at the core of the conference.”

“Attendees will learn that there is great collaboration among the Detroit urban universities, community groups, nonprofits and government organizations,” said Carol Miller, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of Healthy Urban Waters at Wayne State.

EDRA52 DETROIT’s keynote and plenary speakers will examine justice in the environment by looking at a variety of issues, including social, cultural and economic sustainability and equality in planning, policy making and public space design.

One plenary session, titled “Social Justice, Culture and Public Space: Transdisciplinary Perspectives,” will address how people can create a more socially just and culturally diverse public space. Additional speakers will be announced on the conference’s website in January.

Miller believes EDRA52 DETROIT will appeal to individuals from a wide range of backgrounds, beliefs and disciplines.

“EDRA52 DETROIT covers technical issues from engineering and science, as well as humanistic issues from psychology, communication and other research areas,” Miller said. “People generally enjoy expanding their range of colleagues and learning from others.”

Attendees are encouraged to participate in the conference by submitting work-in-progress abstracts and visual presentations “that address justice from a variety of perspectives and disciplines,” Bernasconi said.

The deadline to submit these projects is Jan. 8. As of mid-December, submissions have been received by people from 36 countries. Visit the conference's website to learn more about the various types of submissions.

“Submitting to EDRA52 DETROIT will allow participants to contribute to the discourse around justice at the conference and to benefit from being published in the conference proceedings,” Bernasconi said. “Work-in-progress abstracts provide an opportunity to network with other researchers and brainstorm how to advance the research and projects in the making.”

An international, interdisciplinary organization, EDRA was founded in 1968 by design professionals, social scientists, students, educators and facility managers. EDRA52 DETROIT marks the first time EDRA’s annual conference will be hosted in Michigan.

Early bird registration for EDRA52 DETROIT starts Dec. 21 and runs through March 8, and features a 20% discount off regular conference fees.

Learn more about EDRA and its memberships and register for EDRA52 DETROIT by visiting EDRA's website.

Follow EDRA on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for updates on EDRA 52 DETROIT.


About Wayne State University

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit research.wayne.edu.

About University of Detroit Mercy

University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan's largest and most comprehensive Catholic university,sponsored bythe Religious Sisters of Mercy and the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Today's University boasts the heritage of two founding institutions: the University of Detroit, founded in 1877 by the Jesuits, and Mercy College of Detroit, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1941.The two consolidated as University of Detroit Mercy in 1990.Detroit Mercy offers more than 100undergraduate, graduate and professionalacademic degrees and programsthroughseven schools and colleges. Detroit Mercy educates the whole person, focusing on the value of excellent academics, service to the community and a deeper spirituality to prepare graduates to live lives of purpose and conscience. For more information, please visitwww.udmercy.edu.

Contact info

Julie O'Connor

Director, Research Communications
Phone: 313-577-8845
Email: julie.oconnor@wayne.edu