The Nexus: Stephen Gray

For this month’s episode, we talk to urban designer and GSD professor Stephen Gray about Dark Matter University, bridging between academia and real-world projects, looking at the current moment of racial reckoning as an opportunity for innovation, and recent projects that critically examine the racialized history of the design disciplines. We also get into the parallels between the COVID-19 pandemic and the longer pandemic of structural racism, as well as how discourse around post-war or post-crisis city-building often falls short of committing to racial justice.


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Collage by Annie Liang (MLA ‘18) for the research project “Urban Intermedia,” part of the Harvard-Mellon Urban Initiative

Collage by Annie Liang (MLA ‘18) for the research project “Urban Intermedia,” part of the Harvard-Mellon Urban Initiative

Courtesy of Northeastern University Library Digital Repository Service

Headshot of Stephen Gray in front of a dark brown background

Photo courtesy of Stephen Gray

Stephen Gray is an Associate Professor of Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and founder of the Boston-based design firm Grayscale Collaborative. Operating at the intersection of research and practice, Stephen’s interests center on political and cultural justice in cities, socio-ecological urban design approaches to resilience, and the intersectionality of humanitarian aid and design. Among numerous other projects and initiatives, he is currently co-leading an Equitable Impacts Framework pilot with the Urban Institute and High Line Network aimed at advancing racial equity agendas for infrastructure reuse projects across North America.

About the Show

Developed by the African American Design Nexus at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, The Nexus is a podcast that explores the intersection of design, identity, and practice through conversations with Black designers, writers and educators. The Nexus is produced in conjunction with a commitment by the Frances Loeb Library to acquire and create an open-access bibliography of various media suggested by the GSD community on the intersection between race and design.

Show Credits

The Nexus is hosted by Caleb Negash and Tara Oluwafemi, students in the Master of Architecture program at Harvard Graduate School of Design. Our show is recorded and edited by Maggie Janik, and our theme music is produced by DJ Eway.


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