News

Coming this October: ‘Land and the American Dream’

Feb 26, 2015

Land and the American Dream

America has been celebrated as a beautiful land of bountiful natural resources since its founding. Its colonization and industrialization were fueled by the belief that the land could fulfill “The American Dream,” the hope of a better, richer, and happier life for all people. But is an “American Dream” that equates progress with prosperity, and democracy with development, a sustainable way forward in the 21st century?

DelVal will host “Land and the American Dream,” a Precarious Alliance sustainability symposium, Oct. 14 through Oct. 16 on its main campus in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The symposium will bring people from a variety of fields together to examine how the American Dream has contributed to economic, social and environmental concerns and explore solutions that can promote a more sustainable American Dream.

“As Americans, we tend to take the land for granted,” said Dr. Michael Stamps, co-director of The Precarious Alliance Steering Committee. “This event will challenge us to review our long-cherished concept of The American Dream, remember its past realities and re-imagine its future possibilities.”

“Land and the American Dream” is the fourth symposium in DelVal’s Precarious Alliance series, which focuses on challenges associated with adapting human networks to address environmental degradation, economic instability, and social inequalities.

This year’s program will include speakers, panels, presentations, film screenings, workshops and a theme-based photography contest exhibition. There will also be an outdoor area with information tables, food trucks and musicians for guests.

Keynote Speaker

James Howard Kunstler

Courtesy: Lyceum Agency. James Howard Kunstler, a novelist and journalist, who writes about American architecture and landscapes will be the keynote speaker.

James Howard Kunstler, a novelist and journalist, who writes about American architecture and landscapes will be the keynote speaker. Kunstler is the author of several books including, “The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-made Landscape,” which launched him into the spotlight as a commentator on America’s built environment. 

Kunstler says he wrote “The Geography of Nowhere,” “Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.”

He graduated from the State University of New York, Brockport campus, worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he decided to write books on a full-time basis. He has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT and many other institutions, and he has appeared before many professional organizations such as The American Institute of Architects and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He lives in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. 

Tickets 
Tickets are $50.00 and include entrance to all scheduled events as well as catered banquets throughout this three-day program. Preliminary registration is available online at precariousalliance.org.

Call for Papers and Presenters
The Precarious Alliance is currently accepting presentation proposals from scholars, scientists, business leaders, conservationists, policymakers, environmental advocates, land-use planners, farmers, and social justice advocates, among others, interested in representing their perspectives on such topics as urban design and planning, biodiversity, conservation, wilderness areas, farmlands, preserved lands and open spaces, water and resource management, suburbs, land planning, and social justice. Submissions are due by June 1. For more information, please visit: precariousalliance.org.

About the Precarious Alliance Series

The Precarious Alliance series is about bringing people from all sides of the issues together to explore complex challenges associated with adapting human networks to address environmental degradation, economic instability and social inequalities. The series was created by DelVal President Dr. Joseph S. Brosnan as a forum for the exchange of cross-disciplinary perspectives, civil dialogue, innovative thinking, and practical solutions. Previous symposia have focused on Food (2010), Water (2012), and Energy (2014). Previous keynote speakers have included Marion Nestle, Maude Barlow, and Bill McKibben.