Bulb Show Opening Lecture 2019

Friday, March 1, 2019
Campus Center Carroll Room

Advancing Racial Equity through Regenerative Place-Making
By Duron Chavis

7:30 pm Campus Center Carroll Room - Free and open to the public
Followed by a reception and a preview of the Bulb Show at the Lyman Plant House

The built environment of urban cities across the country bear the scars of racial inequality inherent in slavery, Jim Crow discrimination and economic marginalization. We see the ripple effects in who has access to healthy food. We see the ripple effects in who lives in urban heat islands, where summer heat is magnified by impervious surfaces and minimal tree canopy. We see the ripple effects in who has resources to beautify residential areas. We see the ripple effects in the disparity that exists for black and brown people because of industrial pollution. There is opportunity to mitigate these harsh realities through collaboration, specifically through place-making and its emphasis on equitable processes that regenerate public greenspaces by working with the community instead of doing for them.

Place-making capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and wellbeing. Such transformation requires working with community residents as well as municipal, nonprofit partners and philanthropic investment in the planning, designing and implementation of community places.

About Duron

A native of Richmond, Virginia and graduate of Virginia State University, Duron has served as project director of the Harding Street Urban Ag Center, an indoor farming incubator funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Chavis is known nationally for his leadership in urban agriculture and is an advocate for community-designed solutions to local challenges.  He is a graduate of Hope in the Cities’ Community Trustbuilding Fellowship program (2015) and Leadership Metro Richmond (2011); and is a certified Alternatives to Violence Project conflict resolution trainer.  He has served on numerous public advisory councils, including the Citizens Advisory Board to the Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Expanding Opportunity and Fighting Poverty (2013-14); the Capital Region Collaborative Social Stability committee; and the Richmond Food Policy Task Force.  He is the founder of the McDonough Community Garden, and has served as project coordinator for Renew Richmond’s community garden start-ups.

Currently, as Manager of Community Engagement at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Duron Chavis coordinates innovative and dynamic initiatives around the topics of urban agriculture and food security in a culturally relevant way. 

Duron's website.
TouTube video of the talk