The George T. Hunter Lecture Series continues Tuesday, April 8, with a presentation by Fred Kent, a leading authority on revitalizing city spaces and one of the foremost thinkers in livability, smart growth and the future of the city. This event is free and open to the public. It will begin at 7 p.m. in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall, UTC Fine Arts Center at the corner of Vine and Palmetto Streets.
The Benwood Foundation, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Community Research Council (CRC), have partnered to bring The George T. Hunter Lecture Series, named after the Benwood Foundation’s founder, to the UTC campus.
As founder and president of Project for Public Spaces (PPS), Kent is known throughout the world as a dynamic speaker and prolific ideas man. PPS’s staff is trained in environmental design, architecture, urban planning, urban geography, environmental psychology, landscape architecture, arts administration and information management. The staff also collaborates on projects with architecture, landscape architecture and engineering firms, graphic design firms, transportation consultants, retail planners and community organizations.
Kent attended Columbia University’s Graduate and Undergraduate Schools, where he studied Urban Geography, Economics, Transportation, Planning, and Anthropology. He studied with Margaret Mead and worked with William H. Whyte on the Street Life Project, assisting in observations and film analysis of corporate plazas, urban streets, parks and other open spaces in New York City.
The research resulted in the now classic ‘The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces’, published in 1980, which laid out conclusions based on decades of meticulous observation and documentation of human behavior in the urban environment.
In 1968, Kent founded the Academy for Black and Latin Education (ABLE), a street academy for high school dropouts. He was Program Director for the Mayor’s Council on the Environment in New York City under Mayor John Lindsay. In 1970, and again in 1990, Kent was the coordinator and chairman of New York City’s Earth Day.
He has taken over half a million photographs of public spaces and their users, which have appeared in exhibits, publications and articles.