Christopher Kennedy is the assistant director at the Urban Systems Lab (The New School) and lecturer in the Parsons School of Design. Kennedy’s research focuses on understanding the socio-ecological benefits of spontaneous urban plant communities in NYC, and the role of civic engagement in developing new approaches to environmental stewardship and nature-based resilience.
As artist-designer Kennedy creates site-specific projects that examine conventional notions of “Nature,” interspecies agency, and biocultural collaboration. Drawing from a background in environmental engineering, Kennedy re-imagines field science techniques and new forms of storytelling to develop embodied research, installations, sculptures, and publications that recontextualize social-ecological systems. Over the past several years, Kennedy has been increasingly interested in how urban centers are adapting to global climate shifts including rising temperatures, toxic soils, mega-droughts, flooding events, and unprecedented development. His recent projects aim to highlight the value of so-called “wastelands” (eg. vacant lots, highway medians, post-industrial sites and transient green spaces) for both humans and non-humans.
Kennedy has worked collaboratively on projects shown at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the Levine Museum of the New South, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, the Ackland Art Museum and the Queens Museum. He holds a BS in Environmental Engineering from RPI, a MA in Environmental Conservation Education from NYU and a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of North Carolina.