Sheila Foster, 2022 Clarkson Chair in Planning

Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Urban Law and Policy, Georgetown University

Proposal for car free Times Square, New York.

Proposal for car free Times Square, New York. Photo credit: 3Deluxe.

Sheila Foster.

Sheila R. Foster

Sheila Foster, the Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Urban Law and Policy at Georgetown, comes to UB as the 2022 Will and Nan Clarkson Chair in Planning. She studies the areas of environmental law and justice and urban land use law, and is well known for her publications including From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement (with Luke Cole) and The Law of Environmental Justice (with Michael Gerrard). She holds a joint appointment with the Georgetown Law School and the McCourt Public Policy School. 

Land Acknowledgment Statement

We would like to acknowledge the land on which the University at Buffalo operates, which is the territory of the Seneca Nation, a member of the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations Confederacy. This territory is covered by The Dish with One Spoon Treaty of Peace and Friendship, a pledge to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes. It is also covered by the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua, between the United States Government and the Six Nations Confederacy, which further affirmed Haudenosaunee land rights and sovereignty in the State of New York. Today, this region is still the home to the Haudenosaunee people, and we are grateful for the opportunity to live, work, and share ideas in this territory.

On This Page

The Will and Nan Clarkson Visiting Chair program invites distinguished scholars and professionals to campus for lectures and seminars that engage students, faculty and members of the public in knowledge-sharing and debate on critical issues in architecture, planning and design. The program was founded by Will and Nan Clarkson in 1991. 

Public lecture: Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022

"Infrastructure-Sharing in Cities Pre- and Post-Pandemic"

In her public lecture, Sheila Foster will offer reflections on the diverse ways that cities enabled the creation of shared spaces and structures to provide public benefits and goods during the pandemic. The thesis of the talk is that there is a difference between the creative “placemaking” efforts that occurred on streets, plazas, sidewalks, parks and other open spaces, and the conversion of underutilized public and private structures and land to create tangible goods, such as housing, for specific populations. The distinction between these two kinds of infrastructure-sharing has implications for how cities can address the needs of their most vulnerable and marginal populations while correcting for the legacy of unjust land use practices that have shaped contemporary urban landscapes. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022
5 pm - 5:45 pm - light reception in Hayes Hall Atrium Gallery
6 pm - 7:30 pm - lecture begins in Hayes 403

  • This lecture is free and open to the public
  • All are welcome to attend a light reception prior to the lecture in the Hayes Hall Atrium Gallery 
The 2022 Clarkson Chair in Planning recorded lecture is available to all UB students, faculty, and staff to view

Please click here to view the recorded lecture

Faculty, student, staff and community conversations

Faculty, students, staff, and community partners within the university and across the city will engage in dialogue with Sheila Foster. Professor Foster will visit classrooms, participate in workshops, and meet with interested individuals. 

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 9 am - 10:30 am, Hayes 201: Doctoral students affiliated with the School of Architecture and Planning, members of the GPSA (Graduate Planning Student Association, and members of the AASAP (African American Students of Architecture and Planning) are invited to join a conversational session with Professor Foster. Please RSVP to Sidney Landis

Wednesday, Sept. 21, noon - 2 pm, "City as Commons" panel discussion, O’Brian Hall Conference Center, Room 509 (North Campus)
Academics and on-the-ground experts gather for a panel exploring the "City as a Commons" concept, how it has been applied to the Buffalo, NY, region, and how we can protect and manage all commons better. After short opening statements, attendees are welcome to join in a lively discussion! Sponsored by the UB Law School and its Clinical Legal Education program. Learn more and RSVP

Full biography / Sheila Foster

Sheila R. Foster is the Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Urban Law and Policy at Georgetown. She holds a joint appointment with the Georgetown Law School and the McCourt Public Policy School. Professor Foster is well known for her articles and books on environmental justice, including From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement (with Luke Cole) and The Law of Environmental Justice (with Michael Gerrard).

Over the last two decades, Foster has worked with government agencies, non-government organizations, scholars, and policymakers to reform environmental and land use policies and practices consistent with the principles of environmental justice.  

Professor Foster has been involved on many levels with urban law and policy. She was the chair of the advisory committee of the Global Parliament of Mayors from 2017-2020 and is a member of the New York City Mayor's Panel on Climate Change where she co-chairs the workgroup on equity. 

Foster also co-directs LabGov, an international applied research project that has pioneered a new model of urban governance and a path toward more equitable management of a city's infrastructure and services. This approach is set forth in her forthcoming MIT Press book, Co-Cities: Innovative Transitions toward Just and Self-Sustaining Communities (with Christian Iaione of LUISS University in Rome)

You can find out more about her at

Research guide on Sheila Foster

Explore research and publications by Sheila Foster through a research guide compiled by UB architecture and planning librarian Rose Orcutt. 

AIA continuing education credits approved (1 LU)
AICP Certi­fication Maintenance (1.5 CM, 1 CM Equity, #9256177)

APA Upstate New York Chapter logo.

AICP members can earn Certification Maintenance (CM) credits for this activity: 1.5 CM, 9229752. More information about AICP’s CM program can be found at AICP members must be in attendance for the duration of the eventin order to receive CM Credit.

CM 1.5.
APA Certification Maintenance.
AIA Continuing Education.

The School of Architecture and Planning is an AIA CES Approved Providers, and this course is AIA CES Registered for 1 Learning Unit