The New School (Faculty)
Masoom Moitra is an urban planner-designer, educator, scholar-activist and artist from Mumbai, and based in New York. She teaches undergraduate and graduate studios at the Integrated Design(BFA) and Transdisciplinary Design(MFA) programs at Parsons, The New School, and serves as the Director of Community Design & Strategy at The New School Collaboratory – a university-based platform for civic engagement & knowledge co-production. As an independent community planning consultant, she is currently working with El-Puente (a 36-year old human rights, community education and social justice organization based in Brooklyn) on designing self-determination, equity and justice focussed plans and strategies in the rapidly gentrifying areas of South Williamsburg and Bushwick.
From investigating into the creativity of affordable housing and construction practices in the informal settlements in Shivaji Nagar and co-designing mosques (Mumbai, 2011), to modeling participatory think-tanks or ‘Schools of Hope’ in the indigenous markets of San Roque (Quito, 2016) and organizing residents from public housing developments in Gowanus (Making Gowanus, 2018), she specializes in working in partnership with communities who have historically been left out of platforms for decision and knowledge-making. Facilitating self-determination through community education initiatives, environmental justice advocacy, affordable housing, and arts and cultural planning lies at the center of this work. Most recently, she was involved in the development of the first-ever comprehensive Cultural Plan for New York with Hester Street (for the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs), a Navajo Nation based community-planning effort to develop entrepreneurial alternatives on indigenous lands in the US, and has also been recruited to develop strategies and recommendations to ensure equity in rezoning plans across the city with Arts and Democracy, NOCD-NY and El Puente (Blueprint Project, 2018).
Masoom‘s work has been showcased at the Territorial Urgency: Urban Strategies for Social Justice exhibition (with the Ecuadorian Ministry of Culture) at the Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries, the Urban Embodiments Exhibition at Falchi Building, and as a part of URBZ’s exhibit at the Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities at MoMA, New York. Her writing has been featured in several online publications and reports. She completed her MS Design & Urban Ecologies from the School of Design Strategies at The New School where she also co-chaired the Social Justice Committee, and is actively involved in various knowledge-based art initiatives in Mumbai and New York.