Published April 17, 2018
Henry Louis Taylor Jr., a professor of urban and regional planning in the School of Architecture and Planning, has been named the recipient of the Urban Affairs Association’s (UAA) 2018 Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award.
Co-sponsored by SAGE Publishing and UAA, the award highlights field-based urban scholarship and promotes the dissemination of work by activist urban scholars. The award’s namesake served as director of the Howard Samuels Center and professor of political science at The Graduate School at the City University of New York. Gittell was a scholar and community activist who wrote seminal works on citizen participation.
“Dr. Taylor fully embodies the connection between good scholarship and good activism, and stands as a model for young academics hoping to make a difference in the world,” the award committee said of Taylor, who received the award during UAA’s 48th Annual Conference in Toronto earlier this month.
In addition to his role as a faculty member, Taylor is founding director of UB’s Center for Urban Studies. His contributions to scholar-activism have been long-standing and deep, delving into both international and local urban issues with a mastery of critical scholarship and a love of community.
Taylor’s research explores the nexus between city building and racial and social class injustice. Within this conceptual scheme, he focuses on black urban history, underdeveloped neighborhoods, university-community relations, Cuban studies and issues of racial and social justice. Taylor blends together his research and practical activities by engaging in neighborhood planning, community development and racial justice activities.
He is currently engaged in a study of gentrification, displacement and neighborhood change in Buffalo with UB colleagues Robert Silverman, professor of urban and regional planning, and Li Yin, associate professor of urban and regional planning. This project is part of a five-city initiative sponsored by the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicator Partnership.
Taylor has received awards from universities for developing their community engagement work, as well as community awards for connecting communities to their surrounding universities.
The Center for Urban Studies is actively engaged in neighborhoods around Buffalo’s East Side through its Community as Classroom program, Summer Academic Camp on Neighborhood Development, and an annual clean-a-thon that aims to improve dilapidated and underused parcels of land in the neighborhood.