Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List
HomeEventsPublic Space/Common Wealth (1:00-2:00 PM)

Events - Event View

This is the "Event Detail" view, showing all available information for this event. If the event has passed, click the "Event Report" button to read a report and view photos that were uploaded.

Public Space/Common Wealth (1:00-2:00 PM)

NOTE: Registration is no longer required to attend this course; just use the Zoom link you were sent in the Tuesday Village Update email.

Public Space/Common WealthA three-part Zoom mini-course offered by Village member and Urban Culture Studies professor, Lois Ascher, on Wednesday, April 22; Tuesday, April 28; and Tuesday, May 5; each at 1:00 p.m.

Join Lois as she explores the importance of public space using examples from a developing city, 19thcentury Boston. Each presentation will be approximately 30 minutes followed by time for questions. 

Segment I:
Public Space/Public Good


Date:  Wednesday, April 22
Time: 1:00 p.m.

Description: The public realm in America has two roles: it is the dwelling place of our civilization and our civic life, and it is the physical manifestation of the common good. Author, James Howard Kunstler.

This segment will examine the importance of public space as a foundation of democracy and democratic principles, along with its role in the construction of community.

Segment II: Palaces for the People: Boston’s Public Library and its Public Garden

Date: Tuesday, April 28
Time: 1:00 p.m.

Description: Because you don’t find democracy; you make it. Krzysztof Wodiczko, Polish American public projection artist. 

This section will discuss two Boston spaces which function as “physical manifestations of the common good”: Boston’s Public Library in Copley Square; Boston’s Public Garden, which runs from Arlington to Charles Street. Interestingly, they were constructed within a half mile of one another, in an area developed deliberately to house the wealthy. 

Segment III: The Color of Water: A Civic Discourse


Date: Tuesday, May 5

Time: 1:00 p.m.

Description: We live in a community and each is not an atom of self-interest.  What each one of us does has an impact on the rest of us. Barbara Jordan, lawyer, civil rights leader, and Texas Congresswoman. 

This section will examine Boston’s role in providing something we all take for granted: access to water. It will address the question of whether a necessity for life can be considered a privilege rather than a right. The place of Chestnut Hill’s Waterworks Museum, in its original role as the pumping station, will be discussed, along with the reason for the palatial design of the building.                      


About the Presenter
Lois Ascher 
is a semi-retired professor in the Humanities Department at Wentworth Institute in Boston, MA. She was the first female professor hired at the Institute. During her tenure there she created and directed the English Honors program and taught courses in literature, art history, and contemporary art and theory. More recently, with the aid of two grants and a term professorship, she was able to pursue her interest in urban culture studies. She has served as area chair in Urban Studies for NEPCA (New England Popular Culture Association), and has published on the urban renewal tragedy of Boston’s West End, a particular interest of hers. Currently, she serves on the executive committee of the board of the West End Museum. She is also privileged to serve as a board member of the Greater Newburyport Village, and on its Member Care Committee.


Professor Ascher’s interest in urban culture studies led her to develop Boston Voyages By Book and Foot, a course centered on Boston. This history-based course explores the development of Boston through themes, rather than utilizing strict chronology. One of those themes is the role of public space and public institutions in urban arenas. She has published and presented on this subject in various journals and conferences.


This three-part mini-course Lois will be facilitating for the Village, Public Space/Common Ground, grows out of those scholarly interests. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 1:00 PM until 2:00 PM
Additional Info:
Event Contact(s):
Linda Bogdanoff
Member & Volunteer
Registration is not Required
Payment In Full In Advance Only
No Fee
Our Village is a member of the Village to Village Network,
a national organization which provides information, encouragement and peer support to
similar villages in 200+ communities across the country.