Brian Rosa

Brian Rosa is Assistant Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, and co-Director of the City Lab at the Department of Urban Studies.  He is also a doctoral faculty member in Earth and Environmental Sciences (Geography) and a Junior Faculty Fellow with the Gittell Urban Studies Collective at The Graduate Center, CUNY.  Rosa is a 2017 recipient of the Henry Wasser Award for CUNY Assistant Professors from the CUNY Academy for the Humanities and Sciences.

As an interdisciplinary urban researcher, he draws on his training as a city planner (MRP Cornell, 2009) and human geographer (PhD Manchester, 2014). Through an examination of the changing built environments of cities, Rosa explores the interwoven social, cultural, political, and economic contexts of urban (re)development, particularly in the context of post-industrial urban spaces and sites of contested urban heritage.

His current research deals with the relationship between urban infrastructures, urban political economy, and the way “left-over” spaces of the city are re-appropriated. He is currently working on a book entitled The City Below: Infrastructural Landscapes and the Post-Industrial Imaginary in London and Manchester, which explores the implications that transport infrastructures have on the production and perception of the urban built environment, explored through a case study of railway viaducts in Manchester and London, England.  He is co-editor of Deconstructing the High Line: Essays on Postindustrial Urbanism (with Christoph Lindner, Rutgers UP) and recently published a book chapter on urban wastelands in Global Garbage: Urban Imaginaries of Excess, Waste, and Abandonment (Routledge, 2016).

In collaboration with Jaime Jover Báez, another strand of his research explores the contested urban heritage of the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba, Spain.  Built for Muslim worship beginning in the eighth-century, and consecrated as a Catholic church in the thirteenth-century, this temple is protected as an UNESCO World Heritage Site as an outstanding example of the architectural legacy of the Kingdom of Al-Andalus, and is widely promoted as a symbol of the historical coexistence of Christians and Muslims.  Contemporary conflicts, arising at the same time as Cordoba began promoting an economic development model based on cultural tourism, revolve around the appropriate restoration, ownership, management, and cultural meaning of the monument.  This monument offers a paradigmatic case to examine the political economy and cultural politics of urban heritage and the importance of discourse in shaping political agendas around memory, identity, and ownership. He and Jover Báez are preparing articles for English and Spanish language journals on the topic.

Rosa’s research and teaching draw on a variety of qualitative methods, often incorporating audio-visual data. His research output overlaps with visual arts practice, for which he was awarded an Artist Fellowship with the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2013.  For more work on his creative practice, see his personal website at

He teaches the undergraduate courses Urban Poverty and Affluence (URBST 101) and Contemporary Urban Theory (URBST 330W), as well as the Masters courses Social Justice in Theory and Practice (URBST 705) and Urban Infrastructures and Technologies (URBST 711).  Prior to joining Queens College, he was a faculty member in the Urban and Community Studies program at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.


On Leave 2018-2019

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