Benjamin Bross, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Benjamin Bross, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He grew up in a multicultural Mexican environment. His research examines spatial production that embodies sociocultural identity. His first book, Mexico City’s Zócalo: A History of a Constructed Spatial Identity (Routledge, 2021) examines Mexico’s most important public realm. His next book, Placemaking as a Holistic Sustainability Strategy: Baja California Sur’s Mining Towns (Routledge, 2024) deploys place-based phenomenology as a sustainability strategy. Recently, the NEH named him alternate Research Fellow, and SAH a Scott Opler Fellow. His PhD is from Mexico’s Universidad Iberoamericana; M.U.D. from UC Berkeley; and M. Arch. from Harvard.


Madlen Simon, University of Maryland

Madlen Simon, M.Arch., is a Professor of Architecture at the University of Maryland. Recipient of the AIA Upjohn Research Initiative Award, she applies neuroscience to study human response to built environments. Simon’s collaboration with colleagues in Iraq was recognized with the Architect Magazine Studio Prize and has led to publications including a forthcoming book chapter on urban design in Iraq and a Best Paper Award at a recent EAAE-ARCC international conference. A Fellow of UMD’s Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, she coaches design thinking workshops at the Stanford for faculty from architecture schools around the US and the world. She holds an M.Arch. and B.A. from Princeton University.