The Settler Colonial City Project is a research collective focused on the collaborative production of knowledge about cities on Turtle Island/Abya Yala/The Americas as spaces of ongoing settler colonialism, Indigenous survivance, and struggles for decolonization.
The concept of “settler colonialism” has recently emerged as a name for a distinctive form of colonialism that develops in places where settlers permanently reside and assert sovereignty. While the settler colonial dimensions of American cities have been centered in contemporary urban activism, these dimensions have been, at best, only tentatively explored in contemporary architectural and urban studies. Investigating the settler colonial history and contemporaneity of cities on Turtle Island/Abya Yala/The Americas, we aim to foreground Indigenous knowledge of and politics around land, life, and collective futures, as well as settler colonialism as an unmarked structure for the distribution of land, possibilities of life, and imagination of those futures.

2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago
American Indian Center, Chicago

—Mapping Chicagou/Chicago
—Decolonizing the Chicago Cultural Center
—The Petro-Biennial Complex
At the Border of Decolonization
—The Settler Colonial Present

—SCCP at Homes on Fields, Harvard GSD
—SCCP at Urgent Pedagogies
—SCCP at Architecture Beyond Capitalism
—SCCP in PIN–UP 30: Legacy
—SCCP in the Architect’s Newspaper
—SCCP at PPEH on the Petro-Biennial Complex
—Unsettled Lands: Architecture, History, Pedagogy
—Conversations on Care at MIT
—SCCP at Chicago Public School Grade 7
—RCA: Co-liberation
SCCP at Art Gallery of Alberta
—SCCP at LSA Magazine
—Press on the Chicago Architecture Biennial


3. The Petro-Biennial Complex

Organized by SCCP
Funding provided by Temple Hoyt Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture and CAB
6pm, 14 November 2019, Common Ground, Chicago Cultural Center.

A Roundtable Discussion on Petro-Colonialism, Petro-Capitalism, Petro-Philanthropy, Petro-Culture, and Indigenous Resistance and Futurity

Growing concerns about impending environmental collapse have prompted increased attention to Indigenous relationships with the land and its multiple systems. These relationships stand in stark contrast to the extraction of resources from Indigenous lands which has been a constitutive component of settler colonialism. The first waves of resource extraction—the desire for precious metals, valued animal pelts, agricultural products, and land to cultivate large crops of grain and herd cattle—have given way to the privatization of water, ongoing mining of natural and mineral resources, and in particular, the demand for oil. Oil extraction and transportation has compromised Indigenous land, sustenance, and life itself from the Amazon jungle to Standing Rock, North Dakota. At the same time, this capital is transformed into philanthropy by funding this and other cultural events. Biennials and museums are supported by compromised wealth, yet cultural agents operating within their sponsorship seek to promote the very stories that reveal these relationships and their complicities. Ultimately, most major cultural sponsors have a colonialist dimension. In this landscape, how can cultural agents operate while still maintaining a critical discourse?

Elsa Hoover (First Nations Anishinaabe/White), writer, mapmaker, M.Arch. Student, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Paulo Tavares
, curator, "...And Other Such Stories," 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial
Todd Palmer
, Executive Director, Chicago Architecture Biennial
Nitasha Dhillon and Amin Husein
, Decolonize This Place
Fawn Pochel
(First Nations Oji-Cree), Education Coordinator, American Indian Center, Chicago

Moderated by Andrew Herscher and Ana María León, Settler Colonial City Project

Read SCCP’s publication on the Petro-Biennial Complex here.

IMAGE: Dakota Access Pipeline being built in Central Iowa. Carl Wycoff, Nevada USA (CC-BY-2.0). Image has been cropped.