San Diego 2049: The Future of Labor, Work and Industry

October 29, 2019


San Diego 2049: The Future of Labor, Work and Industry

Public Panel and Mentoring Sessions

With: Teddy Cruz (Professor of Public Culture and Urbanization in the Department of Visual Arts), Fonna Forman (Professor of Political Theory and Founding Director of the Center on Global Justice), Deborah Forster (Research Specialist, Contextual Robotics Institute, Qualcomm Institute, and affiliate faculty member of the Design Lab), and John Ahlquist (Associate Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy).

October 29, 5:00–6:30pm

Robinson Complex room 3106

Refreshments provided

RSVP required; please RSVP here


The School of Global Policy and Strategy is celebrating its 30th anniversary by partnering with the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination to produce San Diego 2049, a series of programs through 2018–19 that will use the imagination and narrative tools of science fiction to stimulate complex thinking about the future and the ways we could shape it through policy, technology, innovation, culture, and social change.

Join us for a panel discussion looking at the future of labor, work, and industry in the San Diego border region and beyond, featuring expert insights from UC San Diego faculty from across campus including architecture, political science, arts, robotics, cognitive science, design, and public policy. The forum is intended to enrich the worldbuilding practices of participating UC San Diego graduate students participating in San Diego 2049 but is open to all, space permitting. A Q&A will follow.

Participating faculty include:

Teddy Cruz is recognized internationally for his urban and architectural research of the Tijuana-San Diego border, advancing border immigrant neighborhoods as sites of cultural production, from which to rethink urban policy, affordable housing and civic infrastructure. His investigation of this geography of conflict has inspired a practice and pedagogy that emerges from the particularities of this bicultural territory and the integration of theoretical research, pedagogy and design production. He is currently a Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts Department, and Director of Urban Research in the UCSD Center on Global Justice. With long-time research partner, UCSD political theorist, Fonna Forman, he is a principal in Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice, based in San Diego.

Cruz was born in Guatemala City. He studied architecture at Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City and continued his studies at California State Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo (B.Arch, 1987) and completed his architectural education at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University (M.Des.S. 1997). From 1994 to 2000 he was founding director of the LA/LA Latin America / Los Angeles studio at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. From 2000-05, he was Associate Professor of Architecture at Woodbury University.

Fonna Forman is founding co-director of the UCSD Center on Global Justice and the UCSD / BLUM Cross-Border Initiative. She is a political theorist in the Department of Political Science best known for her revisionist work on Adam Smith, recuperating the ethical, spatial, social and public dimensions of his political economy. Current work focuses on theories and practices of global justice as they manifest at local and regional scales, and the role of civic participation in strategies of equitable urbanization. Present sites of investigation include Medellín, Colombia and the San Diego-Tijuana border region.

She is presently writing a book on Adam Smith in Latin America. Recent work includes a volume with Amartya Sen on critical interventions in global justice theory, papers on ‘municipal cosmopolitanism’ and 'political leadership' in Latin America, and with collaborator Teddy Cruz, an exhibition on social housing in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin), and a forthcoming exhibion on 'cross-border citizenship' at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum (NYC). They are also co-investigating a Ford Foundation-funded study of citizenship culture in the San Diego-Tijuana border region, in collaboration with the Bogota-based NGO, Corpovisionarios.

From 2013-14 she was a special advisor on civic and urban initiatives to the City of San Diego, and with Teddy Cruz led the development of its Civic Innovation Lab. She presently consults on social and economic rights for the Global Citizenship Commission. From 1999-2001 Forman was Assistant Editor of Political Theory, and is currently Editor of the Adam Smith Review.

Forman is an advocate for deepening university-community research partnerships. She is Vice-Chair of the University of California Climate Solutions Group and co-editor of "Bending the Curve: 10 Scalable Solutions for Carbon and Climate Neutrality" (The University of California report on carbon neutrality). She currently serves on the advisory boards of the Climate Neutrality Task Force, the UC San Diego Global Health Initiative, the Urban Studies and Planning Program, the Global Health major, FF21 (Food and Fuel for the 21st Century) and the Center for Tomorrow’s California.

Deborah Forster is a research scientist at the Contextual Robotics Institute, at the Qualcomm Institute of Calit2 at UC San Diego, and an affiliated faculty member of The Design Lab since 2015. She earned her Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from UC San Diego in 2012. She also earned a B.S. in Biology - Ecology, Behavior and Evolution in 1991, and an MSc in Cognitive Science in 1995, both at UCSD. She was a postdoctoral researcher in the Machine Perception Lab and Calit2, and a researcher in Estudio Teddy Cruz from 2006 to 2016, and a researcher in the Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center (TDLC) from 2009 to the present.

Dr. Forster is involved with multiple Qualcomm Institute projects, including the Technology Enhanced Learning Initiative, Larry Smarr's Future Patient project, and the Big Pixel Initiative. At the same time, she is the interim leader of the Machine Perception Lab, guiding the RUBI project, and helping to extend the effort on pain detection in humans to automated pain detection in horses. Forster did design-context research at Nissan Design America studios for over half a decade, overlapping with a Nissan advanced engineering research project on Intelligent Driver Support Systems at UC San Diego. For the past decade she has developed interdisciplinary seminars as adjunct faculty at the Woodbury University School of Architecture and Design. Dr. Forster's original research emphasis, however, was in the field of cognitive science & primatology, when she did field research on social complexity and distributed cognition in Olive baboons (1989-91) as part of the Kenya-based Uaso Ngiro Baboon Project directed by UC San Diego Anthropology professor, Dr. Shirley Strum. Forster also engages in various art-science collaborations, most notably with media artist Rachel Mayeri, a Professor in Harvey Mudd College, in her Primate Cinema projects. Last summer Forster and Mayeri was awarded a month-long residency - Scientific Delirimum Madness 2- at Djerassi Art Residency in Northern California.

John Ahlquist is associate professor of political economy in the School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) at UC San Diego. His research focuses on the dynamic relationship between democratic government and market economies, particularly how democracies manage conflict over the distribution of resources and opportunity. He also works on applied statistics for social network data. He is the author of In the Interest of Others: Organizations and Social Activism (with Margaret Levi) and Maximum Likelihood Strategies for Social Science (with Michael Ward) as well as numerous articles appearing in a variety of scholarly journals in political science and economics.

Ahlquist's current projects include behavioral experiments examining the effect of unemployment insurance on workers' willingness to learn particular skills; the politics of spite; and efforts to rebuild our social data infrastructure along the lines of distributed "socio-economic weather stations." He is coordinating San Diego 2049, a year long world building competition that seeks to link public policy students with natural scientists, engineers, and speculative fiction authors. Ahlquist teaches MIA/MPP courses on policy making processes; the politics of economic inequality; and workers in global supply chains. He holds a BA from UC Berkeley and a PhD from the University of Washington. 


The closest parking to the Robinson Complex is in the Pangea Parking Structure on Pangea Drive & Scholars Drive North. Visitor parking passes can be purchased for $3/hour or $30/day.

Parking pay stations do not dispense change. Pay with any combination of the following:

  • Cash — $1 and $5 bills only
  • Visa, MasterCard, or American Express

Click here for interactive driving directions to the Pangea Parking Structure (Google Map)

From the Pangea Parking Structure, the Robinson Complex is a short walk to the east. 

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