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College of Environment and Design

Dean Sonia Hirt Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Sonia Hirt Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

Two University of Georgia faculty members are among 171 scientists, writers, scholars and artists honored across 48 fields by the Board of Trustees of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation with 2023 Guggenheim Fellowships. Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded annually to those “who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.”

Andrew Herod, Distinguished Research Professor of Geography in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and Sonia A. Hirt, dean of the College of Environment and Design where she is also Hughes Professor in Landscape Architecture and Planning, are UGA’s 2023 Guggenheim Fellows.

Hirt studies the intersection of society, culture and space to advance understanding of the relationship between cultural values and urban forms, and to create opportunities to make cities more equitable, prosperous and sustainable. Initially trained as an architect in her hometown of Sofia, Bulgaria, she also earned a master’s and a Ph.D. in urban planning at the University of Michigan. The author of 90 publications, including two award-winning scholarly monographs, with more than 3,000 citations, her work has been supported by fellowships from many organizations including the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Foundation of University Women, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Fulbright Program.

“Even in my wildest dreams I have not imagined winning a Guggenheim,” Hirt said. “I have a very long list of people to thank starting with my mom, husband and kids and all my colleagues at the University of Georgia, especially the College of Environment and Design, for their support. It is an incredible honor to be part of the Guggenheim community and an equally great honor to represent UGA.”

Hirt’s Guggenheim Project will explore how ideas of space and time evolved through American history and how they impact the way we design spaces and live in them today. The project will investigate America as a land of plenty, especially in terms of space, including the size of homes, yards, automobiles, gas stations and roads to its sprawling cities. Simultaneously, the work will explore how Americans’ notions of time—and the right way to spend it—stand apart from those in other Western nations.

We work longer hours, take fewer vacations, spend less time socializing in public places and hate waiting, in general, said Hirt. “In sum, Americans tend to live space-rich but time-poor. Why? How did our common notions of time and space emerge?”

With her Guggenheim Fellowship, Hirt will continue work on her sixth book, “America’s Hurry: Making Sense of Time and Space in My Adopted Country.”



Read the full article by Alan Flurry


About the Guggenheim Foundation   Since its establishment, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted nearly $400 million in fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors. (More information about this year's fellowships can be found on the foundation's website.

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