Parks & Public Space
Vishaan Chakrabarti is a registered architect and the founder of PAU. Simultaneously, Vishaan is an Associate Professor of Practice at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation (GSAPP), where he teaches architectural design studios and seminars on urbanism. His highly acclaimed book, A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America (Metropolis Books, 2013), argues that a more urban United States would result in a more prosperous, sustainable, joyous, and socially mobile nation. Of the book, the Toronto Globe and Mail wrote: “In the world of urbanism and planning, there’s been a barrage of recent books on similar themes…but Mr. Chakrabarti has written maybe the most useful one, a polemic in favor of city living that makes the stakes clear.” Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradlee named A Country of Cities one of the top ten books of 2013 in the Huffington Post.
Chakrabarti has been a guest on The Charlie Rose show, MSNBC’s The Cycle, NY1, NPR, WNYC, and has been profiled in The New York Times and The Financial Times. Vishaan has lectured widely across Europe, Asia and the Americas. In April, 2014, the New York Times published his Op Ed, “America’s Urban Future.”
From 2012 to 2015, Vishaan was a principal at SHoP Architects where he co-led major architecture and urban design projects including the master plan and first building at the Domino Sugar site in Williamsburg as well as the master plan and first building at the Essex Crossing site at Seward Park, which together bookend the Williamsburg bridge in a new form of mixed use, mixed income urbanism.
From 2009 to 2015, Vishaan also served as the Marc Holliday Professor and Director of the Master of Science in Real Estate Development program at Columbia’s GSAPP. While there he became the founding director of the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE). Chakrabarti is widely credited for transforming the program into one of the finest programs of its kind by establishing an interdisciplinary mission that focused on the potential role urban development could play in generating groundbreaking design, greater sustainability, and shared economic prosperity.
From 2005 to 2009, Chakrabarti was the president of Moynihan Station Venture, and remains an ardent advocate for the reconstruction of New York’s Pennsylvania Station. In addition, Chakrabarti was the inaugural Jaquelin T. Robertson Visiting Professor in Architecture for the University of Virginia in 2009.
From 2002 to 2005, Chakrabarti served under Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the Director of the Manhattan Office for the New York Department of City Planning, where he successfully collaborated on the now realized efforts to save the High Line, rezone Hudson Yards, extend the #7 subway line, rebuild the East River Waterfront, expand Columbia University, and reincorporate the street grid at the World Trade Center site after the tragic events of 9/11.
Prior to 2002, Vishaan was an Associate Partner at the New York office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LP. There he managed numerous skyscraper projects, including the new headquarters for the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the master plan for Columbia University’s new campus in Manhattanville.
Chakrabarti holds a Master of Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master of City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and dual bachelor’s degrees in Art History and Engineering from Cornell University.
He serves on the boards of the Architectural League of New York and the Regional Planning Association. He is a trustee of the Citizens Budget Commission, and is an emeritus board member of Friends of the High Line. He is also a member of the Young Leaders Forum of the National Council on US-China Relations and has served on the National Mayor’s Institute of City Design. Metropolis Magazine named Chakrabarti one of the top 12 “Game Changers” for 2012, he is a former Crain’s “40 Under 40” and David Rockefeller Fellow. Chakrabarti and his family live in Manhattan.
Susan Chin, FAIA, is Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space, a research and design organization shaping the public realm since 1995. She previously served as an assistant commissioner for Capital Projects at the City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs. She administered over 385 design and construction projects for 190 cultural organizations. Through her efforts in the past 17 years, the multi-million dollar city program has grown and now leverages more than $1.1 billion in private sector support to create award-winning arts and cultural facilities.
Gregory Haley AIA AICP LEED AP is a New York based Associate with Grimshaw Architects. He has taught architectural design studios at NJIT, NYIT, and the Boston Architectural Center, and has served as a guest critic or lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, CCNY, Parsons, Pratt Institute, RPI, and Wentworth Institute. Gregory received his Masters of Architecture in Urban Design from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, and his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota. He is a board member of the Harvard Alumni Architectural and Urban Society and a member of the Urban Design committees within the NYC chapters of the AIA and the APA. He is also a design resource team member for the Mayors’ Institute on City Design.
Landscape architect Laura Starr is an expert in the planning and design of urban parks. Her practice began with a twelve-year tenure at the Central Park Conservancy during its formative years as a public-private partnership, giving Starr a rare insider’s experience with the workings of this new park management structure. Growing into the role of the Park’s Chief of Design, Starr mastered the process of consensus building among multiple clients and stakeholders in order to implement a series of award winning designs. Working on projects such as the reconstructing the Harlem Meer and developing a master plan for the west side perimeter, Starr absorbed the Olmsted’s artful choreography and sequencing of one’s landscape experience that has greatly influenced her practice.
Walcavage has been involved in the planning and design of landscapes and public spaces in the New York City area for decades. With specific focus on dense urban areas, she specializes in streetscapes, urban waterfront redevelopment, bikeway and pedestrian facilities as well as public parks and greenways. Walcavage has worked with New York City and New York State agencies on various projects, including design of a new plaza at Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, the Stuyvesant Cove waterfront in Manhattan, and the conversion of two lanes of traffic and unused median into a linear park and bikeway for the Lower East Side.
Marion Weiss is cofounder of WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism, based in New York City and the Graham Chair Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Her multidisciplinary firm operates at the nexus of architecture, art, landscape, and urban design. Her firm’s Olympic Sculpture Park exemplifies this cross disciplinary design approach and the project has been recognized internationally through museum exhibitions and design awards. Time Magazine identified the park as one of the top 10 projects in the world, Barcelona’s World Architecture Festival selected the project as winner in the Nature Category, I.D. Magazine awarded it the highest Environment Design Award, and it was the first project in North America to win Harvard University’s Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design.
WEISS/MANFREDI received the American Academy of Arts and Letters award which acknowledged the distinct vision of the firm and was named one of North America’s “Emerging Voices” by the Architectural League of New York. The firm was also honored with the New York AIA Gold Medal and the Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal, annually awarded to one individual or firm in the world each year.
The firm’s projects have been featured in exhibitions at The Museum of Modem Art, the Venice Architectural Biennale, the São Paulo Biennale of International Architecture and Design, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, the National Building Museum, Harvard University, the International Landscape Architecture Biennale in Barcelona, and the Design Centre in Essen, Germany. Princeton Architectural Press has published three monographs on their work including their most recent book, PUBLIC NATURES: Evolutionary Infrastructures.
Her firm’s award-winning Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park, located on the East River in Queens, New York, recently opened to the public. Surrounded by water on three sides, the integrated park design weaves together infrastructure, landscape, and architecture into a model of urban ecology and a resilient, multi-layered cultural destination. The state of the art Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus brings together researchers across disciplines in a welcoming new gateway to the campus.
Marion Weiss received her Master of Architecture at Yale University and her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia. At Yale she won the American Institute of Architects Scholastic Award and the Skidmore, Owings and Merrill Traveling Fellowship. She has taught design studios at Harvard University, Yale University, Cornell University, and since 1991 has been a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn School of Design where she is currently the Graham Chair Professor of Architecture. Marion is also the Eero Saarinen Visiting Professor of Architectural Design at Yale University, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and was recently inducted into the National Academy of Design.
Claire Weisz is an architect and urbanist, and a founding principal of WXY. With her partners Mark Yoes, Layng Pew, and Adam Lubinsky, Claire focuses on innovative approaches to public space, structures, and cities. WXY has received the League Prize from the Architectural League of New York, as well as being selected as one of the League’s Emerging Voices practices in 2011, in addition to numerous awards from AIA National, AIANY, and the American Planning Association.
Recent and ongoing work in New York City includes the redesign of Astor Place, the Spring Street Sanitation Garage, the redesign of the Rockaway Boardwalks, Pier 26’s Boathouse/Restaurant, Battery Park’s SeaGlass Carousel, a pedestrian bridge in lower Manhattan, a design to better accommodate both pedestrians and elevated trains in Harlem, a study of Brooklyn’s growing commercial tech sector (The Brooklyn Tech Triangle), The East River Blueway Plan, and a finalist proposal for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild by Design initiative. With Andrea Woodner, Claire co-founded The Design Trust for Public Space, and has recently been on faculty at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and a Visiting Critic of Urban Design at Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning in NYC. Claire received her professional degree from The University of Toronto with Honors and her Master’s in Architecture from Yale University.
James Corner is the founder and director of James Corner Field Operations. His work is renowned for a strong contemporary design across a variety of projects types and scales, from large urban districts and complex post-industrial sites, to small design projects. Major projects include the High Line in New York, Seattle’s Central Waterfront, City Center in Las Vegas, Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront in Hong Kong, Chicago’s Navy Pier, the Civic Center Parks in Santa Monica and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. He is also Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has been recognized with the National Design Award (2010) and the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award in Architecture (2004). He is the author of The Landscape Imagination (2014) and Taking Measures Across the American Landscape (1996).
Ms. Jones is the president and senior principal of Hargreaves Associates. served as Sr. Principal in Charge for such award-winning projects as the 2000 Sydney Olympics Master Concept Design, University of Cincinnati Master Plan, Crissy Field in San Francisco’s Presidio, and Discovery Green in Houston, Texas. She has recently led the firm’s work for Denver’s Union Station District and the Parklands for the London Olympics 2012 and is currently leading the design for Destination Bayfront in Corpus Christi, Texas as well as a new 70 acre Central Park for Oklahoma City. Jones has served on numerous juries, lectures widely, and is active in the public forum of design and development issues. She is a Fellow and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome and a past Visiting Critic in Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Design School. Mary Margaret is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Sr. Fellow of the Design Futures Council and is President of Hargreaves Associates.
A senior vice president and director of city park development for The Trust for Public Land, Adrian Benepe is one of the nation’s experts on the nexus of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in public-space development and management. Born and raised in New York, Adrian served as New York City Park Commissioner for 11 years under Mayor Michael Bloomberg prior to joining The Trust for Public Land. During that time he oversaw a major expansion of the city’s park system, including restoring historic parks such as Central Park and Battery Park, adding 730 acres of new parkland including Hudson River Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the High Line, and laying the groundwork for an additional 2,000 acres of parkland within the city.
In his career, Benepe has worked in leadership roles on park and public space conservation, design, construction, and operation, and in the areas of city planning, arts and culture, historic preservation, and landscape and urban design. He also helped to create or empower several New York business-related organizations, from business improvement districts to park conservancies, including the Madison Square Conservancy, Jamaica Bay Conservancy, Historic House Trust of NYC, and Fort Tryon Park Trust.
Previously, Benepe also held the positions of New York City director of art and antiquities, director of natural resources and horticulture, operations coordinator, and director of public information. Benepe is also the former vice president for issues and public affairs at the Municipal Art Society and the director of the annual fund and major gifts for the New York Botanical Garden.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Middlebury College, Benepe holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, where he was awarded a Pulitzer Fellowship. In 1987, he participated in the mayor’s Top 40 program, and in 1992, he was selected to participate in Leadership New York, a program of the Coro Foundation.
Alexander Garvin has combined a career in urban planning and real estate with teaching, architecture, and public service. He is currently President and CEO of of AGA Public Realm Strategists, Inc., a planning and design firm in New York City that is responsible for the initial master plans for the Atlanta BeltLine, Tessera (a 700-acre new community outside Austin), and Hinton Park in Collierville, Tennessee.. Between 1996 and 2005 he was managing director for planning at NYC2012, the committee to bring the Summer Olympics to New York in 2012. During 2002-2003, he was Vice President for Planning, Design and Development of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Over the last 44 years he has held prominent positions in five New York City administrations, including Deputy Commissioner of Housing and City Planning Commissioner.
Garvin is Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning and Management at Yale University, where he has taught a wide range of subjects including “Introduction to the Study of the City,” which for more than 48 years has remained one of the most popular courses in Yale College. In addition, he teaches two courses in the School of Architecture, including “Residential Design, Development, and Management” and “Intermediate Planning & Development.”
Garvin is on the board of directors of the Forum for Urban Design and the Citizens Housing and Planning Council. Between 1996 and 2004, he was a fellow of the Urban Land Institute for whom he has organized and taught workshops on basic real estate development, the residential development process, and the role of design in real estate. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Skyscraper Museum, the Ed Bacon Foundation, and the Society of American City and Regional Planning History, as well as the National Advisory Council of the Trust for Public Land.
Garvin is the author of the book, The American City: What Works, What Doesn’t, published by McGraw-Hill and winner of the 1996 American Institute of Architects book award in urbanism. (The substantially revised, updated, expanded, now full color 3rd edition was released during in 2013). He also is the author of The Planning Game: Lessons from Great Cities, published by W. W. Norton in 2013, Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities, published by W. W. Norton in 2010, Parks, Recreation, and Open Space: A 21st Century Agenda, published in 2001 by the American Planning Association and one of the principal authors of Urban Parks and Open Space, published in 1997 jointly by the Trust for Public Land and the Urban Land Institute.
Garvin earned his B.A., M.Arch, and M.U.S. from Yale University.
Frances Halsband is the founding partner of Kliment Halsband Architects. She has served as Dean of the School of Architecture at the Pratt Institute in New York, has been visiting distinguished professor of design at many universities, including University of California at Berkeley, University of Maryland, and University of Pennsylvania. In an advisory role, she is currently Architect Advisor for Brown University and Harvard University, a member of the Architectural Review Board of the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. General Services Administration, and was a Commissioner of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Frances was the first woman to be elected president of the New York Chapter of the AIA, has served as president of the Architectural League of New York, and is a frequent participant on many AIA committees, panels, and design awards juries. Frances Halsband received a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University.
Deborah Marton has dedicated her career to public space in New York City, with a special focus on merging natural systems with the built environment. She joined New York Restoration Project (NYRP) in 2011, bringing her extensive experience moving complex municipal projects from conception to actionable conclusions. As Executive Director of New York Restoration Project, Deborah manages NYRP’s work transforming open space in underserved communities to create a greener, more sustainable New York City. She oversees all organizational activities, ranging from park restoration and operations in Northern Manhattan, renovation and maintenance of NYRP’s 52 community gardens, and implementation of MillionTreesNYC in partnership with the NYC Dept. of Parks & Recreation. In her previous capacity as NYRP’s SVP of Programs, Deborah developed NYRP’s identity as an urban land conservancy working across municipal jurisdictions to increase environmental sustainability citywide. Most recently, she created the vision and program for a waterfront site in Northern Manhattan that will be developed as a center for recreational boating and environmental education.
Prior to joining NYRP, Deborah served as Executive Director of Design Trust for Public Space. Under her leadership the organization gained national visibility and quadrupled in size. High-profile projects completed during her tenure there have made New York City’s parks and public right-of-ways more sustainable, catalyzed the redesign of Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza, strengthened Long Island City’s art community, and improved the New York City taxi vehicle and system, paving the way for the city’s new taxi, among many other projects and public programs. She was also Program Manager of New York City Parks Natural Resources Group and later associated with the landscape architecture firm Field Operations, where she collaborated on creation of the winning submission for the Fresh Kills Master Plan, and later served as the first Project Manager for that project. She received a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the Harvard University Design School and also holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Jamie Maslyn Larson’s portfolio of work embodies the integration of transformation and design excellence. Over the last 19 years, Jamie’s design leadership on complex, multi-phase public realm and cultural landscape projects has given her a deep understanding of the critically important role that landscape has in contemporary culture. Her work spans the country with a range of public and private clients including federal and city public agencies, universities, cultural institutions, and private developers. Her award-winning portfolio demonstrates her capacity to execute long-term projects and her deep commitment to design quality at every scale and stage of the process.
Prior to joining Wagner Hodgson, Jamie was a Principal at West 8’s New York office with a nation-wide, diverse portfolio that garnered many design awards and national and international press. She was Principal-in Charge of the firm’s United States portfolio, which includes some of the firm’s most emblematic projects, including Governors Island Park and Public Space project, Longwood Gardens Master Plan, and Soundscape in Miami Beach, Florida. Jamie lectures and presents at national conferences and universities and has been published in Landscape Journal. She received her Master in Landscape Architecture degree from Utah State University. She is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, a Fellow at the Forum for Urban Design, and a licensed landscape architect in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida.
Regina Myer became President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership in October 2016. Previously, she served as President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, transforming the formerly industrial Brooklyn waterfront into a world-class open space that welcomes millions of visitors a year.
Prior to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Regina was the senior vice president for planning and design at the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, and the Brooklyn Borough Director for the New York City Planning Department, where she directed the comprehensive redevelopment for two miles of the Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront, the rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn for high density office and apartments and numerous neighborhood rezoning efforts. She received her BA and Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, and resides in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Madelyn Wils is the President and CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust. She began her tenure as the Trust’s President and CEO in June 2011. She previously served as the Executive Vice President of the Planning, Development and Maritime Division of the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), where her portfolio included over 100 complex projects such as the redevelopment of Willlets Point, Coney Island, East River Esplanade and Hunters Point South. Prior to joining EDC, she served as the President of the Tribeca Film Institute, managing the expansion of the organization from a 10-day festival into a diverse institution offering year-round cultural programming. From 2001 to 2005, she served as Chair of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan, where she played an integral role in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan following the events of September 11, 2001. She was a founding member of both the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Hudson River Park Trust.
Susannah C. Drake is the founding principal, of DLANDstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture, pllc. an award winning multi-disciplinary design firm. DLANDstudio is the recipient of National and International urban design awards from the AIA, ASLA and Chicago Athenaeum among others. As one of very few designers of her generation with professional design qualifications in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Susannah paved the way for more synthetic thinking about urban ecological infrastructure.
She is the recipient of grants from the Graham Foundation, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, the James Marston Fitch Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Center for Architecture for research on campus landscapes and large scale urban infrastructure projects. Susannah is the former President and Trustee of the New York ASLA and former Trustee of the Van Alen Institute. She is the author of Elastic Landscape: Seeding Ecology in Public Space & Urban Infrastructure which was recently published in the collection of essays entitled Infrastruktururbanismus.
Susannah received a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College in 1987 and Master in Architecture and Master in Landscape Architecture degrees from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1995.
Mehul Patel is Chief Operating Officer for Midwood Investment & Development, an investment and development platform that owns over 125 properties in 10 states and the District of Columbia comprising in excess of 3,500,000 square feet.
Previously, he served as chief of staff for New York State’s primary real estate and economic development agency, where he was charged with building a shared vision on complex large-scale projects. It is a skill he honed while working as vice president of the Moynihan Station Project, the long-overdue plan to shift and expand New York City’s Penn Station into the historic James A. Farley Post Office Building.
Patel oversaw the design, planning, and financing for the project, which—after two decades of false starts—is now under construction thanks to a strategy of breaking the project into achievable phases that could win agreement from overseers from the federal, state, and city governments as well as representatives of four transit agencies that use the station—Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, the Long Island Rail Road, and New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority. Patel played a leading role in other megaprojects in New York, including Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and the 350-acre (142 ha) Buffalo Outer Harbor redevelopment.
Chris Reed is Founding Director of Stoss. His innovative, hybridized approach to public space has been recognized internationally, and he has been invited to participate in competitions and installations in the United States, Canada, Europe, Israel, the Middle East, Taiwan, and China. Reed’s research interests include the impact of ecological sciences on design thinking, and city-making strategies informed by landscape systems and dynamics; he is co-editor of a recently published volume of research and drawing titled Projective Ecologies. Reed received a Master in Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and an AB in Urban Studies from Harvard College. He is currently Associate Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
An award-winning planning and urban design consultant, Mr. Pobiner has influenced responsible planning in communities in 31 countries worldwide and 41 US states. Now a Practice Leader with Gensler, he has also previously led the global planning practice for international design firms including HOK, HKS, and Atkins, with projects representing more than 250 million total acres and $52 billion in new construction throughout the US, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East; mixed-use developments in Qatar and Libya; and numerous large-scale master plans across the US. He is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP) and became one of CNU’s first accredited design professionals (CNU-A). The Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture named him its 2012 Distinguished Alumnus, one of the few planners to receive this honor since the awards were established in 1954.
Leni Schwendinger, most recently Arup’s global urban lighting leader, is a recognized authority on the many issues and applications of city lighting with more than 20 years of experience creating illuminated environments for public spaces all over the world. Her innovative interdisciplinary practice, nighttime design urbanism, focuses city districts’ darkened hours and includes fresh community involvement methodologies. This work is shared through Leni’s public speaking engagements, including the worldwide “NightSeeingTM, Navigate Your Luminous City” program, most recently in Prague, Czech Republic, Sydney Australia, Seattle Washington (USA) and Bogota, Colombia. Recent and ongoing projects include the Enhanced Design Initiative for the New York City subway, several bridges in Canada, and art projects for the Cleveland Rapid Transit District, among others. Professional awards include such recognition as multiple Lumens from the Illuminating Engineering Society, SEGD and the NEA Japan Residency Fellowship. Schwendinger has enjoyed extensive coverage in design press and media, including videos produced by Monocle, Architectural Lighting, Architectural Digest and Dwell magazines. She is currently a Design Trust For Public Space Fellow and in fall 2017 she will serve as the Distinguished Visiting Professor in residence at the Portland State University (USA) Department of Architecture.
Justin Garrett Moore is an urban designer and the executive director of the New York City Public Design Commission. He has extensive experience in urban design and city planning—from large-scale urban systems, policies, and projects to grassroots and community-focused planning, design, and arts initiatives. At the Public Design Commission his work is focused on prioritizing the quality and excellence of the public realm, and fostering accessibility, diversity and inclusion in the City’s public buildings, spaces, and art.
Justin is a former Senior Urban Designer for the NYC Department of City Planning where, for over a decade, he was responsible for conducting complex urban design plans and studies of the physical design and utilization of sites including infrastructure, public spaces, land use patterns and neighborhood character. His projects included the Greenpoint and Williamsburg Waterfront, Hunter’s Point South, the Coney Island Plan and the Brooklyn Cultural District. He received degrees in both architecture and urban design from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation where he is now an Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture in the urban design and urban planning programs.
He is the co-founder of Urban Patch, a social enterprise based in Indianapolis that focuses on community revitalization and design in American inner cities. His professional affiliations include the American Institute of Certified Planners, the Urban Design Forum, and Next City’s Vanguard. In addition to ioby, he also serves as a board member for Mary Miss—City as Living Laboratory, and Made in Brownsville.
Mary Elizabeth Rusz, AIA is a Senior Architect and Urban Designer with the Office of Design, of the New York City Housing Authority. She has been the design lead for a number of large scale, urban revitalization projects under both the HUD Choice Neighborhood Initiative and the prior HOPE VI Program. She is currently the Project Manager for the Historic Preservation Study of the NYC Housing Authority’s entire development portfolio, in support of a Programmatic Agreement with the NY State Historic Preservation Office.
Ms. Rusz is a graduate of Columbia University, GSAPP [M.S.A.U.D.], and the University of Toronto, Faculty of Architecture [B.Arch.], including study abroad at Paris’ Unité Pedagogiques d’Architecture Six.
Ms. Rusz is a long standing member of the American Institute of Architecture – New York Chapter’s Housing Committee, and the City Club of New York’s Urban Design Committee. She is also an avid Watercolorist [See website: “Watercolor Works”], and an active Member of both the National Association of Women Artists, and The Salmagundi Club of New York.
In 2015, Ms. Rusz founded TORONTO – NEW YORK, a new platform by which designers of these two great cities may share innovations and best practices with the common goal of enhancing the built environment [akin to the UDF’s NEW YORK – LONDON exchange]. The first exchange, on the topic of HOUSING, was held at the AIA NY Chapter, in Taffel Hall, on September 26, 2016. It is hoped that TORONTO – NEW YORK will become a more integrated activity in future with the UDF.
In 2017, Ms. Rusz will embark on an abbreviated “Grand Tour” as a travel / study program through Italy, to document seminal works of Architecture and Urbanism, in order to prepare a “primer for young designers”. This document will be focused on High School Students who may be considering studying the design professions in College / University; the content and format of this primer will be developed in conjunction with the AIA NY Chapter’s Center for Architecture.
Mr. Rui Qian holds a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from Harvard GSD, and a Master of Urban Design degree from TCAUP, University of Michigan. Mr. Qian was recently nominated as the International Research Associate of National Research Center of Rural Planning and Development of China. Along with that, he has been serving as the VP of UM Beijing Alumni Association, in charge of bridging Sino-US institutions. He has worked as an urban designer with Cooper Robertson and Partners, Goody Clancy and Associates and China Sustainability Center of AECOM Beijing Office. He also serves as the overseas editor for several professional magazines in China.
Alice Shay is a city planner and urban designer with the Bloomberg Associates Urban Planning practice. She contributes to the team’s full range of strategic planning and public realm projects including waterfront infrastructure, public space redevelopment and land use instruments.
Previously, Alice worked with WXY Architecture and Urban Design, an architecture and planning firm that works closely with government agencies and private stakeholders on public realm projects. Alice also consulted for the UN-HABITAT City Development Strategies program in Indonesia with Solo Kota Kita (SKK). With the support of AECOM, Alice and SKK used a participatory charrette process to create Firm Foundation, a waterfront public space, for a low-income neighborhood in Banjarmasin. Documenting the process with SKK, Alice co-authored the Firm Foundation Social Design Field Guide.
Alice exhibited at the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture in Hong Kong, conducted research in residence at the Strelka Institute in Moscow in 2012 and has consulted on public realm strategies in London. Alice has a B.A. from Brown University and a Master in City Planning from MIT.
Stephen Fan is an adjunct assistant professor in the art history and architectural studies department at Connecticut College. His research focuses on user-centered, evidenced-based design informed by psychology and anthropology. He is the curator and editor of SubUrbanisms: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns, and the Contested American Landscape, which has received awards from the Vernacular Architecture Forum, American Planning Association, among others. He has lectured on topics such as peripheral urbanization, crowding, and informal suburbs, including at Columbia University, Hong Kong University, National University of Singapore, UCLA, and Yale.
His work has been featured in Architectural Record, The Atlantic’s City Lab, Metropolis, Next City, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Shinkenchiku, Urban Omnibus, and the World Journal.
Stephen holds a Masters in Architecture and Bachelors Degree from Harvard University, where he has also taught art history. He serves on the Board of the VAF New England Chapter.
In her fifteen year career Ifeoma has harnessed her capabilities in design and research to contribute to international projects in urban design/master planning, public facilities design and community development. For the past year she developed design policy for the design of a more equitable built environment for the NYC Department of Design and Construction. Currently as the Senior Design Advisor with the Mayors Office of Criminal Justice Ifeoma leads the Neighborhood Activation project – an interagency initiative addressing crime prevention through urban design in critical locations across New York City. She holds a Bachelor in Architecture degree from Cornell University and Masters in City Planning and Urban Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Sagi is a Senior Urban Designer of Brooklyn at the NYC Department of City Planning. He holds a Bachelor‘s degree in architecture from Tel Aviv University and an M.S. in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University.
At Columbia, He was awarded the GSAPP award for excellence and the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize. Golan taught at Columbia GSAPP’s Urban Design program and has been a Guest critic at Syracuse University, Cornell University, Columbia GSAPP and NYIT.
At City Planning, he ensures a high level of design excellence in projects across Brooklyn. Sagi supports neighborhood planning initiatives, community outreach, and participates in the Borough’s efforts in achieving the city wide’s affordable housing goals. Most recently his project “9×18” was awarded the 2015 AIANY Urban Design Merit Award.
Oscar is an Urban Planner and Cultural Producer based in Brooklyn, NY. He is committed to building equitable cities through communities’ active participation in education, arts, and culture. He has worked with various organizations on issues dealing with planning, design, cultural programming, and community education and engagement. He holds a Masters in City Planning from Pratt Institute and a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies from the University of British Columbia.
Christopher Rice is a New York-based Urban Planner. He completed his MSc in City & Regional Planning at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and is interested in climate resiliency, green infrastructure and social inclusion. Christopher is originally from Ohio, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies at Oberlin College. He recently joined WXY Studio where he is working on the Brooklyn Navy Yard Master Plan and researching public school system admissions policies. Previously at the New York City Council, he managed large-scale neighborhood re-zonings. Outside of the studio, you can find Chris biking around the city, snapping photos with his 35mm camera, or listening to house music.
Sanjukta is a landscape and architectural designer at James Corner Field Operations. She holds a B.Arch from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Her projects include the Domino Sugar Waterfront & Greenpoint Landing in Brooklyn, NY; The Underline, Miami, FL and the Central Green at Philadelphia Navy Yards. Sanjukta has also been a visiting lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.
Jeremy is a Designer and Project Leader at BIG – Bjarke Ingles Group. He directed the BIG team in its winning proposal for the Rebuild by Design competition, and now leads urban design of the subsequent East Side and Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Projects for the City of New York. He has been working with Bjarke Ingels and BIG since the establishment of its New York office in 2010.
Daniel currently works as a Studio Director for West 8 New York. With a multidisciplinary approach to design, Daniel has led internationally recognized projects, shifting scales from strategic master plans to transformative park designs and the creation of iconic public spaces, which accommodate 21st Century infrastructure needs and address the challenges of urbanization.
Alan Waxman, MLA Harvard 2014, works in landscape design for health and resiliency. He models real-time psychosocial datascapes through dance biorhythms with Mark Morris Dance, is facilitating an ecology of deliciousness in public housing evaluated by hospital data with Claus Meyer, and is designing parks with Quennell Rothschild & Partners.
Keiko uses her interdisciplinary training to provide a unique perspective to her work. With nearly two decades of experience and degrees in landscape architecture, architecture, and engineering, her projects have included Paseo Verde in Philadelphia, the Hoover-Mason Trestle in Bethlehem, PA and SteelStacks Park, for which she is Project Designer. In addition, Keiko maintains her architectural license in Japan, and has worked on numerous projects abroad including the Daiichi Mutual Life Insurance Office Landscape in Kanagawa.
Navid Maqami is a cofounder and a design principal of S9 Architecture. His architecture is rooted in “modern contextualism”, where sensitivity to contextual forces fuse with the pragmatic needs of a project to develop design narratives blurring lines between architecture, urbanism, landscape and art. With over 30 years of experience, Navid leads teams of talented designers and architects on diverse projects, from large scale mixed-use developments to small interiors. His passion for better design coupled with his expertise analyzing social, economic and regulatory parameters, and working with developers and end users has resulted in an extensive portfolio of award-winning projects including the New York Wheel, Dock72 in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Lansdowne Park in Ottawa and 205 Water Street in Dumbo. Navid received his architectural degree from the Architectural Association in London.
Milton Puryear is Director of Project Development for the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, where he works with public agencies and private interests to implement a 14-mile landscaped route from Greenpoint to Bay Ridge. In his former career he was an investment analyst. He has always valued nature and active recreation including cycling, swimming and kayaking. Milton is also the project manager for the restoration of the Mill River and the creation of Mill River Park & Greenway in Stamford, CT.
As founding partner and principal of S9 Architecture, John Clifford brings over 25 years’ experience in design and development. With an extensive portfolio of retail, mixed-use, residential, office, and adaptive reuse projects, John relies on his vast urban design and planning experience as well as a strong design aesthetic to inform and advise clients in development decisions, from concept development to site analysis to master planning. His expertise in real estate financials, tenant and landlord programs and operational issues has resulted in viable, large-scale urban and mixed-use projects throughout North America. Notable projects include Industry City in Brooklyn, Ponce City Market in Atlanta, and Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, Canada.
Landscape architect Michelle Delk is a partner in the multi-disciplinary firm Snøhetta, and Director of Landscape Architecture for the firm. The design process at Snøhetta is collaborative, transdisciplinary, and focused on social and environmental sustainability. The firm prioritizes relationships and recognition of the particularities of place. This is achieved through workshops, conversations, and open exchange, where ideas move freely between designer, client, and consultant. Public participation and community engagement is a core value in Delk’s work. She is committed to expanding the public understanding of the role of landscape architecture in building resilient communities.
Delk has led the design of numerous downtown plazas, parks, streetscape revitalizations, and public spaces. As Director of Landscape Architecture, she is currently heading the landscape design for Snøhetta’s Willamette Falls Riverwalk project in Oregon City. The project will open the Willamette Falls to public access for the first time since the 1830s. Delk is also the lead designer for the new Calgary Public Library plaza, the North Tryon Vision Plan for Charlotte, Virginia, and the Temple University Library in Philadelphia. She received an MLA degree from the University of Colorado Denver (2001) and a BA in fine art from the University of Iowa (1997). Before joining Snohetta, Delk was a Principal/Landscape Architect for the Denver-based landscape architecture firm Civitas.
Elliott believes that art and design can improve the sustainability and vitality of the urban environment; she is particularly interested in how an ecological framework can support both architectural and landscape thinking. Working in academic settings and within a collaborative design firm, she is actively engaged in the dialogue of theory and practice. In addition to her work in landscape architecture, she has worked as an architectural designer over the last ten years, and brings a commitment to careful detailing and expressive materiality. Her work has appeared in number of magazines, among others, Art in America, LandForum, and ArchRecord. For 5 years Elliott worked with Mary Miss, one of the most influential public artists working today.
Ms. Nandan believes in sustainability as a holistic and supple design approach, integral to all aspect of design and construction. She is at the forefront of sustainability in New York, having served in various roles to help shape public policy, most recently board co-chair of the New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program Red Hook Community Committee ; member of the Homes Committee for Urban Green Codes Task Force (2012); and the Building Resiliency Task Force (2013). Gita further puts her beliefs into practice as an architectural educator, currently a visiting assistant professor at Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts where she teaches the Green Infrastructure Studio, Sustainable and Resilient Existing Building Design and thesis. Gita received her Master of Architecture from UC Berkeley and is a registered architect in New York and New Jersey, an accredited LEED professional and Enterprise Green Communities Technical Assistant.
Margaret Tobin is Principal of M.Tobin Co, a firm that specializes in conceptualizing, analyzing, planning and design, negotiating with tenants, regulators and contractors, and implementing complex real estate projects, with a specialty in New York City real estate and its regulatory and political environment. Before, Margaret served as Senior Vice President of Development for the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation. Margaret was also instrumental in the formation of the Hudson River Park Conservancy as the Executive Vice President and CFO.
Eloise Hirsh is the Administrator of Freshkills Park and the President of the Freshkills Park Alliance. At 2,200 acres, the Freshkills Park project is one of the most ambitious public works projects in the City’s history. The transformation of what was the City’s biggest landfill for 50 years, into a productive, vital, beautiful destination open to all is a powerful symbol of renewal with challenges and opportunities on an unprecedented scale.
Eloise Hirsh has an extensive career in public and non profit sector management. She spent 18 years in Pittsburgh, where she was Mayor Tom Murphy’s Director of City Planning during his first two terms, Director of the Mayor’s Commission on Public Education, and, as firm principal of the consulting firm Iron Hill Associates, led projects on open space preservation and development, transportation issues, affordable housing and child and family welfare.
Before relocating to Pittsburgh in 1988, Eloise spent 20 years in New York City government where her responsibilities ranged from infrastructure and park management as First Deputy Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation, to labor relations and productivity improvement as Director of New York City’s first Labor Management Productivity Committee.
She has been on the faculty of the Heinz School for Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.
Keri is the Deputy Director of the Public Design Commission. She holds a Masters’ in Arts Administration from the Art Institute of Chicago and has nearly 20 years of experience in her field in both New York City and Chicago. At the Public Design Commission, Keri works closely with New York City agencies on the development and design of capital projects with a particular focus on citywide prototypes, adaptive reuse of historic structures, public art commissions, and art conservation projects. She has collaborated with City and State agencies along with private partners to conserve the City’s art collection, including the City Hall portraits, large-scale sculptures, and WPA murals. Keri also oversees the Commission’s special initiatives and events, including City Hall tours, panels, exhibits, and the Annual Awards for Excellence in Design.
Ekene Ijeoma an artist and designer exploring the intersections of social issues, data studies and life experiences. He creates websites, apps, installations, and performances translating overlooked facts into informed feelings. Through these multisensory experiences, he hopes to expand people’s thoughts and engage them in imagining change.
As a registered architect and landscape architect, Kate has focused her interdisciplinary practice on the design and construction of large-scale urban infrastructure and landscape projects. Since receiving her Masters in Architecture from Harvard University, Kate has worked at Architecture Research Office, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, and Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers.
Matthew is an interdisciplinary designer at Snøhetta, he currently manages and leads the design of the Willamette Falls Riverwalk, a transformative 22-acre post-industrial riverfront project with significant goals related to habitat restoration, re-development, historic interpretation, and public access. Matthew received his Masters of Architecture at Princeton University and bachelor degrees in biology and landscape architecture from The Pennsylvania State University.
Ron is a designer, artist, and urbanist. He has been a collaborator with design teams that implemented projects in New Orleans, Ghana, Colombia, Ethiopia, New York, and Venice and has had work featured in AIA New York, the UN World Urban Forum, and the Tribeca Film Festival. Based in New York, he has worked with such organizations as The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Transportation Alternatives, and the Association of Neighbors and Housing Development. He currently teaches in the School of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design.
Josh Sirefman is Head of Development at Sidewalk Labs. Josh has spent his career at the forefront of the planning, negotiation and implementation of complex growth and development strategies across the public and private sectors. As founder and President of Sirefman Ventures, he led transformative development projects for a range of corporate, nonprofit and government entities, including Cornell University’s successful effort to build a new applied sciences campus in New York City, the University of Chicago’s transformation of Hyde Park through the redevelopment of a vibrant new mixed-use district, and the repositioning of the New York Public Library’s renovation of its flagship building.
Prior to founding Sirefman Ventures, Josh was the Senior Vice President for U.S. Development at Brookfield Properties and managed a development portfolio of more than 15 million square feet across the country. Before joining Brookfield Properties, Josh held a series of high-level roles within the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, including Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding, and Interim President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.
Vincent is Grimshaw’s Group Managing Partner. He has been with Grimshaw since 1996 and has played an instrumental role in the expansion of the practice while maintaining a commitment to the quality, rigor and reputation for excellence that Grimshaw is known for. He established the firm’s New York office in 2001 and was instrumental in securing the AIA New York Chapter’s Medal of Honor Award in 2015.
Vincent has led many of the practice’s most notable commissions in North America including Via Verde – the Green Way, the winning entry in the New Housing New York competition, and Horno3: Museo del Acero, the adaptation of a historic blast furnace facility into Monterrey, Mexico’s museum of steel. His focus on engineering and beauty is exemplified by the soaring atrium of Lower Manhattan’s Fulton Center, opened in late 2014.
The revitalised transit hub is defined both by its increased ease of use and it’s soaring atrium capped by Sky-Reflector Net, a clever public art installation that paints the sky across the building’s interior while directing natural light deep into the station environment.
On the west coast of the United States, Vincent has guided a new master plan for Los Angeles Union Station and is deeply involved in planning and design for Pier 70, an emerging part of San Francisco.
Vincent is a graduate of Cambridge University and is a registered member of both the Royal Institute of British Architects and the American Institute of Architects.
Jonathan Cohn has led large multidisciplinary teams for the architectural design of some of largest infrastructure and transportation projects in New York’s recent history, including the JFK International Airport AirTrain Light Rail stations, and the World Trade Center PATH Terminal. Jonathan’s experience has given him a deep belief that transportation facilities and private, development can be integrated to make a real contribution to the public realm.