Cooperative Works: Interview Series

In the fall, the Urban Design Forum will launch Cooperative Works, an initiative exploring how New York City can advance economic justice in its coronavirus recovery. In partnership with Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson and the Mayor’s Office of M/WBE, our Fellows will conduct research on how to create economic opportunity for MWBEs and employee-owned businesses through climate investment, leveraging the new market for building energy retrofits created by Local Law 97.

Leading up to the program, we are pleased to publish a series of interviews with leaders in sustainability in the built environment, inclusive economic development, and racial justice.

Part I ↓

No Opting Out: An Interview with Mark Chambers
Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, discusses the City’s efforts to implement Local Law 97, expanding the tent of climate resistance, and prioritizing environmental justice communities in the vision for a greener future.

Building a Shared Vision: An Interview with Sandra Lobo
Sandra Lobo, Executive Director of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, discusses how Northwest Bronx connects its organizing around racial, environmental, and health justice to an economic democracy framework that draws on longstanding cooperative practices in communities of color.

Valuing Worker Ownership: An Interview with Maru Bautista
Maru Bautista, Director of the Cooperative Development Program at the Center for Family Life, discusses the benefits cooperative ownership can have in a community, what kind of support new cooperatives require, and the resiliency of cooperative models.

Part II ↓

Mobilizing for Climate Justice: An Interview with Daniel Aldana Cohen
Daniel Aldana Cohen, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses mapping neighborhood-level carbon footprints, building coalitions in the climate movement, and a Green New Deal for Public Housing.

Decarbonizing Buildings: An Interview with Stephanie Carlisle
Stephanie Carlisle, Senior Researcher at the Carbon Leadership Forum and former Principal at KieranTimberlake, discusses the role of embodied carbon in achieving climate goals, how to make high-performance buildings the standard for all projects, and how to showcase the importance of retrofits.

Centering Energy Equity: An Interview with Daphany Rose Sanchez
Daphany Rose Sanchez, Executive Director of Kinetic Communities Consulting, discusses building a small business in the energy efficiency sector, supporting MWBEs as part of a just transition, and achieving energy equity.

Cooperatives in Construction: An Interview with Rebecca Lurie
Rebecca Lurie, Coordinator of the Community & Worker Ownership Project at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, discusses building infrastructure for small cooperatives, opportunities to strengthen the cooperative movement in the construction industry, and how cooperatives pay it forward.

Editors ↓

Katherine Sacco and An Trinh

Graphic Identity ↓

Partner & Partners

Partners ↓

We are pleased to partner with the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Mayor’s Office of M/WBE for the first phase of the Forefront Fellowship.

About Forefront ↓

Forefront is an annual initiative cultivating emerging leaders in urban design, development and policy. This year’s theme, Cooperative Works, explores how to support minority-owned businesses and workers of color, expand worker cooperatives, and democratize economic resources to build a more inclusive economy.

This program is made possible through the support of Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of M/WBE and our Director’s Circle. To learn more, please contact Daniel McPhee, Executive Director, 646-928-0553 or