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Centering Safe Experiences

Event Good Form
April 20th, 2023
6:00pm - 8:00pm
250 West 57th Street 17th floor, New York, NY, USA

Isabel is a strategic and urban designer interested in exploring strategies to overcome socio-economic disparities and build agency through design. She is currently an Associate Urban Designer at the New York City Housing Authority. With a background in community planning, urbanism, and architecture her recent practice is focused on developing strategies of open-decision making to empower communities to shape their built environment.

Dr. Thompson is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health. She holds a DrPH and MPH in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University and a B.A. in journalism from Howard University. Her research focuses on the social determinants of substance use and mental health, with an emphasis on racial/ethnic minority women in urban settings.

Kelli Peterman is an urban planner focused on community health and wellness and works in the Division of Mental Hygiene at the NYC Health Department. Kelli oversees a diverse portfolio of initiatives at the intersection of mental health and urban planning and is a core member of the DOHMH Health Equity in Urban Planning workgroup.

As the Chief of Landscape Architecture for NYC Parks, Nancy Prince leads 100 landscape architects and consultants to set a higher design standard—centered on excellence, innovation, accessibility, resilience, and sustainability—that affects every city resident who visits a park. Her professional portfolio encompasses 30,000 acres spread across 5,000 properties, accounting for fourteen percent of the land in a city of almost nine million people with a ten-year capital budget of $5.5 billion.

Adam Yarinsky, FAIA, is Principal of Architecture Research Office (ARO), a New York City firm united by their collaborative process, commitment to accountable action, and social and environmental responsibility. ARO’s diverse body of work has earned the firm over a hundred design awards including the 2020 National AIA Architecture Firm Award. He is a lecturer at MIT and has taught at Harvard University, The University of Michigan, Princeton University, Yale University, The University of Virginia, and other institutions. He has also lectured widely and written about ARO’s work. Adam served on the board of Places Journal from 2012-2018, and he is on the University of Virginia School of Architecture Advisory Board. Adam holds an undergraduate degree in Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Master of Architecture from Princeton University.

Ian is Director of Employment and Training at Fountain House, a national nonprofit organization fighting for the dignity and dreams of people living with serious mental illness. He has worked supporting people with Serious Mental Illness for 18 years. Ian began his career doing Supported Housing in Boston, MA. He's worked at Fountain House for the last 15 years working with their employment programs, housing, and has started many of their social enterprises and hospital in-reach programs.

Join us for a discussion on the role of city parks and open space in supporting mental health, with Kelli Peterman, Azure Thompson, and Isabel Saffon.

Parks and open space can be oases for improving mood and promoting cognitive functioning. Yet homogeneous public spaces can unwittingly neglect or criminalize stigmatized communities, including individuals with diverse mental health needs. New design and programming approaches can challenge stigma and extend the benefits of parks to all New Yorkers.

As a preview of our forthcoming Good Form policy platform, Safe Experiences Working Group fellows Kelli Peterman, Azure Thompson, and Isabel Saffon will present their group’s proposals to leverage city parks as contact points for mental health services. Following their presentation, we will invite Nancy Prince, Adam Yarinsky, Ian Campbell and attendees to offer feedback and help strategize how to drive the proposal forward. 

How can new infrastructure and inclusive design improve the mental health experience for all park goers?

Guest & Safety Policies 

Urban Design Forum promotes conversation between invited civic leaders, designers, developers and advocates. Forum Fellows are welcome to invite one additional guest to attend.

If you’re not feeling well, please stay home. Face masks are encouraged, but not required. If you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days, a high-quality, well-fitting face covering is required at all times.

About Good Form 

Good Form is a yearlong initiative to deepen dialogues between the public health and design community. Through working groups and public programs, Urban Design Forum will advance transformational ideas to shape health equity in design and development for all New Yorkers. Centering Safe Experiences is the first roundtable to preview upcoming recommendations from Urban Design Forum’s forthcoming platform of ideas to be released in Spring 2023. 

Our program is made possible through the support of our Board of Directors, Director’s Circle and Fellows. To learn about how you can support our programs and inquiries, please contact Miranda Bellizia, Director of Member Engagement, miranda@urbandesignforum.org.

Continuing Education 

Urban Design Forum is now an AIA CES provider. If there are other continuing education credits you are interested in receiving, please contact Miranda Bellizia, Director of Member Engagement, miranda@urbandesignforum.org. This program has been approved for AIA CES.

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