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Counting Down Carbon

Event Rewire
February 7th, 2024
6:00pm - 8:00pm
5 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY, USA

Kaja Kühl is an urban designer and the principal of youarethecity, a Brooklyn-based design practice. She has extensive design and planning experience from large-scale urban systems and policies to community engagement and tactical urbanism. Working with and speaking to the people that are affected by urban design is at the core of her process. She is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in Architecture and Urban Design at Columbia University GSAPP. Her work and teaching focuses on urban systems and infrastructure, civic engagement and participation, climate action, public space and public art, housing and migration.

As a design director in Stantec’s New York City office, Amy Seek helps to establish and develop the landscape vision for multi-disciplinary projects from waterfronts to urban parks within New York City and, in collaboration with other Stantec offices, across the United States. With over a decade of experience working primarily in the public realm, she’s passionate about the contribution public space can make to urban quality of life, city identity, urban habitat, and resilience. Trained as an architect and a musician, Amy brings design rigor and spatial refinement to her practice, aspiring toward rational, integrated solutions that follow from analysis.

Jonce Walker is a Principal and the Global Director of Sustainability and Wellness at HLW where he oversees the coordination of a holistic, integrated design process, from managing BEYOND, HLW's sustainability, resilience, and building performance consultancy, to reinforcing the firm's pledge to the AIA 2030 Commitment, which advocates for carbon-neutral construction in the next 10 years. Utilizing nearly two decades of experience in both the public and private sectors, Jonce is responsible for weaving sustainability into each stage of design, working to transcend project goals to maximize value for clients, repair ecology, decarbonize, and improve end-user health and wellness.

Since joining KPF in 2010, Annie has been involved in a diverse array of projects in the U.S., Hong Kong, China, and Thailand. A talented designer with a background in finance, Annie contributes an analytical lens to the aesthetic development of all her projects, promoting sensitivity to client needs and enriching design development. Annie has led the design of some of KPF’s most prominent projects in New York City. She has served as senior designer for One Madison, an overbuild and adaptive reuse project that is currently under construction and Hudson Commons.

As an Environmental Performance Specialist and member of the KPF Environmental Performance (KPFep) team, Erin closely collaborates with design teams to set ambitious goals and benchmarks for projects and utilizes an evidence-based design approach to meet them. Her work not only helps each individual project excel, but also supports KPF’s environmental mission through minimizing the global impacts of KPF projects. Working across different program types, scales, geographic regions, and design stages Erin incorporates carbon, energy, thermal comfort, and daylight modeling to ensure a project achieves or exceeds established targets. With a focus on embodied carbon in the built environment, she helps KPF develop resources and workflows for measuring and reducing embodied carbon.

Sofía Zuberbühler-Yafar is Assistant Commissioner of Sustainability & Urban Design with NYC Department of Design and Construction’s Infrastructure Division. She leads the integration of sustainable design measures and goals within the agency standards and contracts that respond to current, ongoing discussions regarding climate change and adaptability. Sofía oversees the project management of multimillion dollar capital green infrastructure and cloudburst management design contracts and leads the landscape architectural liaising within the division.

Join us for a roundtable discussion on circular design and embodied carbon with Kaja Kühl, Amy Seek, Jonce Walker, Annie Savage, Erin Heidelberger and Sofía Zuberbühler-Yafar.

About 40% of the world’s carbon emissions are tied to the building and construction sectors. As New York City seeks to curb rising global emissions through electrification, we must also redesign the city to account for “embodied” carbon: the emissions released in harvesting, manufacturing and transporting the raw materials used in construction. Strategies to incorporate materials reuse, bio-based materials, or carbon sequestration can make a profound impact on achieving the city’s long-term climate goals.

We will discuss how to reduce carbon by integrating circular practices into building, public space, and infrastructure design with Kaja Kühl, Amy Seek, Jonce Walker and Annie Savage. Following presentations, we will welcome responses from Sofía Zuberbühler-Yafar, Erin Heidelberger and attendees.

How can New York City support circular design of the built environment to shape climate-positive neighborhoods?

Guest & Accessibility Policies

Urban Design Forum promotes conversations between invited civic leaders, designers, developers, and advocates. This event is open to Forum Fellows and their guests.

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals to engage fully.

  • The venue will have an entrance and elevators that are ADA-accessible.
  • This event will offer amplified sound.
  • If you’re not feeling well, please stay home. Face masks are encouraged, particularly if you have been recently exposed to colds, flus, or other illness. 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.
  • Please refrain from wearing strong fragrances to accommodate guests with allergies or environmental sensitivities.
  • If you have additional needs, we will do our best to accommodate. Please contact rsvp@urbandesignforum.org.
About Rewire

Our 2024 Next New York initiative, Rewire, explores how we can reshape the existing city to build climate positive neighborhoods. Through public programs and working groups, Fellows will advance ideas to adapt existing buildings and public spaces to reduce carbon and protect from climate impacts.  

Rewire is made possible with lead support from Stantec and with the continued support of our Board of Directors, Director’s Circle, and Company Members, as well as our individual members through membership dues. To learn more about supporting this program, please contact Miranda Bellizia, miranda@urbandesignform.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 event has been approved for 2 AIA CES LUs.

Image Credit: Zac Weber

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