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Organizing for Climate Action

Event Rewire
January 23rd, 2024
6:00pm - 8:00pm
1700 Broadway, New York, NY, USA

Costa Constantinides is the Chief Executive Officer at Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens. VBGCQ offers children in Astoria and Long Island City a safe haven to learn, play, and grow into tomorrow's leaders. A native Astorian, Costa represented District 22 in the New York City Council from 2014-2021, where he placed a strong focus on community-level climate and resiliency infrastructure, securing funding to reimagine Astoria Park and adding solar panels and hydroponic science labs to the district's schools. He also led the effort to pass the Climate Mobilization Act, the largest carbon emissions reduction ever mandated by any city in the world. Costa serves on the Board of Directors of the NYC Economic Development Corporation and on the NYC Environmental Justice Advisory Board.

Eunice Ko is the Deputy Director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), a network of community-based organizations of color advocating for the empowerment of environmentally overburdened neighborhoods. Previously, Eunice worked at the Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice and the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency, on climate adaptation and urban policy with a focus on climate and environmental justice. Eunice has experience in organizational development, change management, and strategic planning in local government. She has worked for the City of Chicago and Austin on affordable housing, community safety, and mental health policies and services. Eunice holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas at Austin with an emphasis on policy research and analysis and public management.

Laura Popa serves as the deputy commissioner of sustainability for the New York City Department of Buildings. In this role, Laura leads the newly-created Bureau of Sustainability. She works closely with DOB’s team of sustainability specialists to push forward Department actions that will help New York City achieve its climate goals and continue to serve as a model for energy efficiency and emissions reductions. In more than 22 years of public service, Laura previously worked as a legal and policy advisor at the New York City Council and the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission. At the City Council, she directed the Council’s efforts to enact landmark legislation that supports citywide greenhouse gas emissions limits, and helped institutionalize long-term sustainability and resiliency planning, and the expansion of clean and renewable energy. She also served on numerous advisory boards and task forces related to sustainability and was a member of the Mayor’s Commission on Gender Equity. Laura is currently a lecturer at Columbia University, and previously taught at Fordham Law School. Laura earned her B.A. from New York University and her J.D. from Fordham Law School.

Daphany Rose Sanchez is an experienced community organizer, an expert in climate and housing, and the Executive Director of Kinetic Communities Collective. Born and raised in New York City public housing, Daphany witnessed and lived through the intersections of housing discrimination, climate divestment, and economic injustice. Her experience moved Daphany to fight for climate resiliency in the communities she grew up in, organizing neighborhoods across every borough in the city while working alongside renewable energy companies to provide people with the tools they need to reduce their energy bills and keep their homes protected from natural disasters. She graduated from NYU Tandon School of Engineering and holds a Master of Science in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management from the New School.

Jeremy Shannon is a Director of Sustainability in Gensler’s new dedicated Climate Action & Sustainability studio. His focus is on advancing design technologies and education with the goal of creating sustainable communities and healing ecosystems. Jeremy has taught sustainability at Parsons The New School, created the first worker cooperative construction company in New York State, and served on advisory boards for two NYC mayors, NYSERDA, Urban Green, and USGBC, and served as the agency representative for the NYC School Construction Authority for the NYC Local Law 97 Advisory Board.

Join us to kick off our Rewire initiative with a discussion on the power of organizing to shape new climate policy.

In 2019, climate organizers achieved a series of groundbreaking victories with the passage of the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA). As a pivotal component of the CMA, Local Law 97 will limit significant greenhouse emissions in large buildings citywide starting in 2024. These achievements in New York’s climate policy are the culmination of decades of advocacy on behalf of environmental justice neighborhoods.

As we kick off Rewire, we will look back on historic policy wins and strategize successful implementation with Costa Constantinides, Eunice Ko, Laura Popa, and Daphany Rose Sanchez. Following their remarks, we will welcome responses from Jeremy Shannon and attendees.

How can we learn from historic advocacy movements to guide climate action in New York City’s built environment?

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.
Continuing Education

Urban Design Forum is an AIA CES provider. This event has been approved for 2 AIA CES LUs.

About Rewire

Organizing for Climate Action is the inaugural event of Rewire, our 2024 initiative exploring ways to 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 New Yorkers.

Rewire is made possible with lead support from Stantec and with the continued support of our Board of DirectorsDirector’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.

Image Credit: Fred Murphy

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