Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Fight for Sunlight aspires to prevent proposed high-rise towers from blocking sunlight to BBG’s greenhouse complex. The development site is situated within a 13-block section of Crown Heights that was rezoned in 1991 to encourage residential development “in keeping with the existing neighborhood character and (to) minimize the potential shadow impact upon the Botanic Garden from any new residential development.” BBG’s greenhouses are the beating heart of the Garden, housing 20 percent of its plant collections—including endangered orchids, cacti, and bonsai—as well as the growing facilities that help replenish plantings across all 52 acres of the Garden.
Young documentarian Everette Hamlette discovers that his local neighborhood park, 75 Park, is being reconstructed. Curious as to why all of his childhood memories are being altered; he decides to do his own research. Finding more questions than answers, Everette interviews those who grew up in this park near the Hunts Point area of the South Bronx. He meets people who have similar connections to the neighborhood and interviews friends, neighborhood leaders, and Parks Department employees, seeking both the emotion and the truth of the reconstruction.
What impact does light in the public realm have on our health? We will explore how physical, mental, and societal health is shaped by access to quality open space.
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid will discuss two topics: how the geographic and physical accessibility of state parks in and around New York City make them vital destinations for city residents, offering the opportunity to connect to a life outdoors, especially for people with little experience interacting with the natural world; and the park and open space investments the state is making in central Brooklyn through the governor’s Vital Brooklyn program.
How can light and air be integrated into zoning regulations, planning tools, and incentives to maximize the use of parks, plazas, and open spaces? We will look at ways in which New York City can prioritize light and facilitate sustainable development for years to come.
Join us upstairs in the historic Library Reading Room for lunch overlooking Central Park and the chance to interact with inspiring projects as part of our third annual Innovation Exhibition.
How does our manipulation of sunlight through the built environment affect the ecology of our natural environment? We will consider how best to balance development goals with light-dependent conservation and resiliency priorities.
Details to be announced.
Liz Thomas is among the most experienced female hikers in the US, and is known for backpacking light, fast, and solo. Affectionately known as “Queen of Urban Hiking”, she has pioneered and completed thru-hikes – a long distance hike entirely within the confines of an urban environment – in five cities across the US. This includes the Inman 300, which many consider the world’s first urban-thru hiking trail, linking more than 300 public staircases over 220 miles in Los Angeles.
Details to be announced.
What roles do architecture and design play in the vitality of the public realm? We will examine the form, materiality, and sustainability of the built environment in relation to light and shadow.
Join us upstairs in the historic Library Reading Room for a reception overlooking Central Park and the chance to interact with inspiring projects as part of our third annual Innovation Exhibition. There will also be a presentation of The W. Allison and Elizabeth Stubbs Davis Award, which is awarded to a deserving employee of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The 2019 awardee is Leslie Peoples, RLA, Director of Landscape Architecture for Manhattan Capital Projects for NYC Parks.
Additional speakers to be announced. Schedule subject to change closer to Summit date.
Christine Appah is a senior staff attorney in the Environmental Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. She works on environmental health and sustainability issues for community organizations. Christine serves on New York City’s OneNYC Advisory Board and was recently appointed to the City’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board. She began her legal career at the Legal Aid Society and previously served as a regional director at the New York State Division of Human Rights. Christine graduated magna cum laude from The City College of New York and earned her law degree from Duke University School of Law.
Kimber Bogard is the Senior Vice President for Strategy and Programs at the New York Academy of Medicine where she leads the strategic visioning process and oversees research, evaluation, policy, and community programs. A developmental psychologist by training, Kimber has worked with numerous organizations that support children’s health and cognitive, affective, and behavioral development from early childhood through the high school years. In 2006, she received her PhD from Fordham University in applied developmental psychology, and her master’s degree from Columbia University.
Sara Bronin is an architect, attorney, and professor at UConn Law School, focusing on property, land use, and historic preservation issues. Some of her scholarship has highlighted how the law must establish solar rights. She chairs Hartford’s Planning and Zoning Commission, where she led an award-winning overhaul of the zoning code and drafted the city’s first-ever Climate Action Plan. She also chairs Preservation Connecticut. Among other consulting, she helped build the $180 million 360 State Street projects and a mixed-use LEED-Platinum building in downtown New Haven. She has also spearheaded litigation to protect significant historic assets, including the Lebanon Town Green.
James Carpenter has worked at the intersection of architecture, fine art, and engineering for nearly 50 years, advancing a distinctive vision based on the use of natural light as the foundational element of the built environment. Originally studying architecture before concentrating on the fine arts, Carpenter founded the cross-disciplinary design firm James Carpenter Design Associates in 1979 to support the application of these aesthetic principles to large-scale architectural projects. Carpenter’s work is driven by a deep awareness of materiality and craft as a means of enhancing the individual human experience within the built environment. Carpenter has been recognized with numerous national and international awards, including an Academy Award in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and the Smithsonian National Environment Design Award.
Gail Caulkins is President of Greenacre Foundation, a role she has held since 1997. Greenacre Foundation owns and operates Greenacre Park, a vest pocket park in midtown Manhattan which opened in 1971 and receives 200,000 visitors annually. Faced with decreased sunlight from new construction and the Midtown East Rezoning Plan, Ms. Caulkins spearheaded the Fight for Light campaign in an effort to protect the sunlight in Greenacre Park. Realizing that loss of light is a concern for every park and garden in New York City, her efforts inspired MAS and New Yorkers for Parks to take the campaign citywide.
Sarah Charlop-Powers is the co-founder and executive director of the Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC), a nonprofit dedicated to managing New York City’s 20,000 acres of forests and wetlands. The NAC is a pioneer in the field of urban conservation, using data and science to develop innovative new ways to manage urban natural areas so that they provide recreation opportunities for diverse users, protect local biodiversity, and provide environmental benefits. Sarah’s work builds on her background in land use planning, economics, and environmental management. She has a B.A. in Economics from Binghamton University and a Masters of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
A partner in the law firm Venable LLP ’s real estate group, Mr. Davis has over four decades experience advising public and private clients in connection with some of NYC’s most significant development projects. His practice focuses on complex real estate, land use development, related environmental matters and cultural and not-for-profit organizations. He served as NYC’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation under Mayor Koch from 1978-1983. He is a board designated Founder and Life Trustee of the Central Park Conservancy, Founding Chairman of Jazz at Lincoln Center, a Presidential appointee to the Kennedy Center board and recipient of the Medal of the City of New York for Exceptional Service.
Carolyn Dwyer is the Director of the Built Environment at the City of London Corporation. Her role is to secure smart, connected, sustainable development and infrastructure to accommodate inclusive growth. Carolyn has over 30 years’ experience working in the Development Sector, including the planning, financing and delivery of major projects as well as the development of place-making through design of public realm, open spaces and development of cultural strategies and programs. Carolyn has held ministerial appointments, is a Non-Executive Director of Shoreham Port Authority, and is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Legacy Sports and Education Foundation charity.
Basha Gerhards is Vice President of Policy and Planning with the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). Basha is focused on topics related to housing, land use, zoning, resiliency, and community development. Previously, Basha served as a senior land use advisor to Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. Prior to that, Basha worked at the City of New York’s Department of City Planning. She has an M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia University GSAPP and holds a B.F.A. in Historic Preservation, with a concentration in Urban Design and Development, from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
Noah Ginsburg joined Solar One in 2016 and is the Director its solar technical assistance program, Here Comes Solar. As a Solar Ombudsman at the City University of New York from 2009-2011, he identified and addressed barriers to solar adoption in NYC. From 2011-2015, Noah worked as data analyst and technologist with solar startups including Sungevity, Sunrun and OnGrid. He volunteered on more than 40 solar installations with GRID Alternatives, and earned his NABCEP PV installation certification in 2014. He completed a year of Americorps national service and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Renewable Energy from Hunter College.
Elizabeth Goldstein joined MAS as its President in February 2017. Elizabeth has an extensive background in parks and historic preservation advocacy and management. Throughout her career, Elizabeth has worked to insure transparent public engagement in civic decisions of consequence to public space and the heritage of key places across the United States. Prior to returning to her NYC roots, Elizabeth was most recently the President of the California State Parks Foundation from 2004 to 2016. Prior to that she was the General Manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department (1999 to 2004), and the Western Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (1994-1999). Her work in parks includes the New York City Regional Director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (1989-1994), the Director of Planning for the New York City Park Department (1986-1989) and the Chief of Staff of the Manhattan Borough Office of NYC Parks. Elizabeth graduated from Beloit College. Elizabeth is a past Co-Chair of the City Parks Alliance and board member of numerous non-profit boards.
Everette S. Hamlette is a videographer, editor, producer, and award winning writer residing in the South Bronx. His work focuses mainly on the day to day lives of you average Bronxite. He is currently producing a documentary called “75 Park: 1 of the 35” with Leave It Better Media. The film stars Everette. Discovering his local neighborhood park- 75 Park- is being reconstructed; curious as to why all of his childhood memories are being altered; he decides to do his own research on the New York City Parks Department.
Neil is the Director of Community Planning in the City of Vancouver’s Department of Planning, Design and Sustainability. His team is responsible for the planning and implementation of Community Plans and Major Projects. The City Design Studio, also within Community Planning, is responsible for design policy from the city-wide to area-plan scale. Finally, the Downtown Eastside Team and Chinatown Transformation Team offer a unique model for planning and implementation of area plans within at-risk and cultural communities, respectively. Neil earned his PhD in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley and previously worked in San Francisco as the Principal Urban Designer in the Planning Department.
Mychal Johnson has a long-standing track record in community-based advocacy for environmental and economic justice. He is a co-founder of South Bronx Unite and a member of the Board of Directors of the Mott Haven-Port Morris Community Land Stewards. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, the Board of Directors of the NYC Community Land Initiative, the Watershed Advisory Committee of the Park’s Department Harlem River Watershed and Natural Resources Management Plan and the Community Advisory Board of Columbia University’s NIEHS Center for Environmental Health in Northern Manhattan. Mychal was also appointed as a civil society voting member of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Open Space Committee, selected by the United Nations to serve as one of 38 global civil society appointees to the historic UN Climate Summit in 2014 and invited by the Bolivian government to participate in the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change.
Lynn Kelly oversees the citywide independent organization championing quality parks and open spaces for all New Yorkers. As lead spokesperson for the Play Fair campaign, she organized a coalition of 145 organizations to help secure a historic investment of $44M in NYC Parks. Previously, Lynn was President and CEO of Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, and a Senior Vice President at the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Lynn serves on the boards of Coney Island USA and NYC and Co. She received a B.A. from New York University and a Masters of Public Administration from NYU’s Wagner School.
Erik Kulleseid was appointed Commissioner of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in January 2019. Previously, Mr. Kulleseid was Senior Vice President for the Open Space Institute, where he co-founded the Parks Program and helped secure $30 million for park improvements. From 2007 to 2010, he was Deputy Commissioner for Open Space Protection at State Parks. He also served as New York State Program Director for The Trust for Public Land, a national nonprofit land conservation organization. He is a graduate of Yale College, Stanford Law School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Christy MacLear is a business person in the creative world. She has never had a job which existed before and is an expert in building businesses and start-ups with a particular focus on art, legacy, place-making, real estate and, often, degrees of complexity. She is the CEO of PaceX which will connect a new generation of artists working in technology and the cross-over of art, science and even social justice themes to new “experience economy” sites globally. Prior positions include being the Vice Chairman at Art Agency Partners, a subsidiary of Sotheby’s, focused on creating an advisory practice for artists, estates and foundations; the first CEO of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation; and the founding Executive Director of the Philip Johnson Glass House, giving her deep expertise in legacy planning for artwork use, foundation start-ups and museum sites. Christy has a BA from Stanford University in Urban Design and an MBA in Real Estate finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Stanford University and as the Board Chair of the Municipal Art Society of New York City.
Nilka Martell founded Loving the Bronx to share the borough’s history, culture, architecture and character through tours, photos and articles. A licensed tour guide and advocate for Bronx parks, she is dedicated to telling the public about the borough’s important sites, such as the Bronx River. She has received numerous accolades, including being named one of 25 influential Bronx women by the Bronx Times. Martell is so involved in her neighborhood, she’s known as the “Mayor of Parkchester.”
Scot Medbury is president of Brooklyn Botanic Garden, serving as the Garden’s sixth leader since its founding in 1910. He has been involved in the curation, cultivation, and interpretation of botanical collections for 40 years, having held appointments at gardens in California, Washington, Hawai’i, Great Britain, and New Zealand. Mr. Medbury serves as a trustee of Botanic Gardens Conservation International-US, the Center for Plant Conservation, and the International Dendrology Society, and advises five American public gardens. He holds an MS from the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture, and a BA from the UW Jackson School of International Studies.
Daphne Miller, MD, is a practicing family physician, author, Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco and Research Scientist at University of California Berkeley. A pioneer in the “Healthy Parks, Healthy People” initiative, Miller helped build linkages between our medical system and our park system. Her 2009 Washington Post article, “Take a Hike and Call Me in the Morning,” is widely credited with introducing “park prescriptions” into medical practice. Daphne is the author of two books: The Jungle Effect, The Science and Wisdom of Traditional Diets and Farmacology, Total Health from the Ground Up. She has written popular and scholarly articles; was a regular Contributor to the Washington Post; has been profiled in major publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, GuardianUK, the San Francisco Chronicle and Vogue Magazine; and has appeared in a number of documentaries.
Jarrett Murphy is the executive editor at City Limits, an award-winning policy news outlet that has covered New York since 1976, and the co-host of WBAI’s “Max and Murphy Show.” Before joining City Limits in 2007, he worked at the Hartford Advocate, CBS News and the Village Voice. A graduate of Fordham University who studied economics at the LSE and New School, Jarrett lives with his wife and two sons in the Norwood section of the Bronx, where he coaches youth baseball and is the bass player/lead singer of a rock/funk group called Fort Indy.
City Parks Alliance’s mission is to engage, educate, and nurture a broad-based constituency to support the creation, revitalization, and sustainability of parks and green spaces for more vibrant and equitable cities. Under Catherine Nagel’s leadership, CPA has recruited mayors to increase federal funding for urban parks, resulting in $100+ million for distressed communities. She has collaborated with RAND Corporation, Georgia Tech, and Urban Institute to advance park programming and funding strategies. She has also strengthened public-private park governance models, inspired new urban park organizations globally, as well as connected a range of leaders from government, community-based groups, cultural institutions, the business sector, and philanthropy.
Leslie Peoples is the Director of Landscape Architecture for Manhattan Capital Projects for NYC Parks. Her entire 36-year career has been focused on improving public space for New Yorkers. She had worked in the private sector for 30 years, with NYC Parks and other city and state agencies as clients. Her projects included the Fort Washington Park Master Plan, NYC Schoolyards to Playgrounds and the Bikeway Design Guidelines for Route 9A. Since coming to NYC Parks in 2013 she has managed a team of talented in-house Parks landscape architects and consultants designing a portfolio of new and reconstructed parks. The Manhattan Capital team’s projects vary in scale from the recently completed Chelsea Green which transformed a former Department of Sanitation parking lot and building into a new community park, to the coordination, with the NYC Department of Design and Construction and Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project.
Jeffrey Raven is a specialist in sustainable and resilient urban design. His research is applied in professional practice and disseminated throughout the profession, government and allied disciplines. Jeffrey’s professional practice focus is on US-international urban design projects and knowledge transfer. His publications include coordinating lead author of Climate Change and Cities; Planning and Design chapter (Cambridge University Press 2018); Shaping Resilient Cities in China, India and the United States (P. Lang 2014); and Climate Resilient Urban Design, Resilient Cities (Springer 2011). Jeffrey is also co-chair of the AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee.
Suchi Reddy, Founding Principal of Reddymade, established her architecture and design practice in 2002. “Form follows feeling” is Reddy’s mantra. Her primary focus is “neuroaesthetics”, the study of how minds and bodies respond to aesthetic experiences. Reddymade’s projects include large public installations, exhibit design, adaptive reuse of historic buildings, and commercial and residential projects. Reddy is a member of the Van Alen Institute Leadership Council and Board Member for the Design Trust for Public Space and Storefront for Art and Architecture. She is the fall 2019 Plym Distinguished Professor at the University of Illinois School of Architecture, Champaign–Urbana.
Eric W. Sanderson is a Senior Conservation Ecologist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Fellow at the New York Public Library, and adjunct faculty at New York and Columbia Universities. He is the author of the bestseller, Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, and also Terra Nova: The New World After Oil, Cars, and Suburbs, and editor of three other books, including the recently published, Prospects for Resilience: Insights from New York City’s Jamaica Bay, about climate resilience along an urban coastline. Sanderson is co-inventor of Visionmaker, an on-line ecological democracy forum for New York City. Sanderson earned a Ph.D. in Ecology and a B.A.S. in English and Biochemistry at the University of California, Davis. He is also an Eagle Scout.
Mitchell J. Silver became Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks in May 2014. Commissioner Silver is also a past president of the American Planning Association (APA). Mitchell is an award-winning planner with over 30 years of experience. He is internationally recognized for his leadership in the planning profession and his contributions to contemporary planning and urban design issues. Silver is fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners and honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). One of the nation’s most celebrated urban thinkers, in 2017 Commissioner Silver was elected to Planetizen’s list of the 100 Most Influential Urbanists in the World.
Joel Steinhaus is the Head of Strategic Relationships at WeWork. Previously he served as Chief of Staff to Citigroup’s Chairman, and as Senior Vice President for Global Public Affairs at Citi. He has been on the board of New Yorkers for Parks since 2013, where he became the board chair in October of 2014. Mr. Steinhaus has an MBA from the Yale School of Management, where he was a Sutphin Fellow and a member of the Yale World Fellows Program. He earned an AB, magna cum laude, in History from Harvard University.
Serving as New York State Director for The Trust for Public Land since 2017, Carter Strickland leads a team that protects open space and builds parks and playgrounds around New York. Under his leadership, The Trust for Public Land has tripled its development of parks within New York City; developed a programmatic, five-year strategic plan; launched a 175-mile trail across Long Island; and protected key landscapes around the Appalachian Trail and Long Path, a 357-mile New Jersey-New York long-distance hiking trail. Over a 25-year environmental career, Carter Strickland has worked in the public, private and non-profit sectors, including serving as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, where he created and implemented the NYC Green Infrastructure Plan and directed the agency’s response to Hurricane’s Irene and Sandy. He teaches at Columbia and NYU.
Julie Tighe was named President of NYLCV and NYLCVEF in 2018. Previously, she served eleven years at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in various roles, most recently as Assistant Commissioner of Intergovernmental and Legislative Affairs prior to her elevation to Chief of Staff. As DEC’s Chief of Staff, she has been instrumental to advancing the agency’s legislative priorities including reform of the State’s Brownfield Cleanup Program and a ten-year, $1 billion Superfund authorization. Ms. Tighe was a primary negotiator for the landmark $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act, the incorporation of the Climate Change program into New York’s historic $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, three successful Constitutional Amendments, and the most comprehensive electronics recycling law in the country. She has overseen DEC’s policy development, helped run the nearly 3,000 employee agency, and served as a key member of the organization’s leadership team.
Sarah Williams Goldhagen writes, lectures, and consults on Human Centered Design for architecture and landscapes, urban design and infrastructure – all the things that constitute our built environment. Author of the award-winning Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives, she sits on the advisory boards of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture and the Van Alen Institute. Goldhagen, a contributing editor at Architectural Record, was for many years the New Republic’s architecture critic, and taught for a decade at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Goldhagen lectures frequently and writes regularly for professional and general-interest publications.
Frank is the current President of CSCA, which champions and facilitates the holistic development of the Court Square neighborhood in LIC. CSCA is a firm believer in collaborating with other LIC stakeholders but at the same time is committed to ensuring Court Square has its own voice as it sits in a unique location relative to Manhattan, Hunters Point, and nearby Queens neighborhoods. CSCA is also involved with the Sunnyside Yards Steering Committee and was formerly on the Amazon Community Advisory Committee.
Elva Yañez, MS, is Director of Health Equity at the Prevention Institute, a national public health organization. Over the past 20 years, Elva has worked extensively on public policy initiatives emphasizing environmental approaches to prevention and health equity outcomes. She has applied her policy advocacy and systems change expertise to address park inequities, environmental impacts, land use and health disparities in Los Angeles’ underserved communities. Previously, her private consulting firm provided policy advocacy, strategic planning and communications services to clients in the areas of public policy, urban parks, public health, land use and the built environment. Early in her career, Elva worked on tobacco and alcohol policy issues at the local, state and national levels. Elva served on the California State Park and Recreation Commissioner from 2011 – 2019, as an appointee of Governor Jerry Brown.