This is a closed event, but we will live-stream some of the talks on our Instagram page.
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Building Resilient Communities
How our cities fare under environmental, social, or political stress is a measure of their resilience and ability to protect and support individuals and communities. Whilst resilience in urbanism usually refers to how built infrastructure can cope with natural disasters and climate change, Day 1 of the Conscious Cities Festival will focus on the resilience of the city’s social fabric.
How can we design cities to promote social cohesion that not only ensures communities thrive through challenges, but also that individuals aren’t left behind? The day’s events will propose paths forward through case studies and the development of science-informed architecture, urban design, and decision making.
Designers, community planners and organizers, advocates and activists, decision- and policy-makers, and behavioral scientists will present forward-thinking approaches to share knowledge and problem-solve in this festival workshop.
- Create a dialogue between researchers, practitioners, community planners and decision-makers reaching practical applications for impact-driven design.
- Establish a Community of Practice focused on each festival thematic which activates and sets up engagement into the future.
- Create outputs from each session that can act as both a resource and a catalyst for action within city agencies.
We will be joined by representatives of New York’s City Hall and other city agencies interested in the latest innovation in planning and engagement with local communities.
Questions & Answers
NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency
Kizzy Charles-Guzman is a Deputy Director at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, leading efforts to strengthen neighborhoods, community organizations, small businesses, and social infrastructure so that they are ready to withstand and emerge stronger from the impacts of climate change.
Kizzy engages in citywide sustainability and resiliency planning efforts to ensure that social, public health and environmental justice priorities are integrated into adaptation plans and environmental policies. She led the development of Cool Neighborhoods NYC, the City’s first comprehensive strategy to address the impacts of rising temperatures and heat waves. She received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Quality Award, and a Champion of Change Award from the U.S. White House in recognition of her work. She is a graduate of Carleton College and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
NYU’s College of Global Public Health
Dr. David Abramson is a Clinical Associate Professor at NYU’s College of Global Public Health and the director of the research program on Population Impact, Recovery and Resilience (PiR2). His research employs a social ecological framework to examine the health consequences of disasters, individual and community resilience, and long-term recovery from acute collective stressors.
His work has focused on population health consequences, interactions of complex systems, and risk communication strategies associated with hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the Joplin tornado, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, H1N1, and Zika, among other natural, technological, and man-made disasters. Before joining NYU’s faculty, Dr. Abramson was the Deputy Director at Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute.
Andreas Tjeldflaat is a Norwegian architect and design engineer based in New York City. He is the director of Framlab, a New York City and Bergen-based social innovation studio, and has previously worked with leading design firms in Oslo, Copenhagen, Taipei, and New York City. In addition, Andreas has taught at institutions such as Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the New York Institute of Technology.
The School of Architecture, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT)
Gernot Riether is the Director of the School of Architecture and Associate Professor at the College of Architecture and Design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He also serves on the board of Directors at the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization (CSU), an NPO affiliated with UN Habitat and the U.N..
Riether’s research explores the relationship between public urban space and information technology. His research projects have been funded by the AIA, the Austrian government, NPOs such as MainX24, material fabricators, the construction industry and universities. Riether’s work is featured in many books on digital fabrication. He is the author of several book chapters and of more than 40 refereed papers and articles. His most recent book Urban Machines, Public Space in a Digital Culture, co-authored with Marcella Del Signore was published in 2019.
Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Alexandra Sanyal is pursuing her Masters in Design Studies in the field of Critical Conservation, at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Her work revolves around constructed narratives of heritage and investigates the tensions between progress and tradition and the union of urban identity, preservation, and politics in post-colonial countries, particularly India. She seeks to answer how, why, and under whose hegemony does historic preservation occur by scrutinizing conflicting institutions and ideologies of power. Largely, her research aims to understand socio-political arcs of cultural coexistence in Indian cities and beyond.
NJ Community Capital
Hanaa A. Hamdi, Ph.D., is currently the Direct of Health Impact Investment Strategies & Partnerships at NJ Community Capital. In this role, she directs the development and implementation of NJCC’s existing and emerging community health investment and development strategies with national, regional, and health-focused partners, supporting the organization’s holistic approach to neighborhood revitalization.
Most recently she served as the inaugural national Public Health Director at The Trust for Public Land, she where she directed park planning and design for healthy and inclusive communities. Dr. Hamdi is the former health commissioner for the City of Newark where she simultaneously oversaw the Departments of Public Health and Human Services, Social & Environmental Services, and served as the CEO of the Mary Eliza Mahoney Health Centers, the City’s co-affiliate community-based medical centers.
Acting Assistant Commissioner at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Takeesha White, LMSW Acting Assistant Commissioner of the bureau of Systems Partnerships, in the Center for Health Equity, at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Takeesha White has over 10 years of progressive experience, in public health education and mental health promotion and service delivery in national and international settings.
Takeesha has been an active participant in improving partnerships within the five boroughs to ensure health equity and healthier environments while naming racism as a root cause for poor health outcomes. She was also a leader in the design and strategic development of Mental Health By Design and the Founding Director of Friendship Benches NYC a non-traditional approach to closing treatment gaps by employing Peers as community mental health workers to deliver counseling at the neighborhood level. Ms. White led community connectivity and digital strategies for mental health promotion for Thrive NYC and behavioral health strategy development at the Center for Health Equity.
MIT Senseable City Lab, Technical University of Munich
Daniele Santucci is a practising architect, building scientist, and educator. His research expertise is in environmental engineering and sustainable design focusing on energy modelling, performance-driven design workflows and environmental sensing in both urban and architectural scale.
In his teaching activity as the Chair of Building Technology and Climate Responsive Design at the Technical University of Munich, which he started in 2012, he has given lectures and courses both in the Bachelor, Master and in the postgraduate Mastercourse ClimaDesign. Daniele is a member of the Architecture Research Incubator of the Faculty of Architecture of TUM and is Doctoral Candidate at the TUM Graduate School. Daniele has been appointed visiting researcher at the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice
Ifeoma Ebo is an urban designer and strategist who strives to be a catalyst for social justice and design activism while addressing challenges of the urban milieu. As the Director of Strategic Design Initiatives with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, she leads interagency design and built environment initiatives exploring the use of design to address public safety and social justice in marginalized communities across NYC.
She is an advising member of the NYC-based collective BlackSpace – a coalition of Black urban professionals focused on supporting Black communities in developing new tools for cultural preservation in the midst of gentrification. Ifeoma is a 2016 Forefront Fellow of the NYC Urban Design Forum and Next City Vanguard Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Masters in City Planning and Urban Design from MIT.
Alexis is Director of Health for Sidewalk Labs and is based in the Toronto office. Before joining Sidewalk, Alexis worked at MaRS, North America’s largest urban innovation hub, where she lead the Centre for Impact Investing’s health practice and supported the Health Systems Innovation team. Alexis also has experience working as a management consultant in North America and the UK, a civil servant with the National Health Service in England, and an entrepreneur where she was focused on workplace health and well-being. Alexis is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and completed her MBA at London Business School, both with distinction. She is also a proud mother to three awesome kids.
Rebuild by Design
Amy Chester works to create solutions for complex issues at the nexus of urbanism, politics, design, and community engagement. She is the managing director of Rebuild by Design, bringing its collaborative research and design approach to address climate challenges in cities in the U.S. and around the world.
Chester worked for NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg where she was part of the team who created PlaNYC, the Mayor’s sustainability agenda, and as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Mayor for Legislative Affairs. Previously, Chester has worked at the NY City Council and more than a dozen electoral and issue-based campaigns, as well as working to build affordable housing to low income New Yorkers.
PlacemakingX, Project for Public Spaces
Ethan Kent works to support public space organizations, projects, and leadership around the world to build a global placemaking movement. Ethan has traveled to more than 900 cities and 60 countries to advance the cause of leading urban development with inclusive public spaces and placemaking. In 2019 he co-founded PlacemakingX to network, amplify, and accelerate placemaking leadership and impact globally. Ethan has been integral to the development of placemaking as a transformative approach to economic development, environmentalism, transportation planning, governance, resilience, social equity, design, digital space, and innovation.
Anvit is an aspiring social entrepreneur and passionate changemaker with 6 years of experience leading innovations for the greater good and empathizing with the stakeholders to design solutions for societal impact across industries- manufacturing, retail, healthcare, governments, and, non-profits. He has an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University with dual specializations in Healthcare Management and Enterprise Risk Management. He was a fellow at the City Government of Baltimore, worked at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and consulted a social entrepreneur in Rwanda, for an inventor at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and for the Children’s Center at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Ivan Shumkov is a New York based architect, entrepreneur, professor, scholar and curator. He is a pioneer in online education and founder of the BUILD ACADEMY, providing professional education for the building industry. He graduated with masters degrees from ETSA Barcelona, University of Florence, and Harvard University GSD, as a Fulbright scholar. He earned his PhD in Architecture in 2009 at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Columbia University GSAPP, as fellow of the Fondation Le Corbusier. Dr. Shumkov has taught at NYU, Harvard University GSD, Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Parsons the New School for Design, International University of Catalonia, and ETSA Barcelona.
He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard Alumni Association 2011-14 and as founding president of Harvard Architectural and Urban Society Alumni 2008-14. Dr. Shumkov is a licensed architect in Spain and Italy and principal of ISA – Ivan Shumkov Architects, a company working in the fields of architecture, urbanism, landscape and design with offices in New York. He has worked, lectured and exhibited his projects and research in Europe, Brazil, Colombia, China, and the USA.