This is a closed event, but we will live-stream some of the talks on our Instagram page.
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Family Friendly Cities
The push for child-friendly cities is a positive indicator towards inclusivity, but it is also a symptom of the decades of urban planning that has marginalized families to specific points in the city. In most urban areas raising a family can be a challenge to parents and children alike, what can we change to make the city supportive of growing families?
The day’s events will address with what needs to be done to create more inclusive environments in which families thrive and children experience healthy physical and mental development.
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
Chief Diversity and Equity Officer for the NYC Department of Social Services
Lawanna Kimbro serves as the Chief Diversity and Equity Officer for the NYC Department of Social Services. She has more than 18 years of leadership experience within social service agencies and nonprofit organizations aimed at improving the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities. Prior to her current role, she served as Chief Program Delivery Officer for the Department of Homeless Services, Deputy Commissioner for Outreach, Rehousing and Landlord Management at the Human Resources Administration and Chief Program Officer at the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. Before these roles in New York City government, Lawanna worked for the federal government in the Administration for Children and Families as the budget administrator for Family Violence Prevention Services and the Compassion Capital Fund. As a staff attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative, she focused on anti-poverty and anti-discrimination initiatives that challenge the legacy of racial inequality in our country, including major projects to educate communities about slavery, lynching and racial segregation.
Lawanna has a Master of Public Administration in public policy and nonprofit management and a Master of Arts in mental health counseling from New York University as well as a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center.
Project for Public Spaces
Nidhi is a trained architect and urban researcher with a specialization in civic engagement. Since 2012, she has applied her skills to transportation advocacy, placemaking, technical assistance, and education projects spread across 12 American States and 7 countries. She strongly believes in the sustained impact the built environment has on the personal and social lives of people that inhabit them. In that vein, she has dedicated her career to advancing design and planning practices that cultivate physical, social, and financial wellbeing for all citizens, especially children in marginalized communities.
She is a proud immigrant, lover of trains, and persistent pedestrian everywhere she goes.
International Arts + Mind Lab
Susan Magsamen is the founder and Executive Director of the International Arts + Mind Lab, a pioneering neuroaesthetics initiative from the Brain Science Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her body of work lies at the intersection of brain sciences and the arts—and how our unique response to aesthetic experiences can amplify human potential.
Magsamen is the author of the Impact Thinking model, an evidence-based research approach to accelerate how we use the arts to solve problems in health, well-being, and learning. She also serves as Senior Advisor to the Science of Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins University. An award-winning author, Magsamen has published seven books including The Classic Treasury of Childhood Wonder, The 10 Best of Everything Families, and Family Stories.
Environmental Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center
Reilly Bergin Wilson is a scholar and activist focused on urban environments in which children play. She is a research associate of the Children’s Environments Research Group at the Center for Human Environments and a doctoral candidate in Environmental Psychology at CUNY Graduate Center.
Through her research, Reilly has sought to understand the social production of environments built for play, using qualitative field methods and archival research. She is particularly interested in how play environments function as spaces through which competing social, economic, and political agendas are revealed.
Reilly was a co-founder and the former Board Chair of play:groundNYC, a nonprofit organization that advocates for children’s right to play through the production of playworker-run environments, including operation of the only adventure playground in New York City, The Yard.
Marnie Davidoff is the Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of Children, Youth and Families of the Division of Mental Hygiene (DMH) at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). The Bureau of Children, Youth and Families works to strengthen the mental health and social emotional well-being of children and youth in NYC through policy, planning, research, health prevention and promotion, and program development and oversight.
Since joining the Division of Mental Hygiene in 2004, she has also served as the Director of a Divisional Office of Policy and of the Office of Policy and Planning in the Bureau of Children, Youth and Families. Prior to joining the NYC DOHMH, Marnie worked at the International Rescue Committee, where she provided programmatic support to domestic and international programs for refugees. She also served as a Program Coordinator at the Program on Forced Migration and Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.
An expert in early childhood and creativity development, Dr. Hadani designs and evaluates products and environments that promote children’s curiosity and love of learning. As a fellow at the Brookings Institution, she leads the Playful Learning Landscapes project—an initiative that brings together the research and practice of two fields: developmental science and placemaking. Helen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science from the University of Rochester and a Doctorate in Psychology from Stanford University. She has more than 20 years of experience in research and education settings and has worked with toy, media and technology companies, including Disney, Sesame Workshop, Apple, LEGO, Fisher-Price and Mattel.
NACTO's Global Designing Cities Initiative, Streets for Kids
Annie works with the New York-based National Association of City Transportation Officials' Global Designing Cities Initiative. She focuses on Streets for Kids, a program that advances child-friendly street design through a forthcoming design guidebook, Designing Streets for Kids, and future technical assistance projects and trainings in several cities. Annie has previously lived and worked in Thailand, Rwanda, Denmark, and around the US. She holds a Master and Bachelor of Architecture from Tulane University.
Trust for Public Land
Tiffany works in partnership with school communities to foster stewardship and park activation in student-designed Trust for Public Land playgrounds. Her role includes leading stewardship and gardening programs, helping teachers connect curriculum to their playgrounds, supporting participatory design, and fostering park activation with community and programmatic partnerships. Before coming to TPL, Tiffany taught at The Brooklyn Urban Garden School and served as an educator at a variety of New York institutions including The Science Barge, The High Line, NYBG, BBG, and The Brooklyn Children’s Museum.
Tiffany holds an M.A. in Bioethics from NYU where she explored social and moral matters at the intersection of health and the environment.
Natalie Dabney is a Vice President at ideas42, a nonprofit design lab that uses insights from behavioral science to design low-cost solutions to complex social problems. She focuses on economic justice issues as well as international sexual and reproductive health. As part of her economic justice work, Natalie leads the New York City Behavioral Design Team (NYC BDT), a partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Operations that has completed over 20 projects aimed at improving outcomes for low-income New Yorkers. Her academic and work background is in rigorous evaluation, and she worked at Mathematica Policy Research for several years evaluating interventions in the fields of health, education, and labor. Natalie receive her BA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and her MPA from NYU’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service.