Community Parks Initiative: Improving Park Equity
You'll learn about:
The implementation of a $285 million parks equity initiative that leverages resources from a variety of partners and spans across communities with diverse needs
The data-driven methodology behind the development of this multi-million dollar project
How NYC Parks is collecting key metrics to demonstrate the project’s impact, gain a deeper understanding of the parks system, and anticipate future needs
How park designers are using extensive public outreach strategies to create more accessible parks
New York is famous for its destination parks such as Central Park or the High Line. But it’s the city’s neighborhood parks that most influence residents’ daily lives.
After decades of disinvestment in public space, however, many of these neighborhood parks had fallen into disrepair and ceased to meet the needs of their surrounding communities. In response, NYC Parks launched the Community Parks Initiative (CPI), a data-driven, interdisciplinary approach to reimagine parks in the city’s poorest, densest, and fastest-growing neighborhoods. Since the program’s 2014 inception, NYC Parks has utilized an extensive (and inclusive) public outreach process to engage 2,100 community stakeholders in the redesign and reconstruction of 47 parks.
This session addresses the challenges and opportunities planners faced in creating an equitable parks system and the interdisciplinary methods they employed to enhance accessibility and encourage broader usership of parks this dynamic city. It also looks at how NYC Parks built a framework for the sustained care of parks in CPI neighborhoods and leveraged public and private resources to address park equity through a sweeping, coordinated process that has catalyzed parks equity programs in several other major cities.
, New York City Council
, New York
Confirmed SpeakerMark Levine is a New York City Council Member representing the 7th District in Northern Manhattan. He is a progressive policy leader on housing, education, economic justice, transportation, environmentalism, and more. He chairs the City Council’s Committee on Parks and Recreation, where he is pushing for greater equity for parks in New York’s low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. He is also a leading voice on affordable housing issues, including the fight to get legal representation for all tenants in housing court. As chair of the City Council’s Jewish Caucus, he is focused on combating Jewish poverty in New York City and fostering inter-group relations.
, NYC Parks
, New York
Confirmed SpeakerAlyssa is the Assistant Commissioner for Planning and Development at NYC Parks, overseeing the Planning, Parklands, Revenue, Marinas, Operations and Management Planning and Audit departments. Her division guides agency decisions with respect to the development of the City’s park system to meet the recreational, social and environmental needs of New York City. In this role, she has spearheaded the creation and implementation of major initiatives, including the Community Parks Initiative, a $285 million framework for investing in under-resourced small parks across the City; Parks Without Borders, a program that opens the boundaries of parks to be inclusive of all New Yorkers; Anchor Parks, a $150 million program for investing in large parks across the city; and Walk to a Park, making progress to get 85% of New Yorkers within a walk to a park. She is responsible for Parks' real estate portfolio, and represents the agency in complex development projects and land use transactions, as well as directing over 400 park concessions under the Revenue division. She has expanded Parks engagement on waterfront, marinas and coastal projects, including developing Parks’ first systematic waterfront inspection and planning program, and guiding Parks’ role in climate change. Prior to working at Parks, Alyssa was an Executive Vice President at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, where she directed the Planning, Development and Transportation Divisions. During her tenure at NYCEDC, she successfully led a diverse set of waterfront, neighborhood development, transportation, open space and real estate projects. Her work includes the creation of the South Bronx Greenway and West Harlem Piers, unlocking the redevelopment of the Seward Park lots on the Lower East Side, facilitation of Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus expansion, sustaining and growing the East River Ferry service, initiating the City’s first wetland mitigation bank, and advancing strategies that promote economic development. Alyssa received an undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and a graduate degree in Urban Planning from Columbia University.
Confirmed SpeakerSusannah C. Drake is the founding principal of DLANDstudio architecture + landscape architecture pllc. The firm, winner of the 2014 AIA New Practices New York Award, has received city, state, and national AIA and ASLA awards. In 2013, Susannah was awarded the AIA Young Architects Award and Fellowship in the ASLA, and was recognized as an Architectural League Emerging Voice. She has received numerous grants and awards for adapting infrastructure corridors for storm water capture, climate resilience and park creation. Susannah is the former President and Trustee of the NYASLA and former Trustee of the Van Alen Institute. She lectures globally about resilient urban infrastructure, and has taught courses at The Cooper Union, Harvard University, Syracuse University, Washington University in St. Louis, Florida International University, The City College of New York, and Illinois Institute of Technology. Susannah delivered the keynote addresses at the 18th Congress of the International Union of Women Architects in Blacksburg, VA in 2015, and at the XXV International Union of Architects World Congress in Durban, South Africa in 2014. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. DLANDstudio’s recent projects include QueensWay, MoMA Rising Currents, BQGreen, and Gowanus Canal Sponge Park™. Susannah received a BA from Dartmouth College and MArch and MLA from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She is a registered architect and a registered landscape architect.
Confirmed SpeakerMitchell Silver is the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks. Mitchell is also the immediate 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 issues. As Parks Commissioner, Mitchell oversees management, planning and operations of 30,000 acres of parkland. As Parks Commissioner, Silver developed the Community Parks Initiative to build a more equitable parks system, Parks Without Borders to create a more seamless public realm and Anchor Parks program to make old parks new again. Prior to returning to his native New York City, he served as the Chief Planning & Development Officer and Planning Director for Raleigh, NC. In Raleigh, he led the comprehensive plan update process and a rewriting of the development code to create a vibrant 21st century city. In 2014 he was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Planning Association and in 2017 he was made an honorary member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). In 2017, Commissioner Silver was elected to Planetizen’s list of the 100 Most Influential Urbanists.