Reimagining Distinctive Downtowns in Connecticut’s Largest Cities
You'll learn about:
What has and hasn't worked in re-engineering cities into vibrant destinations, while competing for oxygen from much larger cities – in this case New York City, or more specifically, Manhattan
Useful lessons on how to sustainably deal with issues of affordability and social equity in these cities' ongoing efforts to revive their centers and redevelop their corridors to adapt to new patterns and attract new uses
The perspective of the developer in overcoming challenges in providing affordable, yet profitable, downtown mixed-use housing that meets market needs while providing below market housing opportunities to attract a wider range of residents in the downtown.
Three of the five largest cities in Connecticut, Stamford, Bridgeport, and Hartford, are both charming CT cities and commuter communities for professionals who work in New York City. As these three cities struggle with their relationship to their core (Manhattan), Stamford is within commuting orbit, Bridgeport is on the edge of the current region and is limited as rail service isn’t getting faster, and Hartford is a far satellite but is about to enter the orbit with the construction of the Hartford branch line. These three cities have related but differing challenges and opportunities to develop distinctive downtowns as both economic drivers and special places for residents, university faculty and students, and employees of major locally-based corporations. Reimagining energetic and livable downtowns requires including all of these diverse stakeholders in planning for jobs and business opportunities, inclusive housing, transportation, restaurants, stores, community organizations, and the arts. This panel of planners and developers will share their stories of how these three cities are doing it all downtown.
, State of Connecticut
Confirmed SpeakerDavid Kooris is the Director of Resilience at the Department of Housing for the State of Connecticut. In that role, he manages a $65M portfolio of HUD-funded, competitively awarded projects including local infrastructure, regional planning, and statewide policy for resilience. He manages the State Agencies Fostering Resilience (SAFR) Council established through gubernatorial executive order that brings together nine agencies, two universities, and the statewide municipal organization to institutionalize resilience in state policy. Prior to state service, Mr. Kooris was the Director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development for Bridgeport, Connecticut’s most populous city, where he oversaw ten departments covering the suite of land use functions. Prior to his city appointment, Mr. Kooris was the Vice President and Connecticut Director of Regional Plan Association, the nation’s oldest regional planning organization. He has worked on high-speed rail-oriented development, sustainability planning, and urban revitalization projects throughout the Northeast corridor as well as in Canada, Turkey, Morocco, Spain, Mexico, Peru, Taiwan, and South Korea. Mr. Kooris is a lecturer at Yale University’s Graduate School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in city and regional planning practice. He is an elected member of the City of Stamford’s Board of Finance.
, Port Jefferson
Confirmed SpeakerDavid W. Woods, PhD, AICP has over twenty-five years of leadership experience as a public servant, non-profit organization leader, and consultant in private practice in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and other parts of the country. His academic background includes advanced degrees in urban planning, urban sociology, and public administration. Throughout his career, he has focused on providing intelligent and responsive leadership that effects change through clearly articulating the organization’s mission and vision, effectively managing fellow professionals through training and results-driven benchmarks, making the most of scarce resources, and building coalitions with all the stakeholders. For the last three years, David has served I currently serve as the Deputy Director of Planning for the City of Stamford, CT, focusing on land use/transportation linkages especially focusing on reimagining Downtown Stamford and the adjacent South End. In addition, David served on the APA Board of Directors elected from Region 1 (2006-2010).
Confirmed SpeakerJamie Brätt, AICP, LEED AP, serves as Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Hartford. She plays a key role in most of the commercial development projects throughout Connecticut's capital city, from maker spaces and medical campuses to boutique apartments and brownfield redevelopments. She also oversees a dedicated staff of ten industry specialists. With a decade of experience in the field, Jamie was most recently the Director of Economic & Community Development of Trumbull, CT, and previously worked for a Washington, D.C.-based business improvement district and for a boutique commercial real estate development firm. She studied Economics at Trinity College and Urban Planning at Virginia Tech. Jamie has a track record of forging collaborative partnerships with the private sector and instituting a culture of concierge-level service among her staff. Jamie serves on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Main Street Center and the Hartford Business Improvement District, as well as the Executive Committee of Riverfront Recapture. In her free time, Jamie enjoys discovering downtowns large and small. She also attends many theater productions with her husband, who is a professional freelance stage director. Jamie’s smart-growth evangelism is closely tied to her love of the woods and wide open spaces. In particular, she is an endurance horseback riding aficionado.
, Jonathan Rose Companies
Confirmed SpeakerCaroline Vary joined Jonathan Rose Companies in 2007 and has over 20 years of experience in the construction and real estate industries. She is currently the Managing Director of Asset Management for Jonathan Rose Companies and is responsible for 4.5 million sf. of commercial and residential properties, including new construction and green retrofits. Ms. Vary is also Director of the Connecticut office and has overseen the decade long development of Metro Green adjacent to the Stamford Transportation Center. Under the direction of Ms. Vary, Jonathan Rose Companies received the E.P.A’s Environmental Merit Award for Outstanding Achievements in Preserving New England’s environment. Ms. Vary holds a BARCH in Architecture and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She holds Broker’s Licenses in NY and CT, and is a founding member of the Stamford2030 District.