Parks without Borders: Unifying the Public Realm
You'll learn about:
The planning and capital process needed to support an innovative approach to redesigning underutilized or untraditional areas of our parks and public realm
How to enhance community engagement in a citywide, multistep site selection process
The challenges, opportunities, and solutions for successful interagency collaboration in helping to create a more unified vision and understanding of the public realm
Learn basic principles for designing open, welcoming spaces that connect to their surroundings
The planning-related educational objective is to share and discuss the step by step process taken to breathe new life and opportunity into spaces that are closed off and disconnected from the communities they serve through better design. Acknowledging and enhancing these spaces is an important step in maximizing parks and public spaces in a city where these spaces are integral to everyday life.
Moderated by Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, NYC Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, this panel discussion will explore how the Parks Without Borders (PWB) program was created, the design, outreach and stakeholder collaboration challenges that were addressed, as well as the program’s next steps and how the these innovative design principles are being incorporated into other projects.
NYC Parks is the steward of nearly 30,000 acres of land, accounting for 14% of New York City. This percent skyrockets to 40% when combined with streets and sidewalks owned by NYC Department of Transportation. Parks Without Borders (PWB) is a new approach to park design focused on creating more open, welcoming, and beautiful open spaces, bolstered by a $50M capital campaign. The PWB program is a part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s OneNYC plan to create a strong and just city through programs supporting growth, sustainability, resiliency, and equity.
The PWB design approach works to unify park spaces with the neighborhoods they serve by making parks more welcoming, improving neighborhoods by extending the beauty of parks out into communities, and by transforming underused areas into vibrant community spaces. The approach has also placed an important new focus marrying how planning, funding and design opportunities can be better connected. Furthermore, PWB design approach focuses on nature, the use of perimeter and adjacent park spaces and aims to improve the overall feeling of these parks, through a more robust and strategic community engagement effort.
Over a three month comment period, NYC Parks asked park users where they wanted to see these types of improvements. New Yorkers responded with more than 6,100 nominations for 692 parks through online surveys and dozens of workshops and presentations. This city-wide public engagement helped NYC Parks choose eight parks with the right mix of community support, physical conditions and context as showcase projects to fully highlight the Parks Without Borders program.
As cities and communities continue to increase in density, this type of approach will become more important as the need for new “parks” in appropriate or traditional places becomes scarce. All cities will be looking beyond the borders of their current dedicated park land and trying to make their existing parks do more.
, NYC Parks
Confirmed SpeakerAs Deputy Chief for Design, Nancy guides the design aesthetic and vision for all projects completed in NYC Parks. She is responsible for establishing standards for excellence in design to ensure that projects are innovative, enduring, resilient and sustainable. Prior to becoming Deputy Chief for Design, Nancy held the rolls of Senior Designer for Queens and Manhattan Parks and served as lead designer on numerous award winning projects. Her work has been recognized with the Award for Excellence in Design from the NYC Art Commission, the Big Apple Brownfield Open Space award, the Silver Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, and New York Magazine’s Best Outdoor Playground. In addition, a number of her projects have been featured in prominent national landscape architecture magazines. Nancy is a Landscape Architect. She received a Masters in Urban Design from the City University Graduate Center and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelors of Art in Urban Studies from Concordia University in Montreal.
Confirmed SpeakerSean Quinn, Senior Director, NYCDOT Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Sean has over ten years of pedestrian and bicycle planning, design, and implementation experience in New York and New Jersey. Over the past nine years at NYC DOT he has worked on projects which redesigned city streets with an eye toward safety, mobility, and economic development. In his current role he oversees a staff of planners, engineers, and urban designers all working toward improving the bicycle and pedestrian network throughout the city as well as enhancing the public realm through the development of plazas and streetscape amenities. Sean graduated from the Bloustein School at Rutgers University in 2007 with a Master's degree in City and Regional Planning.
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.