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1.5 LU / 1.5 HSW

Solutions can be found when the barriers are understood. Typically untold perspectives will be brought forward to explore the challenges of and opportunities for social science research, and to inform design of the built environment for a more occupant-centric architectural landscape.

This panel will highlight key themes that emerged from the think tank dinner held at the Center for Architecture in March. The dinner convened thought leaders from across the building supply chain, from occupants to owner’s representatives and developers, researchers, practitioners, and the press. During the dinner, common themes emerged that will constitute the framework for this upcoming panel disucssion. 

As the AIANY Social Science and Architecture Committee enters its second year, understanding how, where, and why social science research happens has been an overarching theme. It is also critical to understand the reasons why social science research does not happen. This panel discussion will explore these reasons, along with what the barriers are to using research in architectural design. 

Debra Inwald, AIA, Founder and Principal, Works-in-Progress Associates 
Ethan Kent, Senior Vice President, Project for Public Spaces
Sydney Mainster, LEED AP, Sustainability Manager, The Durst Organization

Moderator: Margaret Newman, FAIA, LEED AP, BD+C, Associate Principal, ARUP

Debra Inwald, AIA
, is the founder and principal of Works-in-Progress Associates (WPA), a firm that provides comprehensive Owner’s Representative and Construction Management Services for both public and private nonprofit entities. WPA works closely with clients in a comprehensive team and strives to build consensus among all stakeholders to create a solid structure for effective decision making and project execution. Debra has worked has worked at nationally acclaimed architectural design firms and in the public sector at the Division of Design and Construction for the City of New York. She has sat on various boards throughout the city and is a common guest lecturer to nonprofit organizations undergoing capital development projects. Debra received her Master’s in Architecture from Columbia University and a B.S. in Architecture and a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Michigan.

Ethan Kent is Senior Vice President of Project for Public Spaces, working to support placemaking organizations, projects, and leadership around the world to build a global placemaking movement. During over 18 years at PPS, Ethan has traveled to more than 800 cities and 55 countries to advance the cause of placemaking and public spaces. Ethan has been integral to the development of placemaking as a transformative approach to economic development, environmentalism, transportation planning, governance, resilience, equity and design.

Sydney Mainster serves as Sustainability Manager for The Durst Organization. She brings 10 years of professional and academic Architecture and Design experience to her role. Her current passion is defining strategies to transform the building product industry and resultant material waste streams. From 2010-2013, she served as Adjunct Faculty and Director of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture Materials Resource Center. She moved to Austin, TX after earning a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 2010, and after spending the summer teaching design as an Architecture Studio Instructor for the GSD’s Career Discovery program. Between her undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley (BA in Architecture; Minor in Structural Engineering) and graduate school, she worked at a variety of construction industry-related jobs in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Boston, New York City, London, and Austin. She has professional experience working in Architecture, Structural Engineering, Construction, and as a Green Building Consultant to Texas and New York developers.

Margaret Newman is an Associate Principal at ARUP with the Integrated Planning team in New York with over 25 years of experience as an architect and urban planner. Working across the many disciplines of engineering and design, Ms. Newman is designing public realm projects that are not only strategic and economical, but also projects that prioritize people to better integrate planning and transportation into the fabric and context of cities. Prior to joining ARUP, Ms. Newman headed up her own consulting firm More Urban, advising on design, urban planning, and development projects and served as Executive Director of the Municipal Art Society of New York, advocating for excellence in all aspects of the built environment. Under Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Sadik-Khan, Ms. Newman served as Chief of Staff at the New York City Department of Transportation where she directed major agency projects including the capital construction plan for Times Square. She received a Master’s degree in Architecture from Princeton University, is a certified LEED AP, BD+C professional and a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

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