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1.5 LU

Societal attitudes toward public spaces have long been plagued by binary thinking: is this space good or bad, safe or seedy, masculine or feminine? These reductionist framings often create inequalities, impacting access to resources and funding and perpetuating stigma. Today, too many people still find themselves marginalized due to the enduring legacy of oppressive forces that have shaped public spaces. Inclusive design offers a powerful tool for disrupting these patterns in the context of gender identity and expressions of sexuality, shifting structures and systems from exclusionary and disengaging to welcoming and even celebratory of diversity.

This event will examine the role architecture and design can play in creating more just public spaces for everyone by leveraging data, research, and informed collaboration. Our discussion will dive into the following questions:

  • At what point does public space become hostile to certain gender and sexual identities?
  • How can reviewing existing data help us to understand gaps and opportunities around advocating for positive change?
  • What must happen behind the scenes and via educational initiatives to move this work forward and push for more equitable and inclusive public spaces?

Brittni Collins, Assistant Director, Times Square Arts
Jennifer Gardner, Design Strategist, The Lab at OPM
Victor Gonzalez, Vice President, AIAS at the University of Colorado Boulder
A.L. Hu, AIA, NCARB, NOMA, EcoDistricts AP, Design Initiatives Manager, Ascendant Neighborhood Development
Amy Rosen, Sociospatial Designer, Plastarc

About the Speakers:

Brittni Collins graduated with a degree in Economics from Emory University before studying the intersections of art history and visual culture at Columbia University. Currently, she’s the Assistant Director of Times Square Arts and runs the Virtual MacDowell program at MacDowell. Previously, she managed artists services and award funding at Creative Capital and produced an annual festival celebrating street art and public space with Living Walls in Atlanta. She also serves on the board of Burnaway, an Atlanta-based publication of contemporary art and criticism from the American South.

Jennifer Gardner is an urbanist and civic designer whose work promotes equity and opportunity through human-centered design and policy. Gardner’s career has focused on the ways the built environment and public policy affect quality of life, particularly the health and sustainability of communities and cities. Gardner works as a design strategist at the Lab at OPM, an interdisciplinary team of consultant designers supporting federal government organizations to transform their programs, processes, and people through human-centered design. Gardner has an MS in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and a BA in English Literature from Cornell University.

Victor Gonzalez is an emerging Mexican architecture professional currently practicing in Denver, Colorado. He dedicates his work towards questioning the political and historical, imperatives of architecture by incorporating non-westernized identities and ideas into his work. Currently serving on the AIA Colorado J.E.D.I. Committee and as the executive chair for the national AIAS J.E.D.I. Taskforce, he advocates for a more equitable and inclusive profession.

A.L. Hu is a queer, nonbinary transgender Taiwanese-American architect, organizer, and facilitator who lives and works in New York City. Their interdisciplinary practice synthesizes organizing for racial, class, and gender justice with design; rethinks the architect’s role in facilitating accessible spaces; and manifests in design, visual media, and collaborative cultural work. Hu was a 2019-2021 Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow and they are currently Design Initiatives Manager at Ascendant Neighborhood Development in East Harlem. They are a member of as well as a conduit connecting many organizations, including Design as Protest, Dark Matter University, NCARB, and AIA New York. Hu writes the not-so-regular Queer Agenda newsletter, and provides brainpower and energy for Queeries, an ongoing community-building initiative for and by LGBTQIA+ architects and designers. They received a Master of Architecture from Columbia University GSAPP.

Amy Rosen applies integrated design methodologies to everything they do—seeking opportunities to tie architecture into systematic and fluid urban networks. Rosen is an advocate for the power of design to inspire, to unify, and to heal. Using their architectural education as a backbone, Rosen incorporates equity and social sustainability into their design process. Amy further leverages a passion for data, research, difference, and experimentation in order to unveil innovative design strategies that empower users and ensure a more resilient future.

This event is offered virtually; you will receive an email with a Zoom link to access the program.

Organized by
AIANY Social Science and Architecture Committee
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