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1.5 LU / 1.5 HSW

Every community should have an opportunity to develop a collective vision to shape its future. Often, the process of urban redevelopment can be polarizing, with community stakeholders and private developers entrenched in opposition and design professionals acting as an ally to one or as a mediator between both. Bridging the Divide reveals a better model, one where invested, long-term community stakeholders, private developers, and design professionals work collaboratively towards a common vision for their built environment with lasting impacts on the economic stability and social cohesion of neighborhoods.

Spanning eight city blocks on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Essex Crossing is among the largest redevelopment projects ever attempted in New York City. Building Socially Sustainable Communities presents a new vision for creating sustainable urban neighborhoods and invites design professionals to use the partnership model established at Essex Crossing as a tool for enacting positive change within their own communities. Through a film screening and panel discussion, the program will explore the fifty-year evolution of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) and the realization of Essex Crossing to illustrate how a unique collaboration between community groups and seven development partners was leveraged to create an equitable and inclusive model for mixed-income housing while facilitating a more socially responsible approach to commercial development and honoring the cultural heritage of the neighborhood through the extension of its landmark marketplace.

Katie Archer,
 Director of Community Relations, Delancey Street Associates (DSA) / L&M Development Partners
Gary Handel, FAIA, Managing Partner, Handel Architects
Dana Getman, AIA, Principal, SHoP Architects
Colleen J. Wenke, President and Chief Operating Officer, Taconic Partners
Gigi Li, Vice President in Government & Community Affairs, NYC Economic Development Corporation

Jason Ivaliotis, AIA, Associate, Woods Bagot

Andrea Lamberti, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, NCARB,
2022 President, AIANY; Partner, Rafael Viñoly

About the Speakers:

Katie Archer is the Director of Community Relations for Delancey Street Associates (DSA), where she manages community engagement efforts for Essex Crossing, working closely with key community leaders, city agencies, and elected officials to create awareness of the project. Archer facilitated the workforce development and training programs at Essex, helped support non-profits and local community groups on a variety of initiatives, and oversaw DSA’s compliance program to create contract opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs). In addition to Essex Crossing, Archer manages workforce programs and community-based initiatives for L+M Development Partners in the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan. Before joining DSA, Archer led programming and marketing initiatives to support the small businesses of the Lower East Side Business Improvement District. Archer holds a BA from Boston University.

Gary Handel is the founder and Managing Partner of Handel Architects. Since starting the practice in 1994, Handel has overseen its growth to a firm of over 200 architects, designers, and planners around the world. His designs have been recognized by AIA, the Urban Land Institute, the Society of American Registered Architects, and the Chicago Athenaeum, among others. Handel leads the firm’s direction by emphasizing enriching the urban environment and improving the lives of people through design. He is a leader in sustainable building strategies, and recent work includes some of the largest and tallest Passive House buildings in the world. Handel makes significant pro bono contributions to local urbanism, including supporting non-profits and community-serving organizations in the cities where he works. He serves as a Founding Board Member of Friends of the High Line, as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Handel’s work has appeared in numerous publications nationally and internationally, and he has lectured extensively on how architecture can work to create positive urban and social change.

Dana Getman is a Principal at SHoP Architects, where she has led many notable SHoP projects including Essex Crossing in the Lower East Side, the Steinway Tower in midtown, and the Syracuse University National Veteran’s Resource Center. She has a particular expertise in and passion for community-centered architecture, collaborating with clients, institutional groups, and local stakeholders as part of the design process. Her current projects include a mass timber office and residential complex in Los Angeles, a new consulate in Milan for the U.S. Department of State, and a gateway office tower in Hudson Square. Getman holds a Master of Architecture from Yale University, where she received the Winchester Fellowship and the Feldman design award, and holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University. In addition to teaching design studios at Cornell, Yale, and Columbia, she is the chair of the Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Urban Land Institute, a member of the ULI University Development & Innovation Council, and a member of the Urban Planning Committee at the Municipal Art Society.

Colleen Wenke leads Taconic’s Development and Construction practice. She manages all aspects of development, including strategic planning, zoning and entitlements, predevelopment, project budgeting, design management, construction oversight, procurement, risk management and insurance, community relations, branding, and marketing through sale or lease-up. Since joining Taconic in 2000, Wenke has planned and overseen both ground-up and restoration projects in the commercial, residential and mixed-use sectors, totaling over seven million square feet of commercial space and 1,500 units of housing. In addition, Wenke leads Taconic’s development advisory business, which focuses on key partnerships for client-led development and construction projects. Wenke received a Bachelor of Arts degree magna cum laude in psychology from Boston College and earned a Master of Science degree in real estate development and finance from NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate. Wenke is an active member of ULI’s Program Steering Committee, NYPEN, Professional Women in Construction, and sits on the Fordham Real Estate Executive Advisory Council.

Gigi Li currently serves as a Vice President in Government & Community Affairs at the NYC Economic Development Corporation. In this role, she oversees engagement and outreach on projects in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Lower Manhattan. From 2018-2020, Li worked for NYC Council Member Margaret Chin, serving as her Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff. She has worked on projects such as 250 Water, the Borough-Based Jails initiative, and the rezoning of Governor’s Island and Noho/SoHo. Prior to becoming a civil servant, LI worked for a decade at Neighborhood Family Services Coalition. Her primary responsibility was directing the Coalition’s work in youth development and afterschool services, where she was instrumental to the implementation of Mayor de Blasio’s UPKNYC and Community Schools initiative. In 2009, Li was appointed to Manhattan’s Community Board 3 (CB 3) and was elected to serve as board chair in June 2012. As chair of CB 3, Li focused on community-based planning (Essex Crossing being a key project), and addressing recovery and resiliency challenges after Superstorm Sandy. Li holds a MSSW with a focus on policy from Columbia’s School of Social Work, and a BS in Psychology from Smith College.

Jason Ivaliotis is an Associate at Woods Bagot where he serves as Project Manager and lead designer for a diverse range of projects. Over the last fifteen years. Ivaliotis’ professional experiences have included large-scale urban projects, high-rise multifamily residences, and mixed-use commercial and residential developments. Prior to joining Woods Bagot, Ivaliotis was a Senior Associate and Project Director for Handel Architects, where he managed the design and construction for The Essex and The Artisan at Essex Crossing. Ivaliotis holds a Master of Architecture from Columbia University, where he graduated with an Honor Award for Excellence in Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Miami University. He has served as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Architecture at Columbia University GSAPP and as a Lecturer in Architecture at Parsons School of Design. Ivaliotis’ professional work and academic research has been published internationally and he has participated in numerous events focusing on how contemporary advancements in digital technology and socially sustainable design strategies are shaping the built environment.

This event is offered in person; proof of complete COVID-19 vaccination (for attendees ages 5 and up) with photo ID for adults is required to attend. Food and beverages will be served. Face masks are required for visitors ages 2-5, and optional for those vaccinated. Read our full Health and Safety Protocol here.

Organized by
AIANY Planning and Urban Design Committee
  • Sponsor
    • Architect's Newspaper Logo
  • Supporter

    Jason Ivaliotis, AIA, Associate, Woods Bagot

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