The series “Advocacy and Agency in Architecture” will explore how current modalities of architectural education and practice have the potential for architects to act as advocates and agents for change within the field and in the greater community. We will collectively discuss how we can elevate the voices of marginalized communities, how we as architects can be a voice for just and fair working conditions, and how a new generation of architects can be taught to develop a voice that speaks for others and themselves. In the first event of the series, "Evolving Beyond Participatory Design,” guest panelists will share experiences from their design practices, specifically looking at projects that go beyond traditional participatory design processes.
The discussion will touch on topics such as:
- What does it mean for architects move beyond existing model of participatory design?
- How can we as practitioners integrate stakeholders into planning and development processes?
- What does a comprehensive design process that is inclusive of the community look like, beyond just pre-design?
- How do stakeholders and community members become integral team members through the life of a project?
We aim for participants to walk away with inspiring examples of how others are changing the landscape of practice and how they may integrate these ideas into their own firms.
Christine Gaspar, Community-engaged design practitioner
Alexa Gonzalez, Principal, Hive Public Space
Melissa Marsh, Founder & Executive Director, Plastarc
Cheriyah Wilmot, BARCH Honor Student, NYC College of Technology; President, NOMASNYCCT
About the Speakers:
Christine Gasper is a designer and planner with over 15 years of experience in community-engaged design practice. From 2009 to 2022, she was the Executive Director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a New York-based nonprofit whose mission is to use the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement in partnership with historically marginalized communities. Prior to that, she was Assistant Director of the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi, where she provided architectural design and community planning services to low-income communities of color recovering from Hurricane Katrina. She is a founding member of the Design Futures Student Leadership Forum Advisory Board, and holds Masters in Architecture and in Urban Planning from MIT, and Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from Brown University. Her work is driven by a belief that design can be a powerful tool, particularly when it’s used to support community-led visions for change.
Alexa Gonzalez is a Colombian-American urban designer, artist, and organizer. She is the Principal of Hive Public Space, an urban design and placemaking/placekeeping studio based in New York City. She has a decade of experience designing and transforming public spaces into socially and culturally inclusive environments. She believes in the power of public spaces and strives for her work to create memories and connections while evolving the identity and impact of each community. She received both a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design and holds a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University in New York. Gonzalez is the current Design Fellow at the Design Trust for Public Spaces and a core-organizer for Design as Protest.
Melissa Marsh is an expert in Workplace Strategy and a leader in change management services. She has defined a career in workplace innovation by embedding the added value of real estate strategy within design, architecture and master planning projects around the world. Working in both Europe and the US, Marsh has been on the forefront of delivering alternative workplace solutions, and has led virtual teams throughout her career. She has contributed to courses for CoreNet and Worktech, spearheaded international learning and technology initiatives, and lectured at UVA, Cornell and MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Cheriyah Wilmot is a fourth-year Bachelor of Architecture honors student at the New York City College of Technology. Her interests include adaptive reuse, sustainability, and affordable housing. With a 3.7 grade point average, her academic achievements include being selected as a Center for Architecture Common Bond scholarship recipient in 2022, a chosen speaker for the CUNY Research Scholars Program in 2018, achieving Dean’s List, and having academic work featured in NYCCT’s magazine, TECHNE. In Fall 2022, she founded NOMASNYCCT where she serves as President. Through the chapter she hopes to expand opportunities to students following her experience studying abroad in Germany. Outside of school, Wilmot spends her time long boarding to the gym, playing video games, finding new places to sketch, and volunteering at ALNY.
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AIANY Social Science and Architecture Committee