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New York City Skyline
New York City Skyline. Photo: Pratt Center for Climate Adaptation.
4/26/24, 9:30am - 12pm
Center for Architecture
1.5 LU / 1.5 HSW

As the city works to manage the worst impacts of flooding from sea and sky, an important awareness is beginning to settle in: we will not be able to floodproof the entire city and, in many places, must learn to live with water. But what does living with water really mean? A panel of experts will explore this concept, looking at approaches from around the world, and right here in New York City, all in context with the city’s approach to managing flooding.

David Erdman, Director, Center for Climate Adaptation, Pratt Institute School of Architecture
Laurian Farrell, Deputy Commissioner for Coastal Resilience, NYC DEP, Bureau of Coastal Resilience
Douglas McPherson, Interim Manager, ReAL Edgemere
Clifford S. Jones III, Chief, Planning Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), New York District

Elissaveta M. Brandon,
 Design Writer

About the Speakers:
David Erdman is the founding director of Pratt’s newly anointed Center for Climate Adaptation where he is involved in the development of research-based studies and pilot projects in NYC, SE Asia and South America alongside partners in each region. The Center for Climate Adaptation has overseen several significant events including (but not limited to) side events for the 2023 UN Water Conference (NYC), has registered water action commitments with the UN and has co-developed and co-led cross cutting workshops related to climate adaptation in NYC, Singapore and Chile. In parallel to his role as Director of CCA, he serves as one of the key representatives responsible for Pratt in their ongoing role as Core Partner of the New York Climate Exchange located on Governors Island; a first-of-its-kind institution awarded via competitive multimillion dollar RFP in Spring 2023. Prior to assuming the role as Director of CCA, Erdman was the Chairperson of Pratt’s Graduate Architecture and Urban Design from 2016-2023 where he oversaw a transformative period in one of the most dynamic departments on Pratt’s campus. In addition to Pratt, Erdman has taught and held various leadership roles at UCLA, the University of Hong Kong and held visiting positions at various universities including Yale, UC Berkeley and Rice University. He has lectured throughout Asia, North America and Europe with individual keynotes delivered in Australia, Central and South America.

Laurian Farrell is the Deputy Commissioner for the Bureau of Coastal Resilience at the City of New York—a new bureau tasked with leading the coastal resilience efforts for NYC’s 520-mile shoreline. She has worked in the private, public, and philanthropic sectors for more than 20 years. She is a water resources engineer with a master’s in landscape architecture and centers equity in her practice. After a few years as a stormwater engineer at Marshall Macklin Monaghan (now WSP) in Toronto, Farrell spent 12 years at the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), a watershed-focused regulatory authority serving the Greater Toronto Area. At TRCA, she led the Flood Management & Infrastructure Program and sought ways to plan for and protect against flood risks more effectively. For the City of Brampton, Ontario, Farrell was the Senior Manager of the Environment Department, and was responsible for climate adaptation planning, stormwater management and the project management of The Riverwalk, a flagship downtown revitalization and flood mitigation project. In 2019, Farrell moved to New York City to join the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities. She worked most recently as a Global Director, Knowledge Transformation at the Resilient Cities Network, where she developed a deep understanding of the challenges facing ultra-urban coastal cities worldwide.

Douglas McPherson is an urban planner from Queens, NY, currently serving as Interim Manager of the ReAL Edgemere Community Land Trust. Over the past 15 years, he has worked to expand opportunities for affordable housing, address inequities in open space access, and improve community health. McPherson earned his BA at the University of Pennsylvania and his master's in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

As Chief of Planning at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), Clifford Jones leads the work of the New York District, which is responsible for the Corps’ water resource development, navigation, and regulatory activities in northeastern New Jersey, eastern and south-central New York State, including the New York Harbor and Long Island, and parts of Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The Planning Division is responsible for preparation of decision documents for water resource studies, including plan formulation, economics, and environmental analyses. His career with the Corps extends over 35 years, primarily in the North Atlantic and the New York District. He has a great familiarity with this region as well as the planning process. Jones holds a BS degree in Ocean Engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology. He has received many awards for his outstanding contributions including a Civilian Award for Humanitarian Service for his contributions in recovery and improved resiliency in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and the Federal Executive Board Award for Employee of the Year for NYC for contributions in Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

Elissaveta M. Brandon is an independent design writer based in Brooklyn. Her writing has appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Conde Nast Traveler, and other publications.

Please note: Guests accessing the livestream will NOT be eligible for CES credits. Watch the livestream here.

Organized by
AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee; Regional Plan Association (RPA)
New York City Skyline
New York City Skyline. Photo: Pratt Center for Climate Adaptation.
4/26/24, 9:30am - 12pm
Center for Architecture
Group 6 Created with Sketch.


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