Priorities and Strategies for City Design

NPC17 attendee
APA member
List Price
Group viewing

You'll learn about: 

  • How design approaches to urban problems can provide new and interdisciplinary ways to develop and implement community and urban planning initiatives
  • Urban planning and design ideas that address large policy objectives while better relating to local neighborhood values and goals  
  • Strategies to manage and evaluate the public design process to achieve better outcomes and long-term success
  • How to promote excellence in design to improve the quality of the public realm and the quality of life in diverse contexts

Urban design has long been a vital part of urban planning, development, and revitalization. It has helped shape the neighborhoods, parks, civic centers, waterfronts, and countless other places that help cities function and articulate their unique identities. Yet physical design has also created some of the negative outcomes that we see in cities across the nation and world. By now planners, the public, and stakeholders in public and private sectors seem to understand that design matters.

Cities face many difficult issues—sustainability, safety and security, resiliency, health, and equity and social justice, among countless others. Learn how different policy, planning, and design disciplines—as well as stakeholders from the public, nonprofit, and private sectors—are working together to understand the role that the design of the city has in helping to address, or at least ameliorate, some of these urban challenges.

This "Public Design Dialogues" session will assemble leaders from three of America’s leading cities—New York, San Francisco, and Seattle—to share priorities and strategies for the design of their cities, explore the potential for an inclusive design and planning process, and better inform and shape the vitality and identity of our cities and the public realm.




About the Speakers

Neil Hrushowy
Neil Hrushowy is the Chief Urban Designer for the Planning Department in San Francisco, where he manages the City Design Group. The City Design Group provides urban design services for the City of San Francisco, combining the disciplines of city planning, architecture and landscape architecture. Its responsibilities include placemaking, design review, design innovation, urban design policy, and research, with a portfolio that ranges from the micro-scale of the Parklet to the neighborhood-wide scale of a public realm plan. Recent initiatives include two rounds of the Market Street Prototyping Festival, which brought a competitive, crowd-sourced design approach to San Francisco’s most important public space and in the process shared almost 80 design ideas with over 750,000 visitors. Under Neil’s leadership, the City Design Group has emphasized a human-focused design that begins with how people perceive and use public space. Their projects build upon innovative partnerships across public and private sectors to engage the broader community in redesigning public space through democratic processes, thereby inverting the traditional approach of top-down planning and replacing it with empowered citizens who generate the design ideas for the future of the city.

Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins is the Director of the Seattle Design Commission. The Seattle Design Commission provides design and aesthetic oversight of City funded or sponsored projects, or projects that impact the City's public realm. Michael joined the Seattle Design Commission after spending 7 years as a policy advisor for the Seattle City Council on land use and transportation policy and legislation. Prior to that, Michael spent 7 years working as a Senior Land Use Planner for the City of Seattle's Department of Planning and Development. Michael was responsible for reviewing and approving large scale residential and commerical development proposals in the City's downtown core. Michael also served as the City's representative for permitting and development issues for several hospitals and universities in Seattle, and to the City's historic district and preservation boards. Michael is also a recent past Board President of the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, a non-profit charged with advocating for the preservation of historic and cultural resources throughout Washington State.

Justin Moore
Justin Garrett Moore is an urban designer and the executive director of the New York City Public Design Commission. He has extensive experience in urban design and city planning—from large-scale urban systems, policies, and projects to grassroots and community-focused planning, design, and arts initiatives. At the Public Design Commission, his work is focused on prioritizing the quality and excellence of the public realm, and fostering accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in the City’s public buildings, spaces, and art. Justin is a former Senior Urban Designer for the NYC Department of City Planning where, for over a decade, he was responsible for conducting complex urban design plans and studies of the physical design and utilization of sites including infrastructure, public spaces, land use patterns and neighborhood character. His projects included the Greenpoint and Williamsburg Waterfront, Hunter’s Point South, the Coney Island Plan, and the Brooklyn Cultural District. He received degrees in both architecture and urban design from Columbia University’s GSAPP where he is now an Adjunct Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He is the co-founder of Urban Patch, a social enterprise based in Indianapolis that focuses on community revitalization in American inner cities and a member of the NYC-based collective BlackSpace. His professional affiliations include the American Planning Association, the Urban Design Forum, the Van Alen Institute, and Next City’s Vanguard. He also serves as a member of the American Planning Association’s AICP Commission, and on the boards of, Mary Miss—City as Living Laboratory, and Made in Brownsville.

Ethel Sheffer
Ethel Sheffer, FAICP She is Principal of Insight Associates, a consulting group which provides advice and research services in planning and land use, community organization and development, the public review process and collaborations among government, nonprofits and the private sector. She has completed numerous studies in diverse communities around New York City. Ethel Sheffer, FAICP served as President of the NY Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association from 2002-2008. She was named a National Fellow in 2012. Ethel Sheffer serves currently as a Commissioner on the New York City Public Design Commission. She is an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning at Columbia University and planning where she has supervised a variety of planning studios and taught courses in community participation and planning, disaster planning and recovery, and public space in the private realm. She is also a long time civic activist serving on community boards and in various civic organizations dealing with land use and service delivery.