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Building Equity

Our senior centers, police stations, libraries, and dozens of other public facilities are some of our most important shared spaces, as well as powerful physical and symbolic reminders of the role government plays in our everyday lives. How can designers, government officials, residents, and many other stakeholders ensure that these civic spaces truly serve everyone equally?

To approach this question, Van Alen Institute and a New York City agency organized a workshop on equity and city government, services, and spaces. The workshop focused on the cluster of public buildings around the Riverside Health Clinic near 103rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan.

The program was part of the larger Building Equity project to explore the potential for civic buildings and infrastructure to promote a more equitable society, and to develop a metrics framework to evaluate the performance of built projects through the lens of equity.

Participants: Drew Berner, head librarian, Bloomingdale Library; Ana Crenovich, parent coordinator, P.S. 163, Alfred E. Smith School; Julia Day, Gehl Architects; Susannah Drake, principal, DLANDstudio; Stephen Jones, 24th Precinct Community Affairs; Besiki Kutateladze, CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance; John McDonnell, detective, 24th Precinct Community Affairs; Gita Nandan, principal, Thread Collective; Kevin Quinn, chief of architecture & engineering, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation;  Joel Stillman, designer, Normal Number; Shirley Williams, president, 830 Amsterdam Avenue Tenant Association; Sarah Wolf, NYC Department of Health