Charles Birnbaum likes what he sees as he surveys the state of urban parks. He characterized some of his current favorites, which he called “new,” “radical,” even “revolutionary,” in a recent article for the Huffington Post. We are experiencing a heyday for parks, he contends, because of forward thinking officials, savvy and resourceful advocates and supporters, and heightened public interest and involvement. Read “Urban Parks: From Dumping Grounds to Centers of Energy.”
The City of Newark is recruiting a Chief Sustainability Officer who will work closely with an interdepartmental Sustainability Team drawn from key city departments, the Newark Environmental Commission, community partners, and businesses. The team is charged with achieving a healthier, greener Newark in all five wards. The Sustainability Team will build on the framework of the Newark Sustainability Action Plan, guided by principles of environmental and social justice, to ensure all members of the community benefit from the city’s progress.
Doebele Fellow Andrew Quinche (MUP/MLA 2019) is getting an immersion education in how governmental agencies work and collaborate. Plus he has the satisfaction of knowing his research will contribute to shaping the input from two agencies–the DC Office of Planning and the Department of Transportation–into the process of updating and revising District of Columbia building code regulations. Read his blog post for the Community Service Fellowship Program.
The 46th Loeb Fellowship year was marked by important milestones, not least of which was a changing of the guard. In 2015, the Loeb Fellowship welcomed John Peterson, LF ’06, as its new curator. Peterson, the founder of Public Architecture, has played a significant role in defining the concept of “public interest design” and integrating philanthropy with social innovation and design. He introduced his vision of equity, sustainability, and social justice at the Loeb Fellowship 45th Anniversary Celebration and Alumni Reunion in Boston last October, attended by over 190 Loeb alumni. Keynotes by Swoon and Michael Kimmelman drew overflow audiences.
It was also a stellar year for learning and achievements by the 2015-16 Loebs. read more
When journalist Patti Brown (LF ’10) covered the annual cross border musical event called Fandango Fronterizo in San Diego and Tijuana, her Loeb connection with Jim Brown (LF ’09) and his wife Isabel netted her a place to stay and an insider’s view of Friendship Park. That’s the Newspeak name for the space around the border fence–which Jim Brown has been working to make into a true bi-national park–where the fandango takes place. Patti Brown wrote that the event was “a heady mix of joyful fiesta and sober political statement.” Read her article, “Sharing Music Across the U.S.-Mexico Border’s Metal Fence.”
Doebele Fellow Andres Quinche (MUP/MLA ’19) is walking the streets of Washington, DC, as part of his work with the DC Office of Planning this summer on two meaningful research projects. His update on his activities is in the Harvard GSD Community Service Fellowship blog, where you can read reports by the other Doebele Fellows as well. read more
Ten years ago, Aaron Naparstek (LF ’12), along with Mark Gorton and videographer Clarence Eckerson, set about to shake up the status quo that privileged motor vehicles over every other form of transportation and put pedestrians and bikers at risk daily on the streets of NYC. Their secret weapons were Streetsblog–a readable, no-punches-pulled dive into facts and data–and Streetfilms, which together introduced a new vision of ownership for the streets.
Charlotte Leib has looked forward to her Doebele Community Service Fellowship as an opportunity to get her hands dirty and help other urban dwellers do the same. She reports on her experiences working with Barbara Knecht (LF ’93) this summer to develop a design manual for the Urban Farming Institute in Boston. read more
Deanna Van Buren (LF '13) and her business partner Kyle Rawlins have been awarded an Echoing Green Fellowship for their organization Designing Justice + Designing Spaces. They launched the architecture and real estate development practice to redress equities in the built environment, focussing on restorative justice, education, and workforce development programs. read more
When he launched the UN rooftop garden in 2015, Arif Khan (LF ’16), demonstrated how a simple idea and a relatively small intervention could have large ramifications in setting “an example for urban land stewardship in the heart of Manhattan.” See how his garden has grown.