Joshua is a practicing architect and designer, concerned with investigating the psychological and sociological consequence of our environments. He attended Kansas State University, one of few public institutions offering studies in phenomenology (understanding space and perception relative to the human condition) as well as the intersection of urban design and philosophy. His graduate studies were broad, involving urban studies at local, regional, and global scales. He studied the potential for architecture to address economic health, proposing a knowledge economy as a sustainable model for wealth. Alongside urban studies, he investigated the intersection of neuroscience and architecture (resulting in a published article titled “The Things After the Physics," as well as a talk at the 2016 Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture conference). He is a regular design critic at the Fashion Institute of technology and acts as managing member of the communications committee.
Visual Arts & Planning
Dr. Sophonie M. Joseph is a visual artist and community planner. She uses conceptual photography and documentary filmmaking as tools to conduct visual sociology. Sophonie researches the diffusion of urbanism ideas into Haiti as a lens to analyze the decentralization and disaster planning context. Social equity informs a transformative worldview and involvement with grassroots initiatives in Haiti and the US. Her deep passion for justice stems from her background in working with and supporting vulnerable communities over the past decade. She currently sits on the board of BlackSpace, a Black urbanist collective of architects, planners, and artists, that strive for environments that recognize, affirm, and amplify Black agency, discourse and thought. Through her participation in parallel academic and professional spheres, she has built formidable skills in the realms of transnational planning, intersectional feminism, and environmental justice.
Daphne Lundi is a Deputy Director with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency. Prior to that she was an urban planner at the NYC Department of City Planning focused on climate resilience and neighborhood planning. She is the Vice Chair of APA New York Metro Chapter Diversity Committee where she organizes workshops to introduces NYC students to urban planning and design. She also serves as an Advisory Board Member for the Octavia Project, a science-fiction summer program for teen girls and non-binary youth that uses the lens of science fiction to explore computer science, engineering, writing, and design. She is a 2017 Urban Design Forum Forefront Fellow.
Justin Garrett Moore
Urban Design, Planning & Development
Justin Garrett Moore is a transdisciplinary designer and urbanist and is the program officer for the Humanities in Place program at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He has extensive planning and design experience—from regional and urban systems, policies, and projects to grassroots and community-focused planning, design, public realm, and arts initiatives. At the Mellon Foundation, his work focuses on advancing equity, inclusion, and social justice through place-based initiatives, built environments, cultural heritage projects, digital and ephemeral programs, and commemorative spaces and landscapes. He is also the co-founder of Urban Patch—a social enterprise focused on sustainable design and development in the United States and Rwanda.
Planning & Policy
As the Policy Director for North Carolina’s Department of Transportation (NCDOT), Aldea is responsible for improving strategic initiatives and planning processes that impact transportation divisions within the agency. Aldeajoined NCDOT after more than 18 years of transportation and urban planning work in communities throughout the United States. She has extensive experience with municipal planning, community advocacy, education and outreach. Aldea received her master’s in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from North Carolina A&T State University.
Transporation & Community Relations
Justine Johnson is a Mobility Strategist at Ford Mobility where she works with municipalities and communities on mobility solutions that help move people and goods more efficiently and effectively throughout the Southern California region. No stranger to transportation, she resided in New York City working on transportation initiatives under the Bloomberg and deBlasio Administrations. While at the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), she worked on the Boro Taxi program, which created a new vehicle and driver classification. She then moved to the NYC Economic Development Corporation, managing government and community relations for a new commuter ferry system, NYC Ferry.
Housing Finance & Community Dev.
Brysan is interested in the ways that government and non-profits can improve the financial well-being of urban residents and families. He currently supports the Corporation of Supportive Housing's (CSH) investments in health centers and supportive housing through the New Markets Tax Credit Program. Brysan held several positions at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the nation's largest community development financial institution. He began his career as a New York City Urban Fellow at the New York City Housing Development Corporation.
Urban Design & Urban Strategy
Ifeoma is an experienced Urban Designer & Strategist with a proven track record in transforming urban spaces into platforms for equity and design excellence. Through leadership roles in urban design & development initiatives funded by the United Nations, FIFA and the NYC Mayor's Office she has excelled in managing multidisciplinary teams towards the planning and implementation of projects supporting racial, social and cultural equity. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University and Columbia University where she teaches on the intersection of urban design and equity. As the founding Director of Creative Urban Alchemy LLC, she is a highly sought-after consultant on equitable urban design and sustainable development strategy for city governments and civic institutions internationally. Ifeoma holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Master in City Design and Development from MIT.
Design & Education
Peter Robinson was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in both Kingston and New York City. He received a Bachelors of Architecture degree from Cornell University and a Masters of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University. Peter has held teaching positions at Cornell University, Parsons School of Design at the New School, Syracuse University and Barnard College at Columbia University. His research focuses on cultural subjectivity and the city, broaching parallels and interferences among architectural/urban design, planning and cultural theories as a means to engage/inform social action.
Armando is an urban planner working in the private sector. He was raised in Montgomery County, MD, educated in Philadelphia, PA and Cambridge, MA, and currently living in Harlem. Throughout his life he has been fortunate to be surrounded by people that look like him. The experience of having Black teachers, doctors, and politicians instilled in him a recognition of the importance of us planning for us. He chose to pursue a career in urban development in New York because he wants to provide the same experience for Black people at the largest scale possible. He recognizes BlackSpace as an organization with the same passion-driven mission, and sees his participation with the board as an opportunity to contribute toward achieving our aligned goals.
Storytelling and Community Development
Kyra Assibey-Bonsu is an urbanist with a focus on storytelling to bolster community ties and preservation. Kyra worked for nonprofits and startups in India, Spain, and Argentina that sought educational practice meant to develop collective spatial knowledge in education, housing, and career growth. Her enthusiasm led her to found a storytelling organization called First-Hand Buenos Aires, showcasing the shared interpretation of the human experience. With a background in community development Kyra wants to investigate how the development of cities has propelled the growth of vulnerable communities and disenfranchised their access to basic rights. She wants to create systems fostering equity and inclusion in public and private spaces through the arts, festivals showcasing historic community assets, and initiatives that provide support to people of color and immigrants.
Passionate about liberation, black studies, and black cultural production, Beryl Briane Ford strives to build community and work alongside Black folx to map and preserve our histories and geographies. Beryl Briane currently works at The Museum of Modern Art on the Institutional Giving team, specializing in grant-writing and relationship cultivation of Foundations. She holds a B.A. in Art History with a concentration in Museum Studies and an M.A. in Arts Administration from Columbia University’s Teachers College. With experience in non-profit fundraising, membership management, and program development, Beryl Briane has a vested interest in supporting cultural and community organizations who work with communities of color to maximize their funding and mission impact.
Art & Academia
Joyous R. Pierce is an artist, activist, and scholar. As Executive Director of the Harlem Arts Alliance, she serves the Harlem artists community devoting her time to creating new lanes for emerging and established artists to thrive. Through her work as a visual artist and choreographer, she connects the constellations of her ancestry, her present, and infinite future, creating works that joyfully ask the viewer to question and complicate our human condition in relation to time, space and history. Receiving her Masters in African Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London and traveling abroad has significantly influenced her worldview which can be seen in her work and will be seen in her future endeavors.
Alicia Ajayi (she/her/hers) explores the layered complexity of people, place, and power. Her work engages the nuances between the built environment, historical narratives, and present-day social issues. After receiving a dual masters in architecture and social work from Washington University in St. Louis, Alicia worked as an Associate Designer at MASS Design Group in Boston. At MASS she was a member of the design team for the ground-breaking Memorial to Peace and Justice in Montgomery, AL, a site dedicated to the racial terror and lynching throughout US history. Alicia works with community development corporations, private developers, and non-profits to create visions of spaces that reflect their mission and goals for positive change.
Currently, Alicia lives and works in NYC as a designer, researcher, and consultant.
Emma Osore (she/her/hers) is a Brooklyn-based participatory designer, social intrapreneur, and commissioned mixed media artist. In her focus on people-centered systems change, she co-creates emerging communities of anti-disciplinary creatives that transform culture. She was the first Director of Community at the New Museum of Contemporary Art’s creative business incubator, NEW INC - resulting in its first majority-BIPOC membership, launched and led Americans for the Arts' new Equity in Arts Leadership portfolio, a half million dollar investment in BIPOC arts advocates. She also co-founded BlackSpace where she is now its first Co-Managing Director - building creative community building into the operational leadership and projects of a growing urbanist collective. Emma earned her BS in Urban and Regional Studies at Cornell University and her MPA at Baruch College.
Kenyatta McLean (she/her/hers) is an urban planner and strategist interested in neighborhood resource distribution and heritage conservation. She works with organizations to deepen their understandings of spatial narratives with curated conversations and to develop projects centered in racial justice. As an economic development practitioner, she developed strategy, engagement plans, and commercial corridor focused programming for multiple city-led neighborhood revitalization projects in New York City. Kenyatta earned her BA in Afro-American Studies and Political Science from UCLA. She holds a Master degree in City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she researched the power of narratives within historic preservation. She enjoys finding time for personal genealogy projects and crafting her creative writing skills.