Economic & Community Development
Kenyatta McLean leverages urban planning and economic development tools to increase access points for marginalized communities building their own neighborhoods. As an economic development practitioner, she developed strategy and engagement plans and programs for multiple neighborhood revitalization projects. Kenyatta is currently a Master in City Planning candidate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she is further researching concepts of space and power within equitable neighborhood development. She believes all social change begins with empowerment.
Arts & Community Development
Emma is a participatory designer, creative community builder, and commissioned mixed media artist. She is Co-Founder of BlackSpace Urbanist Collective and the Director of Community at NEW INC. She has spoken to national audiences at Harvard University, HBO, Municipal Arts Society, Pratt University, and NYU, and been published by Columbia University Press and Deem Journal. Emma earned her undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Studies at Cornell University and her Master's in Public Administration at Baruch College’s Marxe School for International and Public Affairs where she was a National Urban Fellow.
Daphne Lundi is Senior Policy Advisor 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, & Policy
Justin Garrett Moore is an urban designer and the Executive Director of the NYC 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. He is a member of the American Planning Association, the Urban Design Forum, Next City’s Vanguard, and serves on the faculty at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.
Transporation & Community Relations
Justine Johnson is a social innovator and an advocate for conscious development in neighborhoods of color. She spearheaded the external outreach strategy for the launch of New York City's Five-Boro Taxi Initiative at NYC's Taxi and Limousine Commission. Justine is driven to empower communities to have an active role in public policy discussions and decisions. She is currently the Vice President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation's Government and Community Relations team where she manages the citywide community engagement strategy for the newly launched NYC Ferry as well as other transportation and legislative initiatives.
Laurel Brown is a former computer scientist turned Wall Street attorney turned C-Suite non-profit exec and brings all of her experiences to bear in her day-to-day work. As an economic development expert, she leads high-impact community investment strategies that accelerate business growth, create jobs, attract investment, and transform economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Ms. Brown currently serves as the COO of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation in Queens, NY. In addition to overseeing everything from finances to operations, communications, and fundraising, she oversees the non-profit’s strategy for connecting small businesses with $4 million worth of financing, government incentives, and technical assistance.
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.
Urban Design & Urban Strategy
Ifeoma Ebo is an urban designer and strategist who strives to be a catalyst for social justice and design activism.Ifeoma’s career encompasses projects of diverse scales and challenges from the design of international large scale urban redevelopment projects to research based formation of urban policy. Ifeoma is a Visiting Design Professor at Cornell University and Lecturer in Architecture & Urbanism at Syracuse University. She serves on advisory boards for the Mayor of Helsingborg: Sweden and Association for Community Design. Ifeoma holds a Bachelor in 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.
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.
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.
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.
Architecture, Art, & Academia
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. Her commitment to 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.
Alicia Ajayi is interested in exploring the layered complexity of people, place, and power. Her work engages the nuances that correlate 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 Montogomery, 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.