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@2019 by BlackSpace Urbanist Collective, Inc.

ABOUT US

BlackSpace is a collective of Black residents, changemakers, systems thinkers, learners, and lovers.

 

By bridging the gaps between policy, people, and place, our platform allows for the greater understanding, access, and cooperation needed to address inequality and injustice. We are moving away from perfunctory forms of engagement and instead towards planning that recognizes, affirms, and amplifies Black agency. 

OUR MEMBERS

Kenyatta McLean

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.

kenyatta@blackspace.org

Emma Osore

Arts & Community Development 

Emma Osore is a social architect who builds ecosystems that center people and culture to drive community development. She is currently the Equity in Arts Leadership Program Manager at Americans for the Arts developing future workforce solutions in the arts and culture sector and a co-founder of BlackSpace. Her drive for developing creative and collective futures comes from her own background growing up in the systems of working class people who have always created the future through collective work and modeled innovation within creative constraints. She holds a B.S. in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College’s Marxe School of International and Public Affairs where she was a National Urban Fellow.

emma@blackspace.org

Jenneh Kaikai

Housing & Community Development

Jenneh Kaikai is a Real Estate Development Project Manager at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). In her role, Jenneh is responsible for working with private developers and numerous city agencies to coordinate affordable housing projects across New York City. As many of her undergraduate experiences were concentrated on Public Health, she uses her “Health in All Policies” approach to help solidify her interest in and sensitivity to the need for holistic and inclusive neighborhood planning.  She is driven by the value she sees in housing as a foundational element of sustainable community development.

jenneh@blackspacenyc.org

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. 

justin@blackspace.org

Daphne Lundi

Urban Planning

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.

daphne@blackspace.org

Ifeoma Ebo

Urban Design & Urban Strategy

 

Ifeoma Ebo is an urban designer and strategist with 20 years of international experience working at diverse scales including building, community and city design.   As the Director of Strategic Design Initiatives with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, she leads interagency design and built environment initiatives to transform the public realm while addressing public safety and social justice in marginalized communities across NYC.  Ifeoma is a 2016 Forefront Fellow of the NYC Urban Design Forum and Next City Vanguard Fellow.  She serves on Advisory Boards for BlackSpaceNYC, the Association for Community Design and the Museum of Modern Art.  She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Masters in City Planning and Urban Design from MIT.

ifeoma@blackspace.org

Justine Johnson

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. 

justine@blackspacenyc.org

Quardean Lewis-Allen

Design & Social Enterprise

 

Quardean Lewis-Allen founded Made in Brownsville (MiB) in 2013 to provide a gateway for young people in his native Brownsville community to learn marketable hard skills in STEAM, access postsecondary education, gain or create employment, and rebuild their community in a way that benefits residents. He teaches Architecture at CUNY City College and is a 2016 Echoing Green Black Male Achievement Fellow. Prior to starting MiB, Quardean was the inaugural recipient of Community Solutions’ Greg “Jocko” Jackson Community Fellowship at the Brownsville Partnership. He has worked for the global architecture firm, Perkins Eastman. His work has been exhibited at Le Laboratoire in Paris, at the Afrika Museum in the Netherlands, and Harvard University.

quardean@blackspacenyc.org 

Justin Romeo

Transportation & Urban Planning

 

Justin Romeo is an urban planner currently working at the New York City Department of Transportation, where his focus is on using the Department's many data sources to analyze the transportation trends of today to inform the policy decisions for tomorrow. Prior to working in New York, he worked for the Illinois Department of Transportation doing planning and implementation work for transportation infrastructure projects in Chicago. He believes that data analysis can and should be used to help both communities and public institutions obtain greater transportation accessibility and equity. 

justinr@blackspacenyc.org

Amina Hassen 

Urban Planning 

 

Amina Hassen is an Urban Planner currently focused on sustainable urban mobility. She manages WXY Studio's electric vehicle research and development projects, which include a study of curbside charging stations in NYC, residential carshare for low- and medium-income families in Westchester County, and electric vehicle tourism in the Lower Hudson Valley. Amina is interested in exploring built environment solutions to promote social inclusion in public space and is devoted to using urban planning as a tool to foster self-empowered, equitable communities. 

amina@blackspacenyc.org

Rafael Smith 

Design 

 

Rafael is a senior product designer at IDEO.org, a design consultancy focused on using design to tackle issues related to poverty and also a co-founder of Broaden People Analytics––a software platform that enables organizations to accurately pinpoint, diagnose, and respond to bias in the workplace and take a more data driven approach to building diversity, equity, and inclusion. During his time at IDEO.org has designed an array of products, systems and services ranging from emergency shelters in disaster zones to agricultural systems in India and Africa. His work ranges from physical products to software applications and service design.

rafael@blackspacenyc.org

Jennifer Allen 

Community Development & Crowdfunding 

 

Jennifer is a community planner who loves connecting people to the relationships and resources they need. At ioby (In Our Backyards), Jennifer works one-on-one with resident leaders across the country to support them in crowdfunding for projects to improve their communities. Jennifer has more than 10 years of experience working in urban planning. Prior to joining ioby, Jennifer was the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Trailnet in St. Louis where she oversaw The Calm Streets Project, built strategic partnerships, and assisted with advocacy campaigns. During her time in Los Angeles, Jennifer worked at Livable Places as an advocate for more affordable housing, transportation options, and quality public spaces for Angelenos.

jennifer@blackspacenyc.org

Kyra Assibey-Bonsu 

Storytelling and Community Development 

 

Kyra Assibey-Bonsu is an urbanist with a focus on storytelling to bolster community ties and preservation. In her overseas career she 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 for the arts led her to found a storytelling organization called First-Hand Buenos Aires, that showcases 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 that foster 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.

kyra@blackspacenyc.org

Kyra Assibey-Bonsu 

Storytelling and Community Development 

 

Kyra Assibey-Bonsu is an urbanist with a focus on storytelling to bolster community ties and preservation. In her overseas career she 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 for the arts led her to found a storytelling organization called First-Hand Buenos Aires, that showcases 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 that foster 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.

kyra@blackspacenyc.org

Kyra Assibey-Bonsu 
Alicia Ajayi 

Program Manager

 

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.

alicia@blackspacenyc.org

Aleiya Evison

Program Fellow 

Aleiya comes to design with a background in Ethnic Studies and Political Science from the University of Oregon (B.A. 2017). Originally from Colorado, she is passionate about storytelling, community justice, and the radical imagination, which she continues to explore through her studies at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Her work strives to understand what is possible through the lens of healing, joy, and belonging. Outside of school she is on the board of the African American Student Union, the Black in Design Confrerence Planning Committee, and the host of the podcast Beloved Community through the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute. She is grateful and excited to spend her summer in New York as a fellow with BlackSpace, through the Harvard Graduate School of Design's Community Service Fellowship. 


aleiya@blackspace.org