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@2019 by BlackSpace Urbanist Collective, Inc.

BLACKSPACE

BlackSpace is an interdisciplinary collective, seeking to bridge policy, people, and place, with a mission of equity and justice. We strive for environments that recognize, affirm, and amplify Black agency, discourse and thought.

 


 

BOARD 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 (she/her/hers) 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. Through art,  culture, and creativity, Emma has poised national, early-stage leaders to work together for social impact at the New Museum, Americans for the Arts, City of Beverly Hills, and DC Public Schools. 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.

emma@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

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

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

Laurel Brown

Finance

 

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.

Aldea Coleman

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.

Ifeoma Ebo

Urban Design & Urban Strategy

 

Ifeoma Ebo is an urban designer and strategist who strives to be a catalyst for social justice and design activism while addressing challenges of the urban milieu.

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. 

 

As a former strategist at the NYC Department of Design and Construction she developed equity focused design principles for the Design and Construction Excellence program guiding the design of public buildings, plazas and infrastructure. As the Director of Strategic Design Initiatives with the NYC Mayors Office of Criminal Justice she led interagency design and built environment initiatives exploring the use of design to address public safety and social justice in marginalized communities across NYC. She currently serves as a Director in the Neighborhood Strategies division of the NYC Department of Housing, Preservation & Development.

 

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.

ifeoma@blackspace.org

Peter Robinson

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 Sullivan

Urban Planning 

 

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.

Joyous Pierce

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. Born in Church Falls VA, and raised by a family of vibrant, motivated, black women women. Joyous has always found her home somewhere between the green and grassy Low Country of SC and the high rises of Manhattan. 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.

Beryl Ford

Art

 

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. I am interested in building with BlackSpace because I fundamentally believe in collectivizing in order to preserve the physical geographies of our communities, to share access to cultural and economic resources, and to radically imagine futures that we have a stake in. I would love the opportunity to build in trust, to listen to the stories of my neighbors, and to contribute my own fundraising and program evaluation skill set to help maximize BlackSpace’s impact.

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 
Joshua Broadway

Architecture, Art, & Academia

 

Josh's relationship with architecture began early. He was seduced by the process of craft and innovation its processes promised. Through developing models/drawings he focused his mental efforts towards tangible and visual outcomes. As he matured, personal circumstances shaped his perception of space and society, and he understood the psychological consequence environments possess. This complexity intrigued him enough to devote his life to understanding and shaping the built realm. 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). Upon graduating he moved to Brooklyn to pursue architecture professionally, where his investigation in scale continues. He understood quickly what it means to be a black man/woman in architecture; an ever-present feeling of isolation and disconnect. Identity and community have become his primary focus, and he endeavors to empower other black and brown creatives.

Sophonie Joseph

Data Visualization

Sophonie's expertise is in planning methodologies, with a data visualization focus. She uses geographic information systems (GIS) to display spatialized statistical analysis. Her research focuses on environmental justice in the built environment of immigrant ethnic enclaves in the U.S., such as the Little Haiti Cultural & Business District in Brooklyn, and in small-island developing states in the Caribbean region. 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 in the US. Lived experience and research practice spurs my ongoing commitment to the BlackSpace Mission and to Fostering on the Ground Solutions. Through her decade-long participation in parallel academic and professional spheres, she has built lasting key relationships with urbanism intellectuals and practitioners. Their mentoring has been pivotal in informing her path as an emerging researcher-practitioner devoted to planning and its allied disciplines. The deep mentoring she received from my professional elders, is in addition to the spirit of public service through the Michigan network of colleagues and practitioners that previously informed her later work in New York and then Haiti.


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

BlackSpace Family

Aleiya Evison

Amina Hassen

Jenneh KaiKai

Quardean Lewis-Allen

Justin Romeo

Rafael Smith