Loeb Fellowship 45th Anniversary Lectures: Loeb University #2

Loeb Fellowship 45th Anniversary Lectures: Loeb University #2

Hi. We need to start
immediately because we’re running a little late, so Teresa
Brice, Pamela Hawkes, Scott Teas, and Angelyn Chandler, if
they would come up here and sit in the front row. So we’re doing the second
session of the Loeb University. My name is Gisli Baldursson. I’m a Loeb Fellow
from last year. I’m also the only Loeb
Fellow from Iceland. And on the list where
you can see what we do, there are lots of architects,
and planners, and designers, and developers, and
I’m the only one that’s titled “talk
show host,” which is accurate but embarrassing. So, yeah, I have hosted
talk shows in Iceland, but I’ve never hosted
Pecha Kucha-style talks, so bear with me if I refuse
to leave the spotlight and only focus on
myself, and not be interested in what
the speakers have to say. [laughter] No, but the Pecha
Kucha– I don’t know if you speak Japanese,
but “Pecha Kucha” actually, in Japanese, means “dancify, put
in bike lanes, ditch the car, or die.” So it’s fitting that
we do that here. So Julie Campoli
hosted this yesterday, so you know how this works. I think I will have
this thing here. I will put the show
on, and you won’t have any control over your slides. And you have five minutes each. And let’s see. So I don’t want to– if
I do this, will this go? I’m right behind you. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So now I’m introducing you,
and before I hit the button, I’m just going to give you the
floor, and you can prepare, and when I say go, you go. OK. So Teresa Brice. [applause] Thank you. I have only one correction–
my name is Teresa. And don’t feel alone. I’m the only Loeb from Phoenix. So there are some of us in
the wastelands, you might say, that are working
on our own, and I’m going to tell you a little
bit about the story. Go ahead. Go. Go. So this is the
image that Phoenix has promoted for
decades– cowboys, cactus, blue skies, open spaces. But this image has not
served Phoenix well, because it allows people
to dismiss Phoenix as simply a place to
vacation, or to retire. But I’m going to
tell you what it’s really like to live and
work in the nation’s sixth-largest city. Arizona’s had tough time lately. These dust storms you see
come from subdivisions that were abandoned in the desert. We lost 150,000 construction
jobs during the recession. We had the third-highest
foreclosure rate in the country, and
nasty fights over immigration. So in the middle of
all this, this guy from New York University writes
a book called Bird On Fire, and he calls Phoenix the
world’s least sustainable city. Not exactly an image makeover,
but it’s better than one I heard– Arizona
puts the AZ in crazy. [laughter] So our metro Phoenix–
you’re cutting into my time– the metro Phoenix
line opened in 2009, and I credit my Loeb year
for giving me the language to articulate a new vision
for the future of Phoenix. As Executive Director
of LISC Phoenix, I created this slogan
to capture that vision, and together with a $20
million investment fund, we decided to see what we could
do in the Valley of the Sun. Our first priority, of
course, was affordable housing along the light rail. Our market study
indicated that we needed to build 110,000
units of affordable housing, only along the
light rail corridor. And it’s made
especially challenging because we don’t have the tools
that some of you might use. Tax increment
financing is literally unconstitutional in Arizona,
and inclusionary zoning is also illegal. Of course, we face
a lot of resistance to higher density and
mixed-use development. People think it’s an Obama
plan to get people out of the suburbs. But, despite these
challenges, it managed to support the
development of over 2000 units of affordable housing,
all within a quarter to a half mile of the
light rail station. Vacant lots occupy 43% of
the total land in Phoenix, and a lot of that land is
along the light rail corridor. And that’s what might seem
strange to those of you who come from cities
that are built out. But with over 500 square
miles in the city of Phoenix, developers found it easier
to jump over vacant lots and get to the green fields
where it’s easier to develop. Here you see a
15-acre vacant parcel right next to a light
rail station in midtown. It’s turned into a
community garden, which allows immigrant refugees to
farm their traditional crops and take them to the public
market on the light rail. We also knew it was
important to use transit to connect affordable
housing to jobs, so we focused on helping
small businesses relocate to the light rail
corridor, sometimes reusing vacant commercial space,
and sometimes convincing large employers like State Farm
to build their new regional hub within half a mile of the
light rail, as you saw, bringing over 8,000 jobs. Access to affordable health
care is another equity issue. In Phoenix there’s no hospital
south of the Salt River bed, and in Mesa there’s no
hospital north of Main Street. We were proud to support the
first federally-qualified health center, which opened at
the light rail station in Mesa in 2012. And next year, a
wellness center that will treat Native Americans with
behavioral health issues using traditional healing methods,
as well as more modern methods, as well as providing
housing on site. Zoning changes along
the light rail corridor allowed us to develop
mixed-use projects. In both of these cases, we
were able to combine supportive services with housing. Native American Connections
used a New Market Tax Credits grant to purchase a building
and combine services with the Phoenix Indian Center. And a few years later, as you
can see in the lower picture, Native American Connections
built affordable housing. The second one is a
former homeless shelter that was rebuilt as a
permanent supportive tax credit development, and combines
supportive services for their clients. It’s also accessible
to the larger community through the light rail. Of course, this initiative was
not all just sticks and bricks. It involved a lot of
policy work and community engagement to make the
transition from suburban- to urban-style development. The first piece is a
portable workbook, which can go to community meetings. And the second one
is a TOD guidebook, which provides a checklist
and an easy reference guide for neighborhoods
to evaluate projects. “Our future is on the
line” is about using transit as a platform
for community and economic development. It’s simple. If we didn’t have light rail,
we wouldn’t have equitable TOD. A recent article said it
this way– against all odds, Phoenix has a light rail
line and it’s expanding. Ridership has
exceeded expectations. And that acronym
up there– it was coined by a journalist
from Phoenix, and he used it when the
light rail first opened. It stands for “we built
it, you bastards.” [laughter] And we’re building more. [applause] Good morning. Education is a key to
equity, especially for women. But odds are that only one
of these girls in Tanzania will finish high school. There are many reasons. But one is simply
lack of schools. Girls may walk or bicycle
for hours to get to schools, or have to live with
relatives or strangers, in all cases
putting them at risk for exploitation and violence. In 2013, as volunteers, we
planned a public boarding school for girls 50
kilometers south of Mwanza, Tanzania’s second-largest city. It was something we
dreamed about for years. Africa Schoolhouse partners
with local governments to renovate and build
schools in rural Tanzania, like this 60-room
primary school in Tulia. With minimal bureaucracy,
a strong track record, and a passionate
founder who just happens to live across town from
us in Portland, Maine, this NGO was a great fit for us. We spent three months
living in the countryside next to the Tulia school. Without electricity
or running water, we gained a great perspective
on everyday life there. 100-degree heat, dusty fields,
and torrential downpours that flooded our house. We shopped in local village
markets and planned meals without refrigeration. Traveling 200 kilometers
along Lake Victoria, we documented facilities
for learning and living at six private and public
girls boarding schools. We listened more than
we talked– something that’s hard for
Loebs, but easier when you don’t speak Swahili. The girls were our
experts and inspiration. They were quick to answer
when asked what they wanted to be– engineers,
doctors, aerospace engineers, or accountants. We soon realized that, with
limited resources– materials, tools, electrical power, and
a relatively high unemployment rate– that labor-intensive
construction was actually a worthy objective,
while providing the families with the means to
pay the required school fees. Our work, at times, was
also labor-intensive. The most effective
communication tool that we used was this site model, modeling
50 buildings out of balsa wood that we had brought
from the States. In these rural settings,
providing on-campus housing for the teachers was part
of the compensation package. It also assured
that the teachers were staying near
the classrooms, and would be in the classrooms. For these residents,
we addressed the intense solar gain
using a vented double roof, which was inspired by
an old 1968 Land Rover that we used to own. The classroom remodeling
project in a nearby village gave us the opportunity to
test some of our proposed construction techniques. Working with a crew, we
built full-scale mock ups that helped us
communicate and translate our construction drawings. By varying the heights of
perpendicular spacer trussers, we were able to both
address the solar gain within the classrooms, as
well as creating a form which was reminiscent of the
thatch-roof structures that dot the landscape. Small changes like the roof
can make a big difference. Our design for science
labs and classrooms, starting construction
next month, uses techniques familiar to
African schoolhouse crews– site-burned brick, wood
trusses, metal roofs. The typical flimsy and
fragile glass jalousie windows will be replaced with a
new louvre system that increases light and
ventilation while protecting from rain and vandalism. By the end of our stay, we
partnered with a local district to map out a campus for a
secure, supportive environment for 400 girls in
six grade levels. An academic quad
and dorm clusters will create a strong sense
of community and identity. Water harvesting,
composting latrines, and solar-powered
lighting will teach girls sustainable solutions
for their home villages. Classrooms, dorms,
and teacher houses will be built over many
phases, as funding arrives. The multi-purpose dining hall,
shown in its first third, will be visible from the main
road between Mwanza and Dar Es Salaam. It’s an inverted form,
a fish or a boat, depending on your perspective. We like to think about it as a
boat that symbolizes the girls’ safe journey through
wisdom to adulthood and realizing their dreams. Thank you. [applause] I am leading the capital portion
of the new Community Parks Initiative , also known as
CPI, at New York City Parks. This is a mayoral
park equity program that will reconstruct parks
in New York City’s densely populated and
growing neighborhoods with higher than average
concentrations of poverty. The first phase
of the initiative, funded for $130 million, will
focus on 35 neighborhood parks with the greatest need. Our approach first
defined and identified under-resourced parks. We analyzed 20 years
of data to identify parks that had received less
than $250,000 of investment. We performed detailed,
on the ground surveys, and sought to select
parks that were accessible to nearby
communities that offered diverse
recreational opportunities. These 35 parks
are just the first of 134 reconstructions that
are funded over the next five years. The 35 sites average
one acre in size, and are typically big asphalt
fields with few amenities and surrounded by fences. We will completely
reconstruct these parks. The funding allocated per
site averages over $3 million. Beyond providing new
programmatic amenities, we are partnering with
the City’s Department of Environmental Protection to
implement green infrastructure in each of these parks,
in the form of rain gardens, permeable
pavers, synthetic turf, and below-grade storm chambers. We are also piloting the
capture of street storm water in these green infrastructure
features, which is also involving a collaboration
with the City’s Department of Transportation. And we are implementing
a new program, called Parks Without Borders,
in which the park reconstruction will extend to the street. Sidewalks will be
reconstructed, perimeter fences will be lowered or
eliminated, and park entrances will be made more inviting. Another way in which we
are addressing park equity is through an inclusive process. We tried some new things to
enhance community outreach and feedback. We developed a new type
of scoping procedure that enlarged the community
group that we typically gather for input on what
we should do at each park. For all 35 of the Phase One
parks, we had over 1,100 people attend scoping sessions. And we also used
online input forms, and have more than 250
online surveys submitted. We held the scope
meetings in the evening, at a school or community
center near the park. We provide dinner for families,
so that families could come. We provided translation so
that everyone was heard. And we asked the community
what their priorities were for the park
reconstruction, focusing on four questions. Who uses the park most? Do you want active
or passive features? What matters to you most
in the reconstruction? And what would you like to
be able to do in the park that you can’t do now? These parks fell into
this state of disrepair because there were
no community groups lobbying for their improvement. So we had to reach deep to
engage the neighborhood. We invited the schools
and the children that use these parks, the
local athletic leagues, senior centers, business
associations, community gardeners, any interested party. In the community scope meetings,
we showed images of other parks throughout the
city to demonstrate what these park transformations
could look like. Some examples included
spray showers, adult fitness equipment, community
gathering areas, play equipment for
kids of all ages and abilities, and active
recreation such as handball and basketball. Following the scope
meetings, we analyzed the community’s priorities
in a series of pie charts for each site. In addition to a demand for
active recreation for people of all ages, we
saw that there was a great desire for passive
recreation amenities, such as green space, areas to
garden, community gathering, as well as a wish for very
basic amenities such as drinking fountains, benches, tables,
shade, security, and lighting. After understanding
these priorities, the design teams worked
to quickly develop concept plans that presented a
general layout of the new park. And within 45 days
of the scope meeting, we took each concept plan to
the community board to say, this is what we heard
you say you wanted, and this is the plan
we’re moving forward with. Our focus was to
show the community, and to get their input on,
the programmatic elements that would be
provided, and where, and less on what
they would look like. Following that, we prepared
more detailed schematic designs, which we again took to
the community boards for their review and comment. With this additional community
engagement in the park design, you might ask how that impacted
our already expedited timeline of 12 months for design,
nine months for procurement, and 12 to 18 months
for construction. We found, though, that the
community engagement actually sped up a normally lengthy
design-review process. The hard data on community
priorities from the scope meetings enabled us to
unequivocally justify decisions made, and
to ensure that what was designed and approved
was what the community really asked for. Thank you. [applause] This was great. Three fantastic talks here. Before we break, we are running
a little bit behind schedule, but not too much. Did you want to say something? Are you introducing
the students? Oh, good. Perfect. So what I was going
to do is to introduce two students that
worked on the Black in Design Conference
two weeks ago. That was a huge
success, and we wanted to give them just two
minutes before we break, and then we have to be
back here before 11:15. So let’s give a warm welcome to
Azzurra Cox and Megan Echols. [applause] Hi, everyone. It’s great to be here. My name is Azzurra Cox,
I’m a third-year Landscape Architecture student
here at the GSD, and the Vice President of the
GSD African American Student Union. Hi , my name is Megan Echols. I’m a second-year Urban Planning
student here at the GSD, a committee member of the
African American Student Union, and also a committee member of
the Black in Design Conference. So, very quickly, the GSD
African American Student Union, or ASU, is dedicated to
supporting the advancements of African Americans in the
areas of architecture, design, real estate, urban design,
urban planning, and landscape architecture. We think that providing
the opportunity to build strong relationships
while at the GSD and in the field, ASU members
and the school at large are empowered with the
resources to not only transform our communities physically,
but socially, as well. The ASU was founded in 2012,
and the group currently works closely with Admissions
and the Dean’s Office to increase the numbers
of Black students, jurors, and faculty of the GSD. In addition to having our
own programming, last year, in response to events
in Ferguson, Baltimore, across the nation,
the ASU initiated several long-term initiatives. We’re currently pursuing
the Map the Gap initiative, which is meant to visualize
institutionalized racism. And just a couple of weeks
ago, on October 9 and 10, we held Harvard’s first annual
Black in Design Conference. So Megan and I are going
to tell you a bit more about the conference. The Black in Design Conference,
organized by the ASU at the Harvard Graduate
School of Design, seeks to simultaneously
recognize the contributions of African descendants
to the design field, and to broaden our definition of
what it means to be a designer. We believe that initial
steps towards addressing social injustice through
design, and to reclaim the histories of
under-represented groups in design pedagogy, and
to implicate designers as having a role in repairing
our broken built environment. Dedicated to the pursuit of
just and equitable spaces across all scales,
this conference will broach conversations
in increasing orders of magnitude– the building,
the neighborhood, the city, the region, and the globe. We hope that this
conference will serve to ingrain
compassion for human beings into the ethos of
design more broadly, as well as to serve as a
call to action for the GSD to instill within each
and every person who passes through its
doors the responsibility to build just and equitable
spaces at every scale. [applause] Sorry for reading this out,
because we know you can read, but we felt that it was actually
important to state that here again. So, as Megan said, we
organized the conference. We had panels
throughout the day. And we wanted to talk about
how we, as designers, can act on multiple scales, from
the building to the region. And so you can see here the
different scalar panels. And then we also had a
keynote with Phil Freelon and Darhil Crooks
of The Atlantic, and a lunch panel
about food in justice. And you’ll see many Loeb Fellows
represented on our panels, which is no accident. And we asked an overarching
question, which was, coming from such
diverse practices, how do you engage
people and structures at the scale of blank, the
building, the neighborhood? And also, how does
your practice interact at this scale with
materiality, culture, and social consequences,
especially as they relate to Black communities? So we just have a
few pictures, also, from the different panels. So the conference was
received very well. We sold over, because
so many people wanted to be in attendance, and
overall we had 384 attendees. And you know Piper
sits about 400 people, so that’s really good. 38% were current GSD students
or staff, and about 28% were professionals. 20% came from
other universities, and 4% were high
school students. And we had people from all over
the nation– California, Texas, Virginia, Florida, so from
all reaches of our country, which was great. And it wasn’t a traditional
conference in many ways. [laughter] This was the first session. We started out with an amazing
led yoga breathing exercise. With Stevie Wonder
music, of course. With Stevie Wonder music
that got everyone going. But an amazing thing is
that this was the most empty that Piper got throughout the
day, right at the beginning, which, generally, the
opposite happens, usually. It empties out. There was a lot of engagement,
a lot of participation. The auditorium stayed full. And it was just an amazing
audience to have here. And we had interludes,
like the Kuumba singers of Harvard College,
who are dedicated to the art of Black creativity
and sang a few numbers. And the panel content
was incredible. These are just a few of the
quotes that were highlighted on social media. And you could find
those at #BlackinDesign. Black in Design and also
#BlackDesignMatters. This is just a brief recap
of the social media presence. You can see we had a lot. We generated a lot
of activity online. And once again, the Conference
was really well received. We got not only great
tweets about it, but great emails
and great people coming up to us,
expressing how much love they felt in the
building, so it was great. So, since we’re all here,
obviously, conversation continues, and we’ve
gotten great support from Dean Mostafavi’s office
and the school at large. And we think this is
just the beginning. So we’re thinking about how
to build on this momentum. So if you have any
ideas, you can email us at
[email protected] And since we’re all
here celebrating 45 years of the phenomenal
Loeb Fellowship program, we wanted to take
this opportunity to thank a few Loebs– more
than a few Loebs, actually– who provided generous support
and advice in planning this conference. Just some of many– Jean Lauer,
Marc Norman, Chee Pearlman, Theaster Gates, LaShawn Hoffman,
Seitu Jones, Janelle Chan, Neha Bhatt, and then,
last but not least, Mark Mulligan and Sally Young. [applause] In the last few
words, we just wanted to thank the Loeb Fellowship,
because the Loeb Fellowship has been a very important
friend and ally for the GSD ASU throughout the past few years. And we just look forward to
continuing and strengthening our relationship, as we build
on the success of the conference and other endeavors that we’ve
had over the past three years. Thank you. Thank you. [applause]

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