Ithaca Commons. photo / Kenneth C. Zirkel, Wikimedia Commons
Date and location: January 24, 12:20 p.m. in Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium, Milstein Hall
Kimberly Michaels leads the design and management on a diverse set of project types. She is most known locally for her work shepherding large projects through complex and/or contentious municipal review processes. She has nearly 20 years’ experience navigating projects through SEQR, zoning, permitting and site plan review. Her passion is to develop spaces that are sustainable, integrated into the natural world and mindful of the human-environment relationship. Michaels’s experience includes higher education, healthcare, learning landscapes, playgrounds, private and public gardens, master planning and detailed site design with an emphasis on sustainability and green design practices. Her work has been selected as a featured site by the Sustainable Sites Initiative, published in the Journal of Green Building and will be included in an upcoming book by Robin Moore, Early Childhood Outdoors. Michaels is a registered landscape architect and brings several years of professional experience in education to her work.
Lisa Nicholas, AICP, is the deputy director of planning for the City of Ithaca. As staff to the city’s planning board since 2005, she has been involved with the numerous and complex development projects that have — and continue to — shape, transform, and enliven Ithaca, including those in the city portion of Cornell’s campus. She has 20 years of government planning experience at the state, federal, and local levels and holds a master’s in regional planning from the University of New Mexico.
Scott Whitham, principal of Whitham Planning and Design, has over 20 years of experience in leading complex projects and project teams. His work has ranged across diverse built-environment disciplines, and has included planning new regional park systems and revitalized urban waterfronts and leading in the preservation and rehabilitation of significant historic structures and landscapes. Whitham is also responsible for managing the planning, design, and construction of educational facilities and campuses. Actively engaged in his community, Whitham ‘s volunteer work has been equally diverse, from serving as chair of the City of Ithaca Planning Board to chair of the Architecture, Planning and Design Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts, among many other roles.
Seasoned practitioners from Ithaca who have several decades of combined experience in both the public and private realms will discuss the dynamics of professional urban planning and design in a highly motivated and engaged community. Their collective perspectives cover the full spectrum of professional planning and design practice: guiding the community planning process, administering growth management regulations, representing private sector developers, and serving as municipal board members.
As Boston politician and House Speaker Tip O’Neill once said, “All politics is local.” The same can be said for the practice of urban planning. And often for community residents, planning is not merely local, but also very personal. The panelists will discuss how in their work they navigate the sometimes complex and controversial issues entwined in urban planning and development decision making, working with neighborhoods and community groups, negotiation and dispute resolution, and promoting equity and social justice in the arena of community planning and growth management in Ithaca.
Rendering of redesigned retail and entertainment spaces. image / Yixuan Li
Students in Visiting Critic Mitch Glass’s Advanced Urban Design Workshop create real urban design strategies to address real issues for real clients. This week, this semester’s cohort presented their plans to transform The Shops at Ithaca Mall and Cayuga Mall into a mixed-use regional and village center to the Village of Lansing Planning Board and Board of Trustees. Their presentations were covered by a local news outlet.
image / Yixuan Li
Students were tasked with turning these suburban shopping malls into a dense, walkable, bikeable and transit-connected neighborhood while also mitigating traffic impact over a 30-40 year period. They worked in three teams and proposed strategies such as expanding workforce housing, development of a wellness path, creation of an outdoor recreation center, and daylighting streams which have been running underneath the malls’ parking lots for decades.
For the past twenty years, suburban shopping malls have been on the decline. Plans to update these retail spaces while creating cohesive neighborhoods can breathe into them new life.
photos / Mitch Glass
image / Xinyu He
image / Quinn Kelly
Kate McCarthy. photo / Vermont Natural Resources Council
Kate McCarthy M.R.P. ’10 was named Planner of the Year by the Northern New England Chapter of the American Planning Association (NNECAPA) at its annual conference in November.
McCarthy is the Sustainable Communities Program Director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, a non-profit environmental advocacy group in Montpelier, Vermont. In the program, her work focuses on strategies to achieve sustainable and compact community building and to provide provisional services to these communities, including transportation, housing, and employment accessibility.
In addition to this recognition by the local APA chapter, in 2018 McCarthy was featured in Vermont Business Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars, which aims to recognize young leaders in Vermont for their professional experience and contribution to business growth in their respective communities. As an M.R.P. student, McCarthy also served as president for the Organization of Cornell Planners (OCP) student organization.
Still from Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar (The Big City), 1963. photo / provided
Mellon Collaborative Studies has extended its application deadline for the spring 2020 Urban Representations Lab seminar to December 16th. The seminar, Edge Cities: Developing New Urban Images in Global Cinema & Media, explores the intersection between cities and moving images. Focusing on the development trends of density and sprawl, the examination of moving images will spur broader discussions of power, social relations, and other topics.
Selected fellows for the Urban Representation Lab seminar will receive a $1,500 stipend in support of materials, including books, films, and images to develop a final project. Past fellows in the seminars explored various methodologies in their research, including ethnography, digital mapping, cinematography, and more.
The seminar is taught by Sabine Haenni, associate professor in the Department of Performing & Media Arts at Cornell. Her teaching areas range from a variety of different media and film genres, in addition to her interest in the intersection between urbanism and cinema.
Past participants of the seminar have included graduate and undergraduate students in the fields of city and regional planning, architecture, and comparative literature.
Amsterdam-Food Security and Food Justice team photo. photo / William Staffeld
Students who took part in Design Connect showcased their semester-long projects at their final review last night. Through the organization, students engage in practical experience through cooperation with local municipalities and non-profit organizations while supplying design and planning services for these groups, which may not have the resources to hire professionals. Three teams presented their New York-based projects.
Brighton Complete Streets Redesign
This team collaborated with Reconnect Rochester, a bike/pedestrian/transit advocacy organization, as well as the Town of Brighton, to address safety and accessibility improvements along a one-mile section of Monroe Avenue. The team worked with the community to redesign five intersections along the corridor to better meet the needs of Brighton residents and provided research and analysis for the Town to use to make its case for the improved street designs to NYSDOT.
Amsterdam-Food Security and Food Justice
Working with Centro Civico and the City of Amsterdam’s Department of Community and Economic Development, this team built on a previous semester of work in alleviating food insecurity in the east end of Amsterdam, NY. The team built upon earlier work determining feasibility for a community kitchen and food-related business incubation, participated in the public process around determining food-related programming for a new community center, and worked with community partners on a design-build project for a demonstration garden.
Montezuma Heritage Park
This team worked with the Montezuma Heritage Park to further develop a trailhead entrance. The final design layout included an ADA parking area and walkway and offered alternatives that reinforced the connection between this park entry and adjacent historic sites.
photo / William Staffeld
photo / William Staffeld
photo / William Staffeld