Making Open Space Happen: WXY and NY4P Continue Talk Series

Photo: Amy Barkow

To design and build more green, open neighborhoods, NY4P and WXY host a new dialogue on innovative, improved ways to deliver city developments with more parks.

The group New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) and design firm WXY architecture + urban design have announced the third in a four-part series of public discussions on improving New York City with more and better-designed parks and open spaces. To be held on Monday, February 12th, the talk titled “Open Space Dialogues: A New Perspective on Delivery” brings together the city’s leading parks researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers to discuss open-space delivery mechanisms — including financing, policy and legal and regulatory frameworks — and how these can evolve to encourage better provision of parks and open spaces.

The February 12 event, which takes place at 6:00pm at WeWork Bryant Park, 54 West 40th Street in New York City, is the third in a series of programs organized by New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P), a more than 100-year-old, citywide independent open space advocacy organization, along with WXY architecture + urban design, a leader in conceiving and designing new parks, open spaces and civic architecture.

“New York City is always changing, and we need to guarantee that growth and development doesn’t come at the expense of the spaces that make our city healthy and vibrant,” said Lynn B. Kelly, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “By opening an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas and best practices, our goal is to help move the dialogue forward around how we support the benefits that come from open space.”

“Our first two events explored the ways in which open space can improve the value of urban neighborhoods, and considered the role that design plays in the redevelopment process,” says Adam Lubinsky, Ph.D., AICP, managing principal at WXY architecture + urban design and moderator for the talk. “Now we’re asking, once open space is part of the planning and development conversation, what are the levers to make it happen?”

With a focus on open space delivery mechanisms, panelists will discuss how regulatory and legal frameworks, financing, and policy can evolve to encourage better open space provision. The talk features Thomas McKnight, executive vice president and head of planning at the New York City Economic Development Corporation; Warrie Price, president and funder at conservancy group The Battery; Times Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins; Linh Do, senior vice president at environmental consultants AKRF; Steven Barshov, principal at environmental law firm Sive, Paget & Riesel; Brittiny Sessions, principal at B. Sessions Law; and Signe Nielsen, founding principal at Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects.

About the Series, “Open Space Dialogues: New Perspectives in Value, Design, and Delivery”

With the goals of encouraging support for public open spaces and parks, including improvements to existing public amenities, NY4P and WXY have created the new talk series called “Open Space Dialogues: New Perspectives in Value, Design, and Delivery.” The panel discussions bring together leading parks researchers, decision makers, and practitioners from the public and private sector from New York City and beyond.

“New Yorkers for Parks created the Public Realm Bill of Rights for New York City based on what residents of all five boroughs told us they need from their open spaces,” said Lynn B. Kelly, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “Now we’re finding out how we can ensure these rights are met even as the city expands and evolves, and that open space is considered up front in the planning process.”

The Open Space Dialogues series seek to find workable solutions to guarantee healthy, vibrant urban spaces for the 21st century. “The series is about revealing cutting-edge practice and having a dialogue about the current thinking on how to elevate open space as a cornerstone of the rezoning process,” said WXY architecture + urban design’s Weisz. She added that each panel will ask a unique and interrelated set of questions, building up to a unique body of knowledge.

The first event took place in November and focused on value, asking: Why is open space so valuable, and what emerging metrics or valuation tools can help prioritize open space in the redevelopment process? The second panel, held in December, considered the role design plays in the redevelopment process and the creation of open space.

The remaining panels include:

Panel 3: DELIVERY – February 12, 2018, at WeWork Bryant Park.

The third talk will ask, “How do we do it?” Panelists will discuss financial and policy mechanisms to improve the delivery of open spaces and parks for city neighborhoods.

Panel 4: CASE STUDY –April, 2018, location to be announced.

The final talk asks, where do we go from here? Steps are considered for extending the knowledge-building process and making measurable impacts on New York neighborhoods currently undergoing rezoning.

The research-based group New Yorkers for Parks (NY4P) has been funded by the Rockefeller Foundation to lead the discussion series. NY4P is an over 100-year-old citywide advocacy organization championing quality parks and open spaces for all New Yorkers in all neighborhoods. NY4P’s signature research publications include the Open Space Index, City Council District Profiles, and the Report Card on Parks series, and the Civic Action Tracker. WXY architecture + urban design is an award-winning design practice specializing in the realization of architectural, urban design, and planning solutions, with a keen focus on the urban public realm. Recent projects by WXY include the redesign of Astor Place and the innovative, community based planning of the East Harlem neighborhood.

About New Yorkers for Parks

Founded in 1908, New Yorkers for Parks is the citywide independent champion of quality parks and open spaces for all New Yorkers. Through research, advocacy, and the Daffodil Project, NY4P works with communities and elected officials to create and preserve quality open space across the city.

About WXY architecture + urban design

WXY is an award-winning, studio-based multidisciplinary partnership based in New York City. Specializing in the public dimension of design, WXY’s planning, architectural and urban design work is celebrated for its innovative approach on behalf of public and private initiatives. WXY excels in complex urban challenges, education and civic buildings, parks and waterfront developments, and other projects ranging from furniture designs to regional plans. WXY’s integrated design process involves clients and stakeholders, yielding valuable solutions both large and small. Learn more at