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Friends of MICD,

By popular demand, our next Mayors' Virtual Seminar will be on Helping Restaurants Prepare for Winter, October 14 at 12:00pm Eastern. We'll talk through the question on everyone's minds as winter approaches: how will our communities and local businesses adapt when cold weather makes outdoor social distancing a challenge? We’ll be looking at innovative policy solutions as well as creative design solutions, and we're delighted to have two speakers, Shawn Townsend and Kathy Hollinger, who have new ideas and deep on-the-ground expertise helping local restaurants right here in Washington, DC. 

You can also watch our most recent presentation on helping main streets and small businesses survive the pandemic with Kennedy Smith. While the conversation among mayors was off-the-record, we're glad to share Kennedy's detailed look at dozens of strategies to help adapt to this challenging time.

And for the next seminar we’re planning, resource team, we could use your help: what inventive and responsive community engagement strategies are you seeing deployed during the pandemic, particularly those that center the voices and experiences of those traditionally underrepresented in planning processes? Send me an email and let me know: we’ll be sure to share them with mayors, and may bring you in to join during the seminar. 

Trinity Simons
Executive Director
Mayors' Institute on City Design


Mayors' Virtual Seminar: Helping Restaurants Prepare for Winter

Wednesday, October 14  |  12:00 - 1:00pm ET
In this seminar, mayors will explore policy and design ideas for helping restaurants adapt to cold weather through safely distanced, winterized outdoor dining. Hear from Shawn Townsend, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture, about the new Streatery Winter Ready Grant program in Washington, DC, which will provide cash assistance to restaurants as they winterize their outdoor dining areas. Kathy Hollinger, President & CEO of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, will share the on-the-ground strategies DC restaurants are employing as they prepare for the colder weather ahead.
Participating mayors will take away new ideas to help restaurants survive the next phase of the pandemic and participate in a group discussion about challenges and opportunities in their own cities. Mayors are encouraged to invite staff members to listen in; the presentation portion will be available to the public after the event.
Mayors: Register Now

Resource Team: What have you learned about community engagement during the pandemic?

Resource Team alumni: we’re looking for leads for our next Mayors' Virtual Seminar. Mayors have been asking for new ideas and strategies for community engagement during the pandemic. Let us know what you’re doing or what innovative work you have seen from others in recent months. We’ll be sure to share your examples with mayors, or may invite you to present.

What community engagement strategies are on your radar?
Let us know at

Introducing: MICD Session Reunions

While our in-person programming remains on hold, we were thrilled to add a new item to our virtual offerings: MICD session reunions! We were delighted to host participants from our 73rd National Session (last fall in Albuquerque, NM) recently to hear informal updates about the mayors' case study projects, get fresh ideas from the Resource Team, and generally reconnect.

Mayors and Resource Team members who attended a 2019 session — stay tuned for information about your reunion!


Helping Main Streets and Small Businesses Survive the Pandemic

Kennedy Smith  |  Senior Researcher, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

In this seminar, commercial district expert Kennedy Smith shared actionable lessons for mayors based on her recent publication, Safeguarding Small Business During The Pandemic: 26 Strategies For Local Leaders. As small businesses and main streets face the existential threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, mayors have made rapid-fire policy decisions to help them survive the immediate future. This presentation offers a chance to step back and focus on medium-term solutions (helping small businesses and main streets adapt and pivot) and long-term solutions (fixing systemic problems that the pandemic has laid bare).
Watch Presentation


More Past Presentations

Design Solutions for Retrofitting Suburban-Style Retail and Housing

In this seminar, Ellen Dunham-Jones, co-author of Retrofitting Suburbia and host of the REDESIGNING CITIES podcast, presented five case studies in which city leaders have formed key partnerships to transform suburban-style properties into more equitable, more resilient, and more economically vibrant neighborhoods.

Streets for Pandemic Response & Recovery

In this seminar, Zabe Bent, Dr. Destiny Thomas, and Ariel Ward explored the various ways city transportation agencies have managed dramatic shifts in mobility in recent months. In their powerful presentations, they encouraged mayors to think deeply about who rapid-response projects benefit and to design for the safety and quality of life for those who need it most. 


Parks Are Your New Asset

As COVID-19 has crippled our cities, parks have become the new assets of the public realm. In this seminar, renowned landscape architect Ernest Wong helped mayors explore a variety of park design solutions to encourage social distancing and healthy travel, as well as policy ideas to promote park maintenance while driving solutions for other social equity issues. 

Safe Places, Active Spaces: A Design-Based Approach to Community Safety 

This powerful seminar introduced mayors to the BlackSpace Manifesto, a guide for a design process that centers community safety and empowerment in historically marginalized communities. Architect and planner Ifeoma Ebo shared examples of successful projects that reimagined the space around public housing, parks, streetscapes and more through community-powered design.

Monuments: Reckoning with the Past, Envisioning the Future

As cities grapple with critical conversations about monuments and public space, mayors can lead by creating spaces for communities to heal and move towards a more equitable future. In this seminar, Bryan Lee, Jr. and Paul Farber discussed strategies for representing unheard stories and offered ways in which mayors can mediate difficult conversations to encourage healing and unity. 

The Mayors’ Institute on City Design is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Since 1986, the Mayors’ Institute has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities.
Copyright © 2020 Mayors' Institute on City Design, All rights reserved.

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