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Friends of MICD,

Thank you for making our first round of virtual seminars a success! In our first four seminars, seven design experts hosted candid conversations that reached mayors and staff from 43 cities in 22 states. With a median city size of 88,000, these mayors gained new perspectives on monuments, parks, community safety, and streets and shared what's working in each of their cities. You can watch all four presentations below.

As we press on in this difficult year, we're hearing that while COVID-19 has added a layer of urgency and complexity to your decision-making, mayors still have a need for expertise and idea-sharing on a wide range of overlapping issues. We'll be back after a brief hiatus during the political conventions; stay tuned for our next seminar announcements soon. 

Below, in our latest seminar, Zabe Bent, Dr. Destiny Thomas, and Ariel Ward led a critical, nuanced conversation about "slow streets" programs and equity. As your cities launch or tweak new rapid-response programs that reuse street space, how do you ensure they are contributing to the safety and quality of life for the residents who need it most? Watch this presentation to learn about different frameworks your city departments can use to infuse safety, equity, and justice into every urgent decision.

Mayors: what other topics would you like to see? Designers: what would you like to present on? Let me know at

Trinity Simons
Executive Director
Mayors' Institute on City Design


Streets for Pandemic Response & Recovery

Zabe Bent  |  Director of Design, NACTO
Dr. Destiny Thomas  |  Founder and CEO, Thrivance Group
Ariel Ward  |  Transportation Engineer, SFMTA

In this seminar, our speakers 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. Watch the recording to learn about several frameworks for making design and policy decisions rooted in equity.
Watch the Presentation


Parks Are Your New Asset

Ernest Wong  |  Founder and Principal, site design group

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. Watch Ernie's presentation below.

Watch the Presentation


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

Ifeoma Ebo  |  Founding Director, Creative Urban Alchemy

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. Watch Ifeoma's inspiring presentation below.
Watch the Presentation


Monuments: Reckoning with the Past, Envisioning the Future


Paul Farber  |  Artistic Director and Co-Founder, Monument Lab
Bryan Lee  |  Founder and Design Principle, Colloqate Design

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, the speakers discussed strategies for representing unheard stories and offered ways in which mayors can mediate difficult conversations to encourage healing and unity. Watch the poignant presentation from Bryan Lee and Paul Farber below.
Watch the Presentation
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.

Mayors' Institute on City Design
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