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2016 Placemaking Network Seminar Series

4th Monday of the month, 6:00-7:30pm

January 25, 2016
The Concept of Layering in Architecture and Placemaking
Speaker: Anne-Catrin Schultz, Author & Asst. Professor of Architecture, Wentworth Institute of Technology
Anne-Catrin Schultz, author of Carlo Scarpa—Layers (2015) and Asst. Professor of Architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology, will examine the principle of layering in architecture, its mechanics, possible application and narrative in architecture and urban planning. Layering is widely used in the discussions of the 20th and 21st century architecture but rarely defined or closely examined. Layering can be seen as a system for the creation and analysis of place (and architectural space) over time and has the potential to act as a nonhierarchical design principle. Layered planes and layered spaces communicate a sense of complexity and depth carrying function, program and narrative at the same time. The book introduced looks at archaeological examples of urban layering, it reviews layered spaces from different cultures and discusses the material layering of architectural skins. The conceptual discussions and built examples explored in the book expand the term layering and offer an in-depth overview of its potential.

February 22, 2016
Creating a Retail and Restaurant Row
Marc Margulies, Principal, Margulies Perruzzi Architects
Signe Nielsen, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects
What does it take to convert a little-used street into a vibrant retail & restaurant row? What are the logistical and political challenges? What are the successful design features? What can the role of such a place be within the urban public realm? Marc Margulies of Margulies Perruzzi Architects and Signe Nielsen or Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects will present two restaurant row projects: plans for the upcoming conversion of Thomson Place in Boston’s Innovation District, and the conversion of Stone Street in New York City’s finance district, whose success is demonstrated by its popularity over the past ten years. A discussion will follow. 

April 25, 2016
What's Wrong With the Sustainable Design We Have Today?
Co-sponsored by the Committee on Resilient Environments (CORE), the Committee on the Environment (COTE) and the Foundation for Modern Architecture 
Speakers: Michael Mehaffy, Structura Naturalis Inc., Portland, OR
Jennifer Light, MIT Professor of Science, Technology and Society

Plenty, says Michael Mehaffy, a leading authority on the emerging field of "Agile Design" and its potential for disruptive impact on architectural practice and placemaking. Architect magazine says that Mehaffy seeks to "radically change the way people think." Ward Cunningham, the inventor of Wiki and a pioneer of Agile Methodology, says Mehaffy "lucidly describes what's coming in the world of design and what needs to come."
Taking theory into action, Mehaffy has developed new open-source design technologies based upon Christopher Alexander's "Pattern Language" concept. Mehaffy has collaborated closely in this work with Alexander, and with Ward Cunningham – a pioneer not only of Wiki and Agile, but also of open source software development and Pattern Languages of Programming. During Mehaffy's talk, he will share the practical lessons for urban architecture and development, as well as others learned from Portland, Oregon, his home base, that may help us here in Boston.
The issues discussed could not be more urgent. Evidence is growing that "bolt-on" technological approaches will not be enough to solve the seminal challenge of our time: climate change, along with the related issues of resource depletion, ecological destruction and contamination. Growing numbers of people now recognize that we must fundamentally rethink how technology in general, and design technology specifically, will work to meet those challenges. But what is the alternative? Where are we headed in the future of design? And how might the histories of science and technology help us think strategically about the choices ahead?
This event was co-sponsored by the Committee on Resilient Environments (CORE), the Committee on the Environment (COTE) and the Foundation for Modern Architecture.

May 16, 2016 
Transformative Parks and Open Space
Speakers: Jereck Boss, ASLA, Principal, OJB and Cody Klein, VP, OJB Boston
What are the successful elements of an urban park? How are successful open spaces planned? What role does program¬ming public spaces play in the ultimate success of urban parks? As more cities become aware of the benefits associated with the creation of well-programmed public open spaces, a va¬riety of program elements and improvements are being incorporated into today’s parks. Formulating such an open space requires an understanding of culture, connectivity, stewardship and community. Jereck Boss and Cody Klein will present four case study parks that are shaping this new American Green: Klyde Warren Park, ULI Urban Open Space Award Winner 2014; Myriad Botanical Gardens, ULI Urban Open Space Award Winner 2015; LeBauer Park and Levy Park.

June 20, 2016
Placemaking in the Public Realm
Speaker: Dan Biederman, Head, Bryant Park Conservancy & Biederman Redevelopment Ventures
Dan Biederman, president of Biederman Redevelopment Ventures and head of the Bryant Park Corporation and the 34th Street Partnership, is responsible for the renovation of Bryant Park in NYC and its operation as America’s best-used, privately managed public park. In Boston, he has led the renovation of the Brewer Fountain Plaza in the Boston Common, the programming upgrades at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, and currently oversees events and sponsorships for Equity Office Properties at South Station and consults with MIT on their east campus gateway and Kendall Square Initiatives.

September 26, 2016
The Biometrics of Placemaking- Why we need buildings to see us. 
Ann Sussman AIA, co-author of Cognitive Architecture, 
Janice Ward, 
Vernon Woodworth FAIA, 
The speakers will explore how subconscious behaviors govern our experience in the built environment and how 'seeing' these hidden predispositions with biometric tools can help us understand what makes places successful. They will review eye-tracked images from their June cover story in Planning Magazine. They will also discuss our human-centric perception and the fact that seeing and being seen by others is important and that we are happiest and most at ease around objects that seem to ‘see’ us too.

October 24, 2016
Big Data for Small Places
Elizabeth Christoforetti and Will Cohen,
Supernormal is a design and planning practice that uses data to inform and improve urban development outcomes. Elizabeth Christoforetti and Will Cohen will discuss how their work systematizes the use of quantitative data and translates it into qualitative place-based recommendations. These efforts are reflected in their study of the public realm in Downtown Crossing, and in their project to create a set of planning and design metrics for urban and suburban conditions in cities across the U.S.
November 7, 2016
The Value of Light in Urban Placemaking 
Moderator: Todd Lee, 
A distinguished panel will discuss the principles behind using lighting to help reinforce the perceptions of place in cities, examples of local area installations, the efforts to place-make in Boston’s Fort Point Channel using light and brand it as a nighttime destination, and future plans for the Congress Street Bridge. The panel will include Keith Yancey, Lam Partners; Ben Colburn, Light Boston; and David Dixon, Stantec. The evening complemented the Light Boston session at ABX 2016.