Learning from Streetscapes for Wellness *** This event was postponed due to inclement weather. New date coming soon!***

Cover by MGMT.design; Photo courtesy StreetLab

How can new approaches to streetscapes improve quality of place and quality of life?

Streets make up over a quarter of New York City’s land area, serving as public corridors that define how we navigate and experience the city. Given their significance in our city’s landscape, it’s no wonder that the design of streetscapes has a tangible and measurable impact on the well-being of New Yorkers. The designers, planners, and caretakers of the public realm, in partnership with community-based organizations, have developed a wide range of interventions to improve our city’s physical, mental, community, and environmental health. These projects, ranging from temporarily pedestrianizing streets to redesigning corridors for multimodal transport, can be seen in residential, commercial, and industrial areas, as well as in parkland, throughout the five boroughs.

Designing New York: Streetscapes for Wellness serves as a source of inspiration for policymakers, practitioners, and community advocates seeking to reimagine streets and promote public health. In celebration of this remarkable publication, Open House New York is kicking off its Public Policy Talks series with Learning from Streetscapes for Wellness. Hear from Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Sue Donoghue and Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, alongside Sreoshy Banerjea, Executive Director of the Public Design Commission, about how this comprehensive resource will guide decision making and priority setting for projects in their relevant agencies. Streetscapes for Wellness author, Jenna E. Miller (PDC), Streetscapes for Wellness partner Jennifer Nitzky (ASLA-NY and The Fine Arts Federation of New York), and other thought leaders who contributed to this groundbreaking resource including representatives from the Department of Parks & Recreation, Department of Transportation, Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, and Van Alen Institute, will discuss the importance of community-driven streetscape design and highlight notable case studies.

AIA CES credit (2LU|HSW) is available for this program.

This event is presented in partnership with the Public Design Commission and made possible through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.


  • Presentation of case studies from Streetscapes for Wellness
    • Jenna Miller, Deputy Director – Urban Design & Policy, NYC Public Design Commission
    • Jennifer Nitzky, Senior Landscape Architect, Studio Hip and Trustee, ASLA NY
  • Discussion with Commissioners of agencies highlighted in Streetscapes for Wellness with audience Q&A
    • Sreoshy Banerjea, Executive Director, NYC Public Design Commission
    • Commissioner Sue Donoghue, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
    • Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, NYC Department of Transportation
    • Moderator: Pamela Puchalski, Executive Director, Open House New York
  • Panel discussion with stakeholders outside of city government about the importance of community-driven design and what it achieves
    • Deborah Marton, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute & PDC Commissioner
    • Jenna Miller, Deputy Director – Urban Design & Policy, NYC Public Design Commission
    • Jennifer Nitzky, Trustee, American Society of Landscape Architects NY
    • Moderator: Ya-Ting Liu, Chief Public Realm Officer, NYC Office of the Mayor
  • Panel discussion with city agency leads on how their respective departments collaborate on realizing community-driven design
    • Neil Gagliardi, Director of Urban Design, NYC Department of Transportation
    • Erick Gregory, Chief Urban Designer, New York City Department of City Planning
    • Joshua Langham, Acting Director – Active Design, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
    • Nancy Prince, Chief of Landscape Architecture, Department of Parks & Recreation
    • Moderator: Ya-Ting Liu, Chief Public Realm Officer, NYC Office of the Mayor

Speaker Bios:

Sreoshy Banerjea is the Executive Director of NYC’s Public Design Commission, which reviews new structures, art installations, and landscape architecture projects on City-owned property. She previously served as the Vice President of Urban Design for the NYC Economic Development Corporation, where she shaped the master plans for renovation and development of EDC assets. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she founded Design Corps, which arranged partnerships between volunteer architects and restaurants to design outdoor structures.

Sue Donoghue, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation since February 2022, was previously the city’s Prospect Park Administrator, as well as the President of the Prospect Park Alliance. In these roles, Commissioner Donoghue directed the day-to-day operations of Prospect Park and led fundraising initiatives for capital improvements and restoration efforts.

Neil Gagliardi, Director of Urban Design, NYC Department of Transportation

Erick Gregory, Chief Urban Designer, New York City Department of City Planning

Joshua Langham is the Acting Director of the Active Design program in the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention within the Center for Health Equity and Community Wellness at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. His work focuses on increasing opportunities for physical activity and overall health through the design of the built environment. Josh’s multi-agency and cross-disciplinary projects and programs aim to implement Active Design strategies in citywide policies and initiatives. His team is currently leading the update to the City’s Active Design Guidelines, which aims to incorporate guidelines that go beyond the promotion of physical activity, but to promote mental health and social cohesion with a racial justice and equity lens. He has a degree in landscape architecture from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.

Ya-Ting Liu, the city’s first-ever Chief Public Realm Officer, was appointed by Mayor Adams in February 2023. In this role, she will coordinate across city government, community organizations, and the private sector to create extraordinary public spaces across the entire city and continue to drive the city’s economic recovery. She will continue to concurrently serve as chief strategy officer to Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. Before entering city government, Liu worked as the director of government affairs and policy for the rideshare company Via, as sustainability program director for the New York League of Conservation Voters, as director of transit advocacy for Transportation Alternatives, and in federal advocacy for the Tri-State Transportation Campaign.

Deborah Marton is Executive Director of Van Alen Institute, an independent non-profit working to create equitable cities through inclusive design. A leading voice on the intersection of environmental and social justice, she was previously Executive Director of New York Restoration Project, where she completed fulfillment of the private sector commitment to plant a million trees as part of New York City’s MillionTreesNYC initiative and lead creation and/or renovation of more than 50 community garden spaces throughout New York City’s most under resourced communities. In her previous role as Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space, Deborah launched the Taxi 07 program, resulting in a new purpose-built NYC taxi. Deborah is a Commissioner on the NYC Public Design Commission.

Jenna Miller is Deputy Director, Urban Design and Policy at the Public Design Commission. A LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design and Construction and co-founder of RUEd’ ARCH LLC, Jenna has designed and managed a breadth of public and private design/build and architectural projects in New York, Massachusetts, and abroad. At PDC, Jenna oversees interagency urban design and policy initiatives and working groups, particularly those with a focus on the public realm, new technology, security, equity and justice. She manages the agency’s geospatial analysis and data visualization, the PDC Annual Report, the Designing New York: Streetscapes for Wellness initiative, and special projects related to OneNYC 2050 and the Sustainable Development Goals, and she strives to promote and develop strategies for improved equity and excellence of design in the City.

Jennifer Nitzky is a Landscape Architect and Certified Arborist with 25+ years of experience in urban design, streetscapes, parks & playgrounds, and green infrastructure. The Design Principal at Studio HIP, she focuses on community-oriented planning and design process; leading workshops and hands-on community activities to create dynamic and equitable public spaces. As a consultant to the Trust for Public Land, Jennifer has played a pivotal role in helping to transform more than 200 NYC schoolyards into vibrant green playgrounds. She is dedicated to elevating the health and wellness of the public realm through collaborative community-based design. As an Urban Design Forum Fellow, she participated in the Streets Ahead initiative to envision a more vibrant, equitable streetscape for New York City. She also collaborated with the NYC Public Design Commission on the Streetscapes for Wellness publication. Jennifer is a Fellow and Trustee of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Vice President of the Fine Arts Federation of New York, a member of the NYC Pollinator Working Group, and a past Manhattan Community Board 7 member.

Nancy Price, Chief of Landscape Architecture, Department of Parks & Recreation

Pamela Puchalski is the Executive Director of Open House New York, where she extends the principles that OHNY stands for and celebrates—openness, access, and diversity—to neighborhoods across the city. Pamela led in strategic planning, program design, and fundraising for a range of organizations in the U.S. and internationally across public, private, and nonprofit sectors, including Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities, Tishman Speyer, and The Africa Center. Her recent efforts to foster inclusive economic growth include co-founding the Global Institute on Innovation Districts. As Executive Director of The American Assembly, she incubated the national Middle Neighborhoods movement. She was also part of the core team behind Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities and launched the Global Cities Initiative at Brookings Institution.

Ydanis Rodriguez, appointed Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation in January 2022, aims to make New York the most walkable and bikeable city in the nation. To this end, he is leading initiatives to increase investment in NYC’s Streets Master Plan and to fulfill DOT’s pledge to redesign 1,000 intersections across the city. Commissioner Rodriguez previously represented NYC City Council’s 10th District (Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill), chairing its transportation committee from 2014-2021.


Public Policy Talks is a new series of public programs about new and evolving public policies impacting quality of place. Tailored for the general public, these discussions will demystify how the city functions and who it serves. The aim is to break down what may seem like complicated policy measures for broad audiences and to help residents understand the current administration’s priorities. Above all, these talks will illuminate how public sector investments in the physical realm are improving the city’s resilience, cultural vitality, social cohesion, and economic opportunity. 

The Public Design Commission (PDC) is New York City’s design review agency, and has jurisdiction over permanent structures, landscape architecture, and art proposed on or over City-owned property. The mission of the PDC is to advocate for innovative, sustainable, and equitable design of public spaces and civic structures, with a goal of improving the public realm and therefore related services for all New Yorkers throughout the five boroughs.

Registration for this event is free, but space is limited. RSVP to secure your spot.

Doors will open at 4:30pm. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please arrive early to pass through security.

1 Centre Street
New York, NY 10007