Over the course of our three days together, we will join a series of workshops, public life labs, and conversations geared toward building a shared agenda for public life in the public realm. We have curated this program so you can explore each other’s expertise and the city itself. With your participation, we offer a diverse array of experiences that will harness your knowledge and enthusiasm to create a vision for elevating this work everywhere.


5:00PM - 7:30PM

Welcome Reception
Defining Our Values for Public Life

Jeff Risom, Gehl with Kimberly Driggins, City of Detroit Planning and Development Department; Michael DiBerardinis, City of Philadelphia, and Jennifer Keesmaat, City of Toronto

“Spaces,” performed by Hannah Drake, IDEAS xLab





Welcome Remarks
Shin-pei Tsay, Gehl Institute and Jeff Risom, Gehl

9:45AM - 11:45AM

Value Sessions: Operationalizing Our Values in Public Life

How do You Design to Build Trust?
With Natalie Voland, GI Quo Valdis; Leith Sharp, Harvard School of Public Health; and Vanessa Mueggler, GI Quo Vadis

Gender Justice in Public Spaces: Combatting Sexism and Heteronormativity Through Practice
With Michelle O'Connor Hill and Marissa Metelica, Applied Theatre Collective

Healing Communities of Color by Encouraging Self Determination
With James Rojas Place IT; Shin-pei Tsay, Gehl Institute; Justin Garrett Moore New York Public Design Commission

That Bench is Smart: Measuring Public Life Through Sensing Furniture
With Sarah Williams and Hayrettin Gunc, Civic Data Design Lab, MIT; Jason Roberts, Better Block

Making the Urgent Case for Kids and Youth as Stewards in Public Life
With Aisha Alexander, KaBOOM!; James Siegal, KaBOOM!; Erica Mateo, Center for Court Innovation; Adam Mansky, Center for Court Innovation; Julia D Day, Gehl

Equitable Public Space: Social Cohesion, Art, and Placemaking in Practice
With Jamie Hand, ArtPlace America; Hannah Drake, IDEAS xLab Project HEAL; Irfana Jetha Noorani, 11th Street Bridge Park

New Mobility, Public Health, and the Future of City Design With Ben Holland, Rocky Mountain Institute; Jason Roberts Better Block Foundation; Meg Merritt, Nelson Nygaard

NOON - 1:30PM

Keynote by Ron Sims, former Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development

2:00PM - 5:00PM

Public Life Labs
Public life in practice. With the help of public life champions on the ground, these Public Life Labs are designed to help participants explore first-hand the challenges and opportunities by engaging in dialogue with local leaders and community members.

Public Life at City Hall: Empowering Youth Through Civic Education
Location: Philadelphia's historic district and City Hall
Alex Peay, Rising Sons
Brittany Holiday, Hope Partnership

The Chasm & The Prism: Urban Restoration and Magic in the Sorted-Out City
Location: Impact Services Corporation
Molly Kaufman and Aubrey Murdock, University of Orange
Nupur Chaudhury, NYS Health Foundation
Mike O’Bryan, Village of Arts & Humanity
Casey O’Donnell, Impact Services Corporation
Tayyib Smith, Little Giant Creative

Investment and Engagement: How a Community can Reclaim the Commons
Location: Mander Recreation Center, Discovery Center, and Strawberry Mansion CDC
Casey Wang, Hester Street Tonnetta Graham, Strawberry Mansion, CDC
Greg Goldman and Tykee James, Audubon Pennsylvania
Sharon Barr, The Discovery Center
Katie Newsom Pastuszek, Philadelphia Outward Bound School

Placemaking, Civic Engagement, and Their Role in Public Health Location: Delaware River Waterfront (Cherry Street Pier and Race Street Pier
Lizzie Woods, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation
Joe Forkin, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation
Suzanne Nienaber, Center for Active Design
Jennifer Gardner, Gehl Institute

Exploring Rail Park: Adaptive Reuse in Public Space
Location: Rail Park
Melissa Kim, Sarah McEneaney, Tiffany Newmuis, Liz Maillie, Friends of the Rail Park
Jennifer Mahar, Fairmount Park Conservancy

Institutions as Neighbors: Bartram’s Garden and Riverfront Stewardship
Location: Bartram’s Garden
Stephanie Philips, Maitreyi Roy, and Justin DiBerardinis, Bartram’s Garden
Meghan Talarowski, Studio Ludo

The Power of Designing and Building in Public
Location: Public Workshop and Tiny WPA
Alex Gilliam, Public Workshop
Renee Schacht, Tiny WPA
James Wright, Director, Community Economic and Real Estate Development
De’Wayne Drummond, Mantua Civic Association
John Federico, Director of Development, Ralston Center

Parklets, Porches, and Trolley Portals: Trust Building and Iterative Placemaking in University City
Location: The Porch outside 30th Street station, Market Street Bridge, and 40th St Trolley Portal
Nate Hommel, Seth Budick, University City District
Natalie Shieh, Amtrak

When a Park is More than a Park: Self-Determination and Uniting a Neighborhood
Location 1: North Philly Peace Park
Tommy Joshua, North Philly Peace Park
Pili X, North Philly Peace Park
Nyasha Felder, NPPP Design Team
Li Sumpter, PhD, Artist, Director of Community Readiness and Preparedness

Location 2: Mifflin Square Park
Andy Toy, Thoai Nguyen, Sang Phouansouvanh, Somaly Osteen, SEAMAAC


Location: Fairmount Park Horticulture Center
Glow in the Park



Breakfast at Reading Terminal Market

9:30AM - 11:30AM

Exploring Leadership and Governance, and Measuring Our Impact
What Makes a Civic Leader?
Erin Barnes, ioby
Mansfield Frazier, Chateau Hough, Cleveland City Council Candidate
Tommy Joshua, North Philly Peace Park
Alvaro Garcia Resta, Buenos Aires City Government
Tonnetta Graham, Strawberry Mansion CDC

Design for Safety and Health: Governance and Community Design Efforts in New York City and Philadelphia
Shin-pei Tsay, Gehl Institute
Liz Glazer, NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice
Kira Strong and David Gould, Rebuild

Measuring Public Life: an Open Protocol
Camilla Siggaard Andersen, Gehl
Jennifer Gardner, Gehl Institute
Robin Abad Ocubillo, San Francisco Planning Department
Neil Hrushowy, San Francisco Planning Department
Benjamin de la Peña, Seattle Department of Transportation
Susan McLaughlin, Seattle Department of Transportation

Evaluating Our Impact: Telling Stories About Interventions in Public Space
Anna Muessig, Gehl
Jennifer Goold, the Neighborhood Design Center
Maria Bergh, Archeworks
Matthew Kleinmann, Dotte Agency

11:45AM - 1PM

Lunch and Launch:
Public Life Data Protocol Announcement

1PM - 2:00PM

Closing Conversation
Mary Rowe, Urbanist, Toronto, Canada
Maurice Cox and Kimberly Driggins, City of Detroit Planning and Development