Beyond the studios and classrooms, GSAPP will deepen its partnerships with organizations that support Black and other professionals of color spanning the disciplines and practices of the built environment—including architects, planners, preservationists, designers, and developers—and are dedicated to the critical work of providing opportunities for underrepresented students and professionals. These efforts also focus on strengthening the School’s relationship with its immediate community and neighborhood. To this end, GSAPP is collaborating with the New York Coalition of Black Architects/NOMA to support its Project Pipeline initiative, which advocates for increased inclusiveness, diversity, fellowship, equity, and excellence in design and serves a diverse population of students who are underrepresented in the design field. For the third year, GSAPP will continue its sponsorship of the NOMA National Conference, which brings together design professionals from around the country. A number of conference tickets will again be made available to interested GSAPP students.
Over the past two years, GSAPP’s MSRED faculty, alumni, and students have been deepening an ongoing collaboration with Project Destined, an organization that provides training in financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and real estate to underserved youth. During Summer 2020, a group of MSRED alumni and students—including Rasul Hafizov ’19 MSRED, Michael Adelstein ’21 MSRED, and Brian Joonmo Yang ’20 MSRED, among others—served as mentors for Project Destined student teams. During the Fall 2020 semester, MSRED Program Director Patrice Derrington is co-teaching a course with Project Destined founder Cedric Bobo at CUNY-Lehman College.
Since launching in Fall 2019, the GSAPP Housing Lab has focused on how existing buildings inside cities can increase inclusion, resilience, and access. Professors Lance Freeman and Mario Gooden will serve as faculty advisors during the 2020-2021 academic year. The Lab identified low-rise, high-density multi-household buildings as a space of critical opportunity in New York City. Like many urban areas, New York’s housing crisis pushes vulnerable households further to the margins of opportunity, health, and access. This deepens entrenched patterns of exclusion along lines of race, age, ethnicity, gender, and immigration status. In July, the Housing Lab hosted an Action Hour to discuss current projects and plans to more explicitly integrate an anti-racist agenda into its current engagements, methods of working, and connections with the broader GSAPP community. In particular, the Lab is working to engage local partners in Harlem and Queens and to develop research that can address the exclusionary and racist legacies of housing in New York City. The meeting was enriched by alumni involvement including—Mark Barksdale ‘76 MS Health Services & Design ‘84 MSUP, Victor Body-Lawson ‘84 MARCH, Cecily King '15 MSRED, and Sharon Sutton '73 MARCH—who joined to provide valuable feedback and will continue to participate in the Lab during the Fall 2020 semester.
The GSAPP Alumni Board is an important partner in strengthening ties with the School’s alumni community across the generations and around the world. The active involvement of this generous network enables mentorship and support among alumni and students, enriches career services resources and opportunities, and provides advocacy on behalf of GSAPP to help expand partnerships and community outreach both locally and afar. As a result of numerous meetings throughout the summer, the Alumni Board dedicated its August 24 session to re-defining its mission, developing a new Committee structure for the Board’s immediate and ongoing work, and integrating a sustained commitment to equity and anti-racism in each of its efforts that can be shared with the alumni community on a regular basis. The Board also announced the appointment of Ruth Benjamin ‘10 M.Arch as President and Jennifer Romeo ‘12 M.Arch as Vice President, who will serve two-year terms. Read more.