Neighborhoods Now Kickoff

Friday, June 26, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color, and threatens to expand the racial wealth gap in neighborhoods that already lack access to resources as a result of long-term structural inequities. In response, the Urban Design Forum and the Van Alen Institute launched Neighborhoods Now, an initiative connecting four neighborhoods hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic with over twenty leading design firms and community health experts to develop safe and effective reopening strategies this summer.

To kickoff Neighborhoods Now, we hosted a public forum with our participating designers and invited experts where we invited our community partners in Bed-Stuy, Washington Heights, Kingsbridge and Jackson Heights to preview some of the economic and health challenges facing their neighborhoods. Then, to build foundational knowledge, we welcomed an exciting panel of experts in epidemiology, materials science, economic development, land-use policy and hospitality to inspire the collaborative design process and inform our neighborhood recovery strategies.


Leslie Ramos
Executive Director, 82nd Street BID

Rachel Joseph
Director of Operations and Administration, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation

Medina Sadiq, J.D.
Executive Director, Bed-Stuy Gateway BID

Leah James
Lead Organizer, Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition

Jackie Tesman
Project Manager, Community League of the Heights

Yvonne Stennett
Executive Director, Community League of the Heights