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13 May 2020

Van Alen Institute Announces Brooklyn Bridge Programs, May 27-28

Organization will host Instagram Live tour of Brooklyn Bridge and interdisciplinary panel discussion on transportation infrastructure

(May 13, 2020—New York, NY)—Van Alen Institute today announced two programs presented in conjunction with the design competition Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge. The free, virtual programs include an Instagram Live tour of the Brooklyn Bridge and a panel discussion on transportation infrastructure as public space. When Van Alen first announced Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge, the bridge’s iconic promenade was a daily battle for space between pedestrians, cyclists, and vendors. Today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the promenade is all but empty — a startling reminder of the different world in which we now live. With these programs, Van Alen will use the competition as a starting point to discuss and debate how to shape our urban spaces in a post-pandemic time.

Note: Submissions for Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge are now closed.

Tour | The Ultimate Insider’s Brooklyn Bridge

Wednesday, May 27, 5 pm

Location: Instagram Live with @van_alen

Join Kriss Roebling, New York historian and documentarian, for a special virtual tour of the Brooklyn Bridge. The great-great-grandson of Emily and Washington Roebling, builders of the Brooklyn Bridge, Kriss will guide us through the bridge’s nooks and crannies, while sharing a wealth of family tales, insights, and heirlooms previously unknown to the public. Watch as Kriss’ stories bring the beauty and inspiring history of the bridge to life in a virtual experience not to be missed.

To participate, follow @van_alen on Instagram.

Panel | Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge: Transportation Infrastructure as Public Space

Thursday, May 28, 6:30 pm

Location: Zoom

On a typical day, over 10,000 pedestrians and 2,600 bicyclists traverse the Brooklyn Bridge using a pathway as narrow as 10 feet in some places. In normal times, these conditions could be described as uncomfortable. In the context of a pandemic, they are dangerous.

As sheltering orders ease, we know the Brooklyn Bridge and the City at large cannot return to business as usual. How can we welcome people back to our streets and public spaces, while observing immediate needs for social distancing? How can we make people comfortable and safe, ensuring our infrastructure serves pedestrians and cyclists now and for the long term? We’ve invited leaders in urban design, transportation, and public policy to share their ideas, and offer insight into how cities can redesign existing bridges, parks, plazas, and streets to be better well into the future.

Panelists include:

  • Allison Arieff, Editorial Director, SPUR
  • Laura Bliss, West Coast Bureau Chief, CityLab (moderator)
  • Jennifer Bradley, Director, Center for Urban Innovation, Aspen Institute
  • Tamika Butler, Director of Planning, California and Director of Equity and Inclusion, Toole Design
  • Shin-Pei Tsay, Director, Policy, Cities and Transportation, Uber

To participate, register here.

About Van Alen Institute

Van Alen Institute helps cities and communities build social and physical resilience through inclusive design. Van Alen collaborates with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than a century of experience, Van Alen works to develop cross disciplinary research, provocative public programs and inventive design competitions.

With a core belief in an interdisciplinary approach to design, the Van Alen team has backgrounds in urban planning, public health, civic advocacy, community engagement, and arts and culture.

See all work at vanalen.org.


Alisha Kim Levin, Director of Communications, Van Alen Institute