1. In the news | Summer 2022

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    The Van Alen network has been busy this summer! We’re thrilled to share a few recent accomplishments and accolades…

    Van Alen Board member Nnenna Lynch was named Chairwoman of the Board for the New York Road Runners (NYRR). Upon the announcement, she said, “Running has been a lifelong passion of mine, and after eight years of serving as a Board Member supporting NYRR’s community impact initiatives, I’m looking forward to serving in this role to help further NYRR’s presence in the community for future generations.”

    As a 2022 League Prize winner, design team Dept. spoke with the Architectural League of New York about Good Neighbor Stormwater Park. Located in North Miami, FL, this a stormwater retention basin doubles as a public park, and was an outcome of our 2019 initiative Keeping CurrentDept. principal Isaac Stein noted, “So many stormwater management projects are just holes in the ground that are fenced off and are very much not part of the community. I think the success of our approach was that we thought of the park as something that could tie together both public space and stormwater management.”

    Van Alen Board member Kia Weatherspoon and Point of Action designer Nina Cooke John were celebrated by the Future Rising initiative. Presented by Oprah Daily and Hearst Magazines, Future Rising tells the stories of 49 Black leaders across disciplines. Catch up with these conversations with Kia Weatherspoon in Veranda and Nina Cooke John in ELLE Decor.

  2. Jayantha Obeysekera

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    Jayantha Obeysekera served as chief modeler at the South Florida Water Management District as technical lead for climate-change and sea-level-rise issues. He served as a member of the federal advisory committee directing the development of the National Climate Assessment in 2014 and was a lead author for its Southeast Chapter. Obeysekera also served as a member of the Coastal Assessment Regional Scenario Working Group associated with the U.S. Department of Defense. He was also a co-author of the Global and Regional Sea Level Rise Scenarios for United States report published by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2017. Obeysekera holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from University of Sri Lanka, an M. Eng. from University of Roorkee, India, and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from Colorado State University with specialization in water resources. Currently he serves as an affiliate research professor at Florida Atlantic University. He has served a member of several committees of the U.S. National Academy of Science covering major water resources projects in Oregon, California, and Texas.

  3. Jeremy Alain Siegel

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    Jeremy has been working with BIG since the establishment of its New York office in 2010, and brings a focus on issues of urbanism, landscape, infrastructure, and climate change adaptation. Jeremy led the BIG team in its winning “Big U” proposal for the federal Rebuild by Design competition, and now leads urban design of the subsequent East Side Coastal Resiliency project, as well as the studio’s broader resiliency efforts for public and institutional clients including the City of New York, Rockefeller Foundation, UN-Habitat, Google, and the University of California. Jeremy is a Forefront Fellow with the Urban Design Forum, and lectures frequently on issues of resilient design and planning. He has taught at Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Parsons School of Constructed Environments.

  4. Marta Viciedo

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    Marta Viciedo is a Miami-based urbanist and social impact entrepreneur. Marta co-founded Urban Impact Lab, a civic innovation and placemaking firm in Miami that introduces and applies innovation-based solutions to civic and urban challenges. Marta leads the UI Lab team in producing place-based programs, designing and developing creative placemaking projects, engaging in public policy development, and incubating solutions-oriented initiatives and organizations.

    Marta also serves on several boards including Transit Alliance Miami and the Miami Downtown Development Authority, and is a graduate of The Miami Foundation’s Miami Fellows program, Class IX.

    Marta holds a Masters in Urban & Regional Planning and has a background in biology and scientific research. She lives in Downtown Miami with her husband and two daughters. Through her various roles, Marta is committed to Miami’s healthy, resilient and prosperous development.

  5. Germane Barnes

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    Germane Barnes is the Director of Studio Barnes, a testing ground for the physical and theoretical investigations of architecture’s social and political agency. His design and research contributions have been published and exhibited in several international publications and institutions. Most notably, The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, The New York Times, DesignMIAMI/ Art Basel, Architect Magazine and The National Museum of African American History, where he was identified as a member of black design professionals Reshifting the Landscape, challenging the status quo in architecture and urbanism.

  6. Debbie Love

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    Debbie Love is a certified planner with over 30 years of experience in urban design, land use planning and development.  She has served as Project Manager/Primary Author of a wide variety of planning initiatives throughout Florida, including regional, city-wide and neighborhood master plans; comprehensive plans; land development code rewrites; water supply plans; sector plans; waterfront revitalization; resiliency and sustainability plans; housing plans; floodplain and hazard mitigation strategies; and CRA plans.   Ms. Love is also a certified public facilitator and conflict management specialist.

  7. Akin Ozaydin

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    Akin Ozaydin is a engineer with the City of North Miami’s Public Works department.

  8. Terra

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    Terra is an integrated development firm in South Florida focused on creating sustainable, design-oriented communities that enhance neighborhoods and bring people together.

  9. The Miami Foundation

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    Since 1967, The Miami Foundation has used civic leadership, community investment and philanthropy to improve the quality of life for everyone who calls Greater Miami home. We partner with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 1,000 personalized, philanthropic Funds. Thanks to them, we have awarded over $250 million in grants and currently manage more than $300 million in assets to build a better Miami. As the Foundation marks our 50th anniversary, we are celebrating great Miamians who have championed what matters to them, encouraging all residents to share their Miami stories and unite around the causes they care about. 

  10. The Kresge Foundation

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    The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2016, the Board of Trustees approved 474 grants totaling $141.5 million and made 14 social-investment commitments totaling $50.8 million.