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u feel ok?:
Health & NYC

Van Alen’s 2017 Fall Festival focused on checking up on designing for health in the city. We explored questions like: How does the shape of the city impact our health? What is the physical imprint of healthcare in a city as dense as New York? How can designers and everyday citizens create spaces for everyone to thrive? We prescribed the urgent topic of health to design and other arenas like transportation, land value, and race, through three days of back-to-back debates, tours, and provocations across New York City.

Triborough Gardens of Healing
Saturday, Nov 11, 11:30am-1:00pm
Walking Tour & Discussion
Presented with Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanic Garden
1000 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island

What potentials do the city’s natural refuges hold for health and healing in response to illness, trauma, nutritional deficiency, and everyday stress? The festival started with a tour of the Garden of Healing, established by the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden in response to the September 11 attacks. Following the tour, participants joined us in the Winter Garden for a discussion of how flora, design, and community can support one another

This event was designated for AIA CES (1.5 LU | HSW) and ASLA CES (1.5 LU | HSW).

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Wellness at Westbeth: Mind/Body/Spirit Equilibrium on the Urban Front Lines
Saturday, Nov 11, 4:00pm-6:00pm
Mindfulness and Movement Workshop
Presented by Johanna Climenko, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW-R), Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT), Board Certified Dance/ Movement Therapist (BC-DMT),  and Corinna Hiller Brown LCAT, BC-DMT
Westbeth Artists Housing
55 Bethune Street

How do we survive the sensory onslaught of navigating daily life in New York City, acquire the necessary self-care resources to maintain mindfulness, and find space to reap the bounty of the city’s artistic and cultural resources? Participants joined licensed creative arts and dance movement therapists Johanna Climenko and Corinna Hiller Brown in a secret-treasure studio space at the western edge of Manhattan for a sunset collaborative-movement workshop to foster mind, body, and spirit equilibrium.

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Emergency Contact: New Ideas for Neighborhood Mental Health Centers
Sunday, Nov 12, 11:00am-5:00pm
Flash Competition
Kinfolk 94
94 Wythe Ave
Brooklyn

How could a system of street-level mental health treatment centers provide responsive and accessible care for those in crises or seeking regular mental health care? This fast-paced, one-day design competition invited multidisciplinary teams to propose designs that can change the way that New Yorkers perceive and directly engage with mental health care in their neighborhoods through street-level mental health centers, while also improving access to and awareness of existing resources.

This event was designated for AIA CES (2 LU | HSW) and ASLA CES (2 LU | HSW).

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Van Alen Book Club: Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital
Sunday, Nov 12, 11:30am-1:00pm
Van Alen Institute
30 West 22nd Street

No other hospital can provide a better background for a compelling history of health and medical practices in New York City than Bellevue Hospital. Participants joined Van Alen Book Club for a boozy Sunday brunch edition of our monthly discussions of books on the turbulent chronicles of the oldest public hospital in the United States as told by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David Oshinsky.

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St. Vincent’s Love Triangle: Sexual Health, Civil Rights, and Memory in the Village Health Centers
Sunday, Nov 12, 2:00pm-3:30pm
Walking Tour
New York City AIDS Memorial at St. Vincent’s Triangle
200-218 W 12th St

The gentrified landscape of the Village conceals a battleground for reproductive and LGBT rights. We continued the festival with a walking tour of the area’s hidden sexual health history and activism flashpoints with guide Robert Brenner. The former St. Vincent’s Hospital—which played a central role at the height of the HIV / AIDS epidemic and has now been converted into luxury condos that tower across from the new NYC AIDS Memorial—served as a point of departure as we explored the neighborhood amid shifting land values and the fight for sexual and reproductive rights.

This event was designated for ASLA CES (1.5 LU | HSW).

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Van Alen Variety Show
Sunday, Nov 12, 6:00pm-8:00pm
Kinfolk 94
94 Wythe Ave
Brooklyn

We had a fast-paced evening of performance, provocations, and presentations as we explored the frontier of health and the city. Attendees witnessed proposals from the flash competition, Emergency Contact: New Ideas for Neighborhood Mental Health Centers; beheld the cutting-edge of brainwave mapping with architect Toru Hasegawa and open source biosensing technology pioneer Joel Murphy; and listened to musical performances that mix medicine and sound.

This event was designated for ASLA CES (1.5 LU | HSW).

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Person Place Thing: Mary Travis Bassett
Monday, Nov 13, 7:00pm-8:30pm
Live Radio Show
Van Alen Institute
30 West 22nd Street

We concluded the festival with a captivating conversation between Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since 2014, and former “Ethicist” columnist for The New York Times, Randy Cohen, in a live recording of the radio show Person Place Thing. Dr. Bassett told us about a person, a place, and a thing that shaped her current work on well-being in cities.

This event was designated for AIA CES (1.5 LU | HSW) and ASLA CES (1.5 LU | HSW).

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These programs were made possible through our Program Leadership Council, co-chaired by Andy Bernheimer (Bernheimer Architecture), Katherine Chia (Desai Chia Architecture), Sara Grant (Murphy Burnham and Buttrick Architects), Stephan Jaklitsch (Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects),  Matthew Moss (Think Construction), and Joel Sanders (Joel Sanders Architect).

Thank you to council members Ramona Albert, Elliot Berkowitz, Jennifer Bolstad, Matthew Bremer, Chip Brian, David Briggs, Jerry Caldari, Philipp von Dalwig, Koray Duman, Kevin Erickson, Lisa Frazar, Jared Gilbert, Chris Hughes, Scott Hughes, Andrew Kotchen, Drew Lang, Amy Lau, David Leven, Gareth Mahon, Michael Manfredi, Philippe Meyersohn, Ted Porter, James Ramsey, Juergen Riehm, Carol Swedlow, Michael Szivos, Jonce Walker, Marion Weiss, and Stephen Yablon.

The programs were supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.