Lance Jay Brown
President & Founding Board Member, Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, New York, USA
Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, DPACSA, architect, urban designer, educator, author. His 2014 American Institute of Architects NY Chapter Presidential theme: Civic Vision, Civic Spirit expressed his lifelong commitment to civic health and the importance of the public realm. He is ACSA Distinguished Professor , Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture, CCNY, CUNY, served as assistant director at the Design Arts Program at the NEA, as advisor to the World Trade Center Site 9/11 International Memorial Design Competition and Boston's 9/11 memorial Competition. Awards include: AIA New York State President’s Award for Excellence in Non‐traditional Architecture and the most prestigious AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. He is Founding Co‐Chair of the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee. As a Founding Board member of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, he helped plan and participated in Habitat III in Quito. He holds an M.Arch and M.Arch in Urban Design from Harvard and was a Fulbright Fellow in Paris. Publications include: Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space, The Legacy Project: New Housing New York: Best Practices in Affordable, Sustainable, Replicable Housing Design, and the co-authored Urban Design for an Urban Century: Shaping More Livable Equitable, and Resilient Cities.
Insight from "Expert Group Discussion with the Audience - How will our cities look like in the post-COVID-19 world?"
Lance pointed out the idea of a huge taxonomy represented by the broad definitions of public space, open space, and public realm. While Luisa showed examples of byways and intersections, streets and squares as public space, common in many European cities, many in the United States consider open space only as green space like Central Park. Founded and planned with a capitalist rationale, the city of New York maximized tax ratable plots and left little space for public use, this resulted in a lack of large paved open spaces and squares. The opening of Central Park and small squares along Broadway are small exceptions. Until now, residents in Manhattan do not have access to any large public space and can only resort to streets. This shows the contrast between green and hard spaces, which Lance considered as agile spaces that as demonstrated perfectly in Barcelona, when equipped with simple infrastructure, can be planned and designed for multiple activities and uses. While in the States, spaces are very often over-programed and lack such adaptability. Lance raised another example in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, where the historic market central square was turned into a heavily planned area during Communist era to prevent public gathering, and underwent a transformation these days to create a green space that allows multiple uses and prioritizes pedestrians. Responding to the current situations, Lance called for spaces of greater agility, allowing more than one purpose for the multi-faceted society while at the same time balancing basic needs. The current pandemic created a great opportunity, an “open season” on rethinking shared spaces. Lance closed with bringing the idea of how Zurich has set up a role of Director of Public Space, this office reviews everything that takes place in the public realm to ensure the best spaces and management are in place.