Creating Inclusive and Resilient Public Spaces
Inspiring Design: Creating Beautiful, Just, and Resilient Places in America

Hosted in partnership with the Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy as a part of its 2021 Spring Myra Kraft Open Classroom, Inspiring Design: Creating Beautiful, Just, and Resilient Places in America explores the role of design in cities.

The series is presented in partnership with the Association of Architecture Organizations, Association of Collegiate Schools of ArchitectureBoston Society for Architecture, and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.

There is increasing evidence demonstrating the economic, environmental, and health benefits of public parks and open spaces. How do we ensure that they are open, accessible, and inclusive to all, meeting community needs and addressing environmental demands while fostering community? Landscape architects Mikyoung Kim, Founding Principal of Mikyoung Kim Design, and Kaki Martin, Principal of Klopfer Martin Design Group, joined Deborah Marton, Executive Director of the Van Alen Institute, for a conversation about the process of creating inclusive and resilient public spaces. Kim and Martin will drew upon their experiences designing urban landscapes in cities across the world, including Klopfer Martin’s The Steel Yard (2013 RBA Silver Medalist) in Providence, and Marton discussed the 126-year-old Van Alen Institute’s current efforts to create equitable cities through inclusive design.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand and describe how investment in inclusive and resilient public spaces can address community welfare and affect economic, environmental, and social change.
  • Discuss the value of engaging in collaborative public private partnerships in the planning, design, and development of public spaces.
  • Identify and describe examples of inclusive and resilient public spaces.
  • Discuss common challenges to designing inclusive and resilient spaces and strategies for overcoming them.

This session was recorded on Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 as part of Northeastern University’s Myra Kraft Open Classroom 2021 Spring series. ASLA and APA continuing education credits are available thanks to partnerships with Boston Society of Landscape Architects and the American Planning Association, Ohio Chapter.


Mikyoung Kim, Founding Principal, Mikyoung Kim Design
Mikyoung Kim is an award-winning international designer who brings innovative ideas to the urban landscape. She is known for culturally significant designs that serve as a powerful tool to celebrate the beauty of the collective human experience. Mikyoung’s diverse background in design and sculpture has shaped her body of work, blurring the boundaries between landscape architecture and environmental art. From children’s playgrounds to city parks and urban master plans, her work reflects a deep commitment to memorable place making that captures the public imagination. Her landscapes bring a richly layered civic experience to the public realm that engages the senses for a multi-generational audience.

Deborah Marton, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute
Deborah Marton believes democracy demands shared spaces that communicate respect, dignity, and beauty. Since joining Van Alen Institute in 2019, Deborah has led major initiatives that put community interests at the heart of the public realm, such as Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge, an international design competition with the New York City Council to rethink the iconic Brooklyn Bridge walkway as a center of equity, accessibility, and sustainability; Neighborhoods Now, an ongoing initiative with the Urban Design Forum to channel pro-bono resources from New York-based design firms into community-driven pandemic recovery strategies; and expanding Van Alen’s Public Realm R&D program, which surfaces the work of emerging designers through temporary installations that test new strategies to bring people together in public space.

Kaki Martin, Principal, Klopfer Martin Design Group
Kaki Martin is Principal at Klopfer Martin Design Group and the current president of the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA). She is a landscape architect with over twenty years of practice experience focused on park design and urban streetscapes, institutional and open space master planning, and experiential learning landscapes. She is keenly interested and knowledgeable in the design and construction of public urban landscapes. With extensive public design process experience, Kaki has led numerous multi-disciplinary projects in the public sector, all of which included a wide range of stakeholder groups. She is passionate about the process of finding solidarity with stakeholders and expressing a co-created vision using artful and contemporary solutions which deliver landscapes that engage and build community.

Anne-Marie Lubenau (moderator), FAIA, is the director of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence at the Bruner Foundation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An architect, educator and writer, she is an advocate for engaging people in the design of the built environment and increasing awareness of its impact on our lives. She contributes regularly to national and international publications and forums on design and urban development and is a member of the Boston Civic Design Commission, Harvard GSD Alumni Council, and the Association of Architecture Organization’s board of directors. She holds a BArch from Carnegie Mellon and was a 2012 Harvard Loeb Fellow.

Ted Landsmark (facilitator) is a Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs; Director, Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. Ted is an architect, attorney, academic, and civil rights activist who serves as one of five members of the Boston Planning and Development Agency.




The Steel Yard Case Study (2013 RBA Silver Medalist)

The Steel Yard in Providence, Rhode Island. Courtesy Klopfer Martin Design.

The Steel Yard is an industrial arts campus and small business incubator in Providence, Rhode Island. The Steel Yard redeveloped a historic steel fabrication facility into a campus for arts education, job training, and small-scale manufacturing. For more information about The Steel Yard check out the Rudy Bruner Award case study to learn about the project’s urban context and history, leadership and vision, collaborative partnerships, design and development, financing, operations and programming, and impact.

Neighborhoods Now

Outdoor dining area constructed for Tropical Rotisserie on Sedgwick Avenue. Courtesy Cameron Blaylock on behalf of Val Alen Institute.
  • Neighborhoods Now connects New York City neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with design firms in Van Alen Insititue‘s collective network. With new coalitions of designers, engineers, and landscape architects, working groups from New York City neighborhoods convert underutilized outdoor spaces as sites for community programming and cultural revitalization.

New York Restoration Project (NYRP)

Essex Street Community Garden (after). A series of large, raised planting beds enclosed by low stone walls provide ample space for cultivating vegetables and herbs. Courtesy New York Restoration Project.
  • New York Restoration Project (NYRP) is a non-profit organization driven by the conviction that all New Yorkers deserve beautiful, high-quality public space within ready walking distance of their homes. Van Alen Institute has partnered with NYRP to planted trees, renovate gardens, restore parks, and transform open space for communities throughout New York City’s five boroughs. As New York’s only citywide conservancy, NYRP brings private resources to spaces that lack adequate municipal support, fortifying the City’s aging infrastructure and creating a healthier environment for those who live in the most densely populated and least green neighborhoods.