Workshop Report: Making Inclusive Urban Places

On Friday Nov. 1, 2019 the Place Leadership Project convened over 125 stakeholders in a community-based research workshop entitled “Making Inclusive Urban Spaces”.  The purpose of the agenda was to explore existing professional practices which seek to design, program and manage urban spaces in a manner by which they become socially inclusive for all.

A diverse set of stakeholders and experts representing multiple sectors and jurisdictions from across the Washington region discussed how they were grappling with some of the most challenging issues facing management in the public realm and how our urban spaces can be more equitable.

Highlights included:

Anita Cozart, Deputy Director at the DC Office of Planning and former Managing Director at Policy Link, set the initial framing for the event, discussing how we are now charged with righting past injustices while intentionally creating places for all.

Gabriella Gomez Mont, Former Director of Innovation for Mexico City & Visiting Fellow of the Georgetown Global Cities Initiative, discussed her experience of radically transforming the processes by which the Mexico City Government engaged its citizens and reshaping the public realm in some of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. 

The workshop concluded with two expert panels focused on the challenges of making urban places socially inclusive. Some strategies covered included how to improve stakeholder engagement, build trust, ingrain equity, develop partnerships and creatively communicate beyond familiar social networks.

Workshop Agenda and Speakers

Welcome and Introduction

Uwe Brandes, Faculty Director, Urban & Regional Planning Program

Reflection: What is Place-based Inclusion?

Anita Cozart, Deputy Director, DC Office of Planning; Former Managing Director, Policy Link 

Panel Discussion: Typologies of Place-based Social Inclusion Practice

  • Lucresha Murphy, Manager, Alexandria “PARKnership” Program 
  • Anwar Saleem, Executive Director, H Street Main Street 
  • Al Frank, Senior Vice President, Capital Commercial Properties, Inc., Eden Center
  • Neil Burka, Senior Regional Property Manager, Federal Realty Investment Trust
  • John Tschiderer, Senior VP of Development, Federal Realty Investment
  • Stacie West, Director of Parks Projects, NoMA Parks Foundation
  • Pat Revord, Director of Technology and Community Engagement, The Wharf 


Keynote: Place-based Strategies of Inclusion in Mexico City

Gabriella Gomez Mont, Former Director of Innovation, Municipality of Mexico City; Visiting Fellow, Georgetown Global Cities Initiative

Panel Discussion: Implementation Challenges

Moderator: Ellen McCarthy, Faculty, Urban & Regional Planning Program, Georgetown University

  • Neil Albert, President & CEO, Downtown DC BID
  • Hansel Bauman, Campus Architect, Gallaudet University; Co-Founder, DeafSpace Project 
  • Eric Rasch, Operations Manager, Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza at Montgomery County 
  • Stacie West, Director of Parks Projects, NoMA Parks Foundation

Conclusion and Next Steps