How Can Science-Informed Design Empower the Cities of Tomorrow?




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Oct 03, 2019
by Oscar Tollast
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How Can Science-Informed Design Empower the Cities of Tomorrow?

Salzburg Global Seminar proud to be a partner of Conscious Cities Festival 2019, bringing together leading experts, practitioners and the general public to explore how to create healthier and more inclusive cities Photo from Conscious Cities Festival

How can we design cities that promote social cohesion so that communities thrive through challenges, ensuring individuals aren’t left behind? What can we change in our approach to planning for families and older adults that champions better health and accessibility to the full benefits of city life? How can we create conditions for mental health to become a priority in how we design our streets and buildings?

Salzburg Global Seminar is delighted to be a partner for this year's Conscious Cities Festival, taking place at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York City, between October 15-18.

The festival will provide a four-day learning environment to explore how science-informed design can create a healthier, more inclusive city. Using a multidisciplinary approach grounded in the principles of racial equity and social justice, the festival aims to facilitate dialogue among individuals, organizations, and institutions working towards common goals in efforts to spur collaborative and creative solutions for achieving just communities.
Each day of the festival will tackle pressing issues facing urban population, grouped into four themes: Social Resilience, Families, Aging, and Mental Health. The event will include feature talks by:

  • Harriet Harris, Dean of the Pratt School of Architecture, Pratt Institute
  • Diane Davis, Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design
  • Gary Belkin, ThriveNYC and Executive Deputy Commissioner at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Claudi Herasme, Chief Urban Design, NYC Department of Planning
  • Cynthia Nikitin, Senior Vice President at Project for Public Spaces
  • Sarah Williams Goldhagen, Managing Director of Human Centered Design at Turf Advisory, author of Welcome to Your World
  • Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Professor of Psychology at Temple University
  • Jo Ivey Boufford, President of the New York Academy of Medicine, Age-friendly NYC,
  • Susan Magsamen, Executive Director, International Arts and Mind Lab, Brain Science Institute, Johns Hopkins University
  • Andrew Brown, Associate Director of Research, Van Alen Institute
  • Upali Nanda, Director of Research, HKS Architects

Representatives of New York City Hall and other city agencies are also expected to be speakers.

The Conscious Cities movement began in 2015 after the publication of its manifesto in The Guardian. Since then, numerous events and publications have contributed to promoting positive social impact through design that is grounded in research and evidence. The Centre for Conscious Design (CCD) is a think tank focused on using design to address urban issues facing society today and in the future.

Salzburg Global Fellow Itai Palti is director of the CCD. He has attended two Salzburg Global programs, including Building Healthy, Equitable Communities: The Role of Inclusive Urban Development and Investment, and Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Event Information

Place: Higgins Hall, Pratt Institute, 61 St James Pl, Brooklyn, NY
Time: October, 15-18, 2019, 6:00 PM
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For further information, comments and press inquiries please contact Anastasia at