Winning submission by Joseph Wood for Reimagining the Waterfront ideas competition for the Esplanade

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Art, Design, and the Urban Environment.

Co-organized by the National Academy and CIVITAS, Art, Design and the Urban Environment is a discussion series that explores how artists and architects—as well as activists, grassroots organizers, scientists, urban planners, and city agencies—can work together to improve urban environments in meaningful ways.

Themed topics, related to local issues facing the Upper East Side and East Harlem communities, serve as a catalyst for an interdisciplinary conversation that addresses concerns facing the New York community at large.

Freshkills Park: A Model for New York Recycling & Environmental Justice
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 / 6:30 PM, reception at 8 PM – RSVP

Panelists: Tatiana Choulika, principal, James Corner Field Operations and project manager of the firm’s Freshkill Park Project; Ted Nabavi, chemist and engineer and Director of Landfill Engineering for the Department of Sanitation; Jill Fehrenbacher, founder and editor-in-chief of Inhabitat. Moderated by Eloise Hirsh, Freshkills Park Administrator and President of the Freshkills Park Alliance.


Landscape Futures and the East River Esplanade
Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Panelists: Laurie Olin, NA, founder and principal of OLIN Studio; Signe Nielsen, principal at Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects; Vishaan Chakrabarti, principal at SHoP Architects and SHoP Construction. Moderated by Mitchell Silver, Commissioner Dept. of Parks and Recreation, FAICP.

Historic Preservation and the Park Avenue Historic District
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Panelists: Samuel G. White FAIA, LEED AP, Partner PBDW Architects, and National Academician; Franny Eberhart, Board President of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic  District; Robert Quinlan, Principal and founder of Quinlan Development Group, former Chairman of the Historic House Trust of New York City. Moderated by Alan G. Brake, executive editor, The Architect’s Newspaper and an HDC Design Awards juror.

Water and the East River Esplanade
Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Bringing together policy makers, conservation experts, curators, and designers, this panel examined issues of water and the revitalization of waterfront spaces within the context of the East River Esplanade. Stretching from 63th to 125th Streets, the East River Esplanade is a large public space plagued by maintenance problems that could serve a major recreational and environmental need for the densely developed East Harlem and the Upper East Side neighborhoods.

Urban Revitalization and East Harlem Rezoning 
Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Focusing on urban revitalization through the lens of East Harlem rezoning and updated land use policies, this panel looked specifically at projects currently under way in East Harlem, including the renovation of the former P.S.109 into affordable live and work space for artists, and the transformation of La Marqueta, a marketplace under the Metro North railway tracks between 111th and 116th Streets that was once the economic and social center of the neighborhood.

Transportation and the Second Avenue Subway
Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Panelists discussed the construction of the Second Avenue Subway as a starting point for a conversation on transportation infrastructure. How can urban design and public art transform street-level spaces to be more functional, and beautify below-ground levels on a grand scale?

About the National Academy
The National Academy is a community of artists, students, museum-goers, and supporters of the arts. Since 1825, the National Academy Museum, School, and association of esteemed artists and architects—National Academicians—have been united in the common goal of bringing art to all through arts education and exhibition. Building and sharing the heritage of the arts in America is central to our mission.

Architecture has been integral to the Academy since its inception. Each year, prominent artists and architects are elected into the National Academy and architect members include nine Pritzker Prize laureates, eleven National Medal of Arts winners, three MacArthur Fellows, dozens of Fellows of the AIA, and numerous Rome Prize winners.

Founded in 1981, the mission of CIVITAS is to foster, mobilize, and coordinate civic concern in the community of Manhattan’s Upper East Side and East Harlem. To that end, CIVITAS seeks to promote, preserve, and protect residential neighborhoods that are lively and livable. For more information, visit

The National Academy Museum & School is grateful to the following for their generous support of our operations: The Bodman Foundation, The Bonnie Cashin Fund, in honor of Henry W. Grady, the Alex J. Ettl Foundation, the F. Donald Kenney Exhibition Fund, The Estate of Geoffrey Wagner in memory of Colleen Browning, NA, The Reed Foundation, Inc. and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

CIVITAS is grateful to the following for their generous support of our operations: The New York Community Trust, J.M. Kaplan Fund, BTIG, and to our many members and supporters.

If you are interested in supporting these programs, please contact the National Academy at 212.369.4885.