The Restorative City: Designing New York City with Health at the Center

Actions Panel

The Restorative City: Designing New York City with Health at the Center

A one-day convening bringing together urban planners, city officials, public health experts, and advocates to plan a healthy NYC!

By Design Trust for Public Space

When and where

Date and time

Thursday, May 11 · 9am - 6pm EDT


Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice 320 East 43rd Street New York, NY 10017

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 7 days before event
Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

About this event

  • 9 hours
  • Mobile eTicket

The Restorative City is a one-day convening that will bring together urban planners, city officials, neighborhood advocates, and public health experts to center health equity in the design and planning of New York City. This special event will elevate important conversations about community health, environmental justice, social resilience, and design excellence as core drivers of how New Yorkers, especially those most vulnerable, can thrive. It is an open, inclusive call to action for New York City's next chapter.

Join us in-person at the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, or virtually, for a restorative day of panel discussions, performances, and workshops geared towards building community wellness through public space and the built environment. View the full agenda below and look forward to sessions on environmental justice, impact of public art access on health, new visions for the city, civic participation, and more, with featured storytelling testimonies from designers who are working to bridge the divide between design and public health.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Michelle Morse, Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Commissioner at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Betsy MacLean, Chief Engagement Officer at the NYC Mayor's Office
  • Jen Hughes, Senior Advisor to the Chair on Partnerships, Expansion, & Innovation at the National Endowment of the Arts
  • John Douglas, Director of Land Use at the Brooklyn Borough President's Office
  • Matthew Clarke, Executive Director of the Design Trust for Public Space
  • Theo Oshiro, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York
  • Yin Kong, Co-founder and Director of Think!Chinatown
  • Alexandra Shoneyin, Founder of Forest Avenue COMEunity Fridge
  • Eran Chen, AIA, Founding Principal and Executive Director of ODA
  • Kim Kessler, Assistant Commissioner NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Kizzy Charles-Guzmán, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Climate and Environmental Justice
  • Dara Byrne, PhD, Dean of William E. Macaulay Honors College
  • Special guest performances by local artists
  • and more to be announced!

Lunch and refreshments will be provided for in-person attendees. The event at the Ford Foundation will be followed by a closing garden reception. Please include any dietary restrictions or special needs in our accessibility intake available with ticket purchase. If this event is cost-prohibitive, reach out to us for support options for students and vulnerable community members.

The Restorative City is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Mellon Foundation, W Architecture and Landscape Architecture LLP, Curtis Ginsberg Architects LLP, ODA, HKS, and HOK. Click here to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.


We want to hear from New Yorkers! Tell us: what makes you feel well?

Questions? Interested in being an event volunteer? Contact


9:00 AM - 10:00 AM


Design Trust for Public Space

We will get the day started with coffee and pastries followed by a short presentation. *Guests do not have to attend every session, but event registration is mandatory. Staff will be on site all day ...

10:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Welcome & Introduction

Opening remarks from the Design Trust for Public Space.

10:15 AM - 11:00 AM

Opening Plenary: Seeing the Built Environment as a Tool for Health Equity

The opening session will set the day’s conversation by introducing key subjects such as the social determinants of health, setting racism as the top line health issue, and highlighting the connection...

11:10 AM - 12:00 PM

Session Two: Environmental Change and Justice

Environmental justice and health equity are inextricable. The impacts of climate change disproportionately burden historically marginalized communities, an inequity which is only growing. This sessio...

1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Session Three: The Culture of Wellbeing

Access to arts and culture provides measurable benefits to our individual and collective health. Yet inequitable access to arts, marginalization of cultures, and breakdown of social capital limit thi...

2:30 PM - 2:40 PM

Interlude: Special Guest Artist Performance & Guided Stretch

2:40 PM - 3:40 PM

Session Four: A Vision for a Healthy New York

The current administration has recently released plans that intersect with the built environment and health equity. This session will examine these intersections and discuss opportunities to create a...

4:10 PM - 5:00 PM

Session Five: Activated and Engaged Citizenry

A core structural driver of health equity in design is an engaged, active, and empowered citizenry. At this session, hear from a panel of leaders in civic participation and distributed decision-makin...

5:15 PM - 5:30 PM

Closing Remarks

Design Trust for Public Space Executive Director Matthew Clarke will close out the day with final remarks plus a poetry reading by Shayla Lawson.

5:30 PM

Garden Reception

End the day with toast to the healthy future of New York City.

About the organizer

The Design Trust for Public Space is a nonprofit organization dedicated to unlocking the potential of public space in New York City.

From $28.52