• BlackSpaces: Brownsville
    Ifeoma Ebo, Daphne Lundi, Kenyada (Kenyatta) McLean, Justin Garrett Moore, and BlackSpace: Emma Osore
    BlackSpace, 2019

BlackSpace Synthesis Session: BlackSpace team synthesizes the stories and interviews of Black Brownsvillians, 2018, New York. Photo: Bill Duffie.

BlackSpaces: Brownsville has three components: 1) community heritage research, sourcing, and outreach to neighborhood residents, 2) two “heritage happenings” in the community with the location and programming to be developed in consultation with local stakeholders, and 3) compiling a community heritage conservation toolkit or playbook. The toolkit/playbook document record the process and provide references and resources for Brownsville (and similarly situated community’s) residents that honors and develops their neighborhood heritage conservation initiatives.

Emma Osore is a social architect who builds systems that develop young people within their economic, social, and environmental realities. She is currently the program manager at Americans for the Arts overseeing creative content, operations, audiences, programs, and partnerships for 5 signature arts and business leadership programs focused on equity in the NYC arts management pipeline and training artists/arts nonprofit leaders to build social enterprises. She is also a commissioned artist. Her creativity and resourcefulness come from growing up working class and admiring that the systems of poor people have always been pretty damn innovative. For BlackSpaces: Brownsville she is the program director to co-develop program framework and publication, manage internal people and logistics operations, as well as payment and budget schedule.

Kenyada (Kenyatta) McLean is interested in ensuring marginalized communities have access and opportunity to rebuild their own neighborhoods leveraging both traditional and innovative urban planning and economic development tools. She believes all social change begins with empowerment. As an economic development practitioner, she has held positions within NYC local government, California state legislature, and planning focused non-profits. Kenyatta currently does independent consulting on economic development, non-profit capacity building, and commercial revitalization projects. For BlackSpaces: Brownsville is the program director to co-develop program framework and publication, manage external partnerships, and ensure project goals and timelines are met.

Justin Garrett Moore is an urban designer and the executive director of the NYC Public Design Commission. He has extensive experience in urban design and city planning—from large-scale urban systems, policies, and projects to grassroots and community-focused planning, design, and arts initiatives. At the Public Design Commission, his work is focused on prioritizing the quality and excellence of the public realm, and fostering accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in the City’s public buildings, spaces, and art. He is a member of the American Planning Association, the Urban Design Forum, Next City’s Vanguard, and serves on the faculty at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. For BlackSpaces: Brownsville, he is the outreach lead to support marketing and promotion efforts and helps drive community support and visibility in the design fields.

Ifeoma Ebo is an urban designer and strategist who strives to be a catalyst for social justice and design activism while addressing challenges of the urban milieu. Currently, as the senior design advisor with the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, she is the project lead for the Mayor’s Neighborhood Activation project—an interagency initiative exploring the use of design to address crime prevention and public safety in marginalized communities across NYC. In addition, she provides design guidance towards the development of more humane Criminal Justice facilities incorporating concepts of Equity and Procedural Justice. For BlackSpaces: Brownsville, she is the research lead to guide resident-led research and content and helps facilitate community outreach meetings.

Daphne Lundi is an Urban Planner focused on climate resilience and neighborhood planning at the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP). As a Brooklyn native and child of Haitian immigrants, she is deeply focused on creating planning practices that are open and environmentally focused. She currently conducts youth urban planning workshops a member of the American Planning Association NYC Diversity Committee, and as an Advisory Board Member for the Octavia Project, a science-fiction focused summer program for teen girls in Brooklyn that uses the lens of science fiction to learn about science, engineering, writing, and design. For BlackSpaces: Brownsville, she is Technical Lead to draft curriculum and lead youth programming, support mapping and design charrette activities, and co-develop the arts activation component.

Quardean Lewis-Allen founded the nonprofit youth creative agency Made in Brownsville (MiB) in 2013 to provide a gateway for young people in his native Brownsville community to learn marketable hard skills in STEAM, access postsecondary education, gain or create employment, and rebuild their community in a way that benefits residents. He teaches Architecture at City University of New York City College and is a 2016 Echoing Green Black Male Achievement Fellow. Prior to starting MiB, Quardean was the inaugural recipient of Community Solutions’ Greg “Jocko” Jackson Community Fellowship at the Brownsville Partnership. He has worked for the global architecture firm, Perkins Eastman. His work has been exhibited at Le Laboratoire in Paris, at the Afrika Museum in the Netherlands, and Harvard University. For BlackSpaces: Brownsville he is the strategic partnerships lead connecting Brownsville and BlackSpace individuals and teams together in meaningful ways.

BlackSpace was founded in November 2015 after a group of us met at Harvard's Black in Design Conference. Our mission is to nurture and support Black people in fields of influence that shape our social and spatial environments. We promote and protect Black communities through collaborations that strengthen Black assets. We bridge gaps between policy, people, and place to realize equity and justice. We are moving away from perfunctory forms of engagement and instead towards urbanism that recognizes, affirms, and amplifies Black agency.