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ASLA-NY 4 CEUs and a Beer (BYOB): Site Design Strategies for Health and Wellness


Thursday, October 22, 2020 @ 1:00 pm EDT
Thursday, October 22, 2020 @ 5:00 pm EDT


Start: Thursday, October 22, 2020 @ 1:00 pm EDT
End: Thursday, October 22, 2020 @ 5:00 pm EDT

As landscape architects, we must consider and integrate a myriad of factors into our constructs.  The current pandemic has shed light on the heightened need for addressing all aspects of wellness – mind, body and spirit, and how our connection to the natural world is more important than ever. How we develop our site: from orientation, programming, and circulation, down to the very last detail of plant and pavement selection — each of these decisions has the ability to affect the user experience on a multitude of levels. 

At our next Semi-Annual 4 CEUs Panel, we are excited to bring experts from a range of perspectives to the table to focus specifically on one of these levels: the links between mental health and design. Please join us in this series of lectures and moderated panel. Happy hour and discussion to follow.


Speakers and Sessions:

Nélida Quintero, PhD, Environmental Psychologist and Architect, The Center for Urban Design and Mental Health.

Well-being and the City: Exploring Connections between Urban Design and Mental Health.  The link between urban design and mental health is particularly relevant now as people steadily migrate from rural areas to urban centers. By 2050 The United Nations estimates that 68% of the global population will live in cities. Various social and physical aspects of the urban environment may affect psychological well-being both positively and negatively. Exposure to urban environmental stressors, such air and noise pollution, limited access to public and green spaces, crowding, and increased socio-economic inequity among others, have been shown to heighten the propensity towards mood and anxiety disorders, and chronic mental and medical conditions. This presentation will consist of an overview of current research findings and design recommendations that explore the impact of contemporary conditions of urban life, highlighting the need for green, accessible, pro-social and safe spaces in the city, in order to promote and sustain urban well-being.

Nélida Quintero, Ph.D. is an environmental psychologist and licensed architect based in New York.  She is an American Psychological Association NGO Representative at the United Nations, member of the NGO Committee on Ageing/NY Executive Committee and the Habitat Civil Society Working Group as well as Fellow of The Center for Urban Design and Mental Health.


David Storto, President of Partners Continuing Care and Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Inclusive Landscape Design and Reclamation of the Land: The Story of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.  Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is one of the world’s leading rehabilitation institutions committed to patient care, teaching, research and advocacy. Spaulding cares for some of the most catastrophically injured and ill patient populations (e.g., spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke), as well as a wide variety of more minor musculoskeletal and sports related injuries. Spaulding is home to Harvard Medical School’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, with a large residency and research enterprise.

Spaulding will celebrate its 50th Anniversary this fall, but opened a new state-of-the-art flagship facility in the Charlestown Navy Yard on the Boston Harbor in April 2013. David will describe the vision for the new hospital, discuss the interior and exterior design principles and will tell the story about building the new hospital with an emphasis on the outdoor landscape. This will include the remediation of the soil, the reclamation and reuse of some of its contents and use of outdoor spaces for therapeutic purposes and to promote the assimilation of patients and their families with the residential community.

David E. Storto is the President of Partners Continuing Care and the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network. Under Mr. Storto’s leadership since 1998, PCC has grown and been developed as the fully integrated non-acute care services division of Partners HealthCare based in Boston, Massachusetts. PCC includes two inpatient rehabilitation hospitals with 25 outpatient centers, a long-term acute-care hospitals, and a skilled nursing facilities, together recognized as the SRN. Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is the highly ranked and internationally recognized flagship of the SRN and is home to the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.


Britt Zuckerman, RLA, Dirtworks Landscape Architecture

Nature is Healing.  If we want everyone to participate in public life, we must design and build an inclusive public realm that is accessible to all. Public life can’t just be for the abled, young or healthy. Everyone navigates the built environment differently, with abilities changing across a person’s lifespan. We will study design ideas that honor the human condition and create spaces that welcome everyone regardless of capability. Exposure to nature and green space is proven to provide mental, cognitive and physical health benefits.  With careful programming, detailing and thinking, these landscapes can create sensory experiences. Gardens can be educational, therapeutic, or for individual exploration and contemplation. We will learn about designing meaningful spaces while also fostering ecological resilience and supporting biodiversity. Nature is a healing partner; a connection to nature requires a sensitivity to the human condition and spirit, a sensitivity to place and sensitivity to the environment. 

Britt Zuckerman has over nine years of design experience focused on commercial, high-end residential and institutional projects. Britt is a Registered Landscape Architect, and holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University, where she graduated at the top of her class.  She also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from NYU’s Gallatin School.  As Dirtworks’ Senior Landscape Architect, Britt has worked on a number of award-winning designs in New York City, the Northeast, Utah and Alabama.  She brings a deep proficiency in technical design and production platforms combined with the artistry of hand drawing. At Dirtworks, Britt develops projects from initial concept through construction, while also overseeing quality control in office standards, as well as professional development.  She has participated in numerous speaking engagements and panels including: The Project for Public Spaces’ International Placemaking Week conference, AIA’s New York Chapter, NYC Parks Dept, and The North Shore Garden Club.


Sadiya Muqueeth, DrPH, Director of Community Health, The Trust for Public Land 

Beyond Healthcare: Elevating Nature and Open Space as a Determinant of Community Health.  Factors outside health care, namely the conditions in which we live, learn, work, and play, can drive our disease outcomes. Increasingly, access to high quality parks and greenspace is being elevated as a driver for health and well-being. This presentation defines social determinants of health and health equity, describes the burden of outcomes associated with mental health, and reviews public health literature around benefits of access to parks and greenspaces.

Sadiya Muqueeth is the Director of Community Health at the Trust for Public Land where she works to elevate nature as a tool for community health. Her previous experience ranges from strengthening the global public health workforce in a policy office at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to leading a task force on preventing substance-exposed pregnancies as part of the Baltimore City Health Department’s strategy to address infant mortality. Sadiya is also a former Peace Corps volunteer (Paraguay) and global health consultant trained in community-based participatory research. Sadiya earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Public Health Studies from Johns Hopkins University, her Masters of Public Health in Health Behavior from University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and her Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health with a concentration in Humanitarian Studies, Ethics, and Human Rights


Moderated by:

Jennifer Nitzky, RLA, ASLA, ISA

Jennifer is a Registered Landscape Architect and ISA Certified Arborist with over 20 years of experience in urban planning, parks, playgrounds, campus design, and green roofs. She is skilled in community-oriented planning and design processes, leading workshops, design charrettes and hands-on activities. As lead designer and project manager for a wide range of projects from concept through construction, she has the ability to identify the greater contextual vision of a project and develop the intricate details to make the project a reality. As Design Principal at Studio HIP, her main focus is transforming asphalt schoolyards into green playgrounds through student participatory design for the Trust for Public Land’s award winning NYC Playgrounds Program.

She is passionate about expanding awareness of the profession and is a strong advocate for landscape and environmental issues through social media outlets. Her love for plants, planting design and life-long play is a driving force for inspiration and spiritual balance in life – taking a break from the hustle of city living to experience natural and designed landscapes whenever possible. Jennifer grew up in Michigan, earned a B.S. in Architectural Design at Bowling Green State University and a Master of Landscape Architecture at Ball State University.



This event is generously sponsored by:



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