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ASLANY: Climate Action Forum


Friday, September 8, 2023 @ 9:00 am EDT
Friday, September 8, 2023 @ 1:00 pm EDT


Cornell lower Manhattan
26 Broadway, NY NY




Start: Friday, September 8, 2023 @ 9:00 am EDT
End: Friday, September 8, 2023 @ 1:00 pm EDT



The ASLA New York Chapter’s Climate Action Committee is planning its first Climate Action FORUM on September 8, 2023, an annual convening of professionals from across sectors addressing aspects of the ongoing climate emergency and targeted, actionable strategies for landscape professionals. This fall’s FORUM topic will be HEAT(ED), addressing the themes of urban heat: social equity, heat island effect, plant resilience, and air quality, particularly timely given the recent hazardous atmospheric conditions due to the Canadian wildfires this June. Subtopics for landscape architects include strategies for selecting adaptive/resilient plant palettes and heat-mitigating hardscape materials given the many impacts of an increasingly warmer urban climate. 

Forum Schedule:
9:00am – Check in & Coffee
9:20am – Welcome & Introduction
9:30am – 10:20am – Session I
10:20am- 10:30am – Break
10:30am – 11:20am- Session II
11:20am – 11:30am- Break
11:30am – 12:20pm – Session III
12:20pm- 12:30pm –  Closing remarks
12:30pm – 1:00pm: Lunch & networking
1:30 – 2:30: Battery Park City Tour


The program will be followed by an tour of two ongoing Climate Adaptation and Sustainability projects that Battery Park City is undertaking as part of their ongoing efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change. These projects include: The South Battery Park City Resiliency Project, a coastal flood risk reduction project currently under construction as well as ongoing work to implement the Battery Park Sustainability Plan including an ongoing tree inventory.  When registering, please indicate if you will attend the tour.  1 CEU offered.  Capacity limited. Tour will be lead by: Claudia Filomina

Claudia Filomena is the Senior Director of Capital Projects and Resiliency Operations at the Battery Park City Authority.  She is responsible for the oversight, coordination, and management of the planning, design, regulatory approval and permitting, and pre-construction processes associated with BPCA’s resiliency projects.  Before joining BPCA, she was the New York City Director at the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, responsible for the oversight and implementation of community-planned resiliency projects in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.   She received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Political Science from the University at Albany and a Master of Urban Planning from the City University of New York

3 LACES/HSW credits (approved).  


Session I: Heat Vulnerability and Climate Resilience in NYC: Housing and Policy 

Julia Eiferman, Mayors Office of Climate & Environmental Justice, Senior Policy Advisor for Living Streets and Public Spaces
Julia works at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Climate and Environmental Justice, where her portfolio includes policies and programs related to quality of life, extreme heat adaptation, public space, waste management, air quality, and social resiliency. Previously, Julia worked at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory and in Washington, DC for the National Parks Conservation Association. Julia has a BA from Bates College, and an MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University’s SIPA. 
Yana Kucheva, Associate Professor in Sociology, CCNY
Yana Kucheva is an Associate Professor in the Sociology Department of The City College of New York. She is an expert on housing, residential segregation, and social policy. Her work has examined the role of U.S. housing policy in shaping the opportunity structure for families and children. Her on-going research looks at the housing conditions of Latino and African American families in New York City from an environmental justice perspective.
Moderator: Annie Carforo, WE ACT for Climate Justice
Annie Carforo is the Climate Justice Campaigns Manager at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. She is responsible for engaging WE ACT members and residents of Northern Manhattan in the organization’s climate policy initiatives, and overseeing policies and programs that promote equitable land use in the community. Prior to joining WE ACT, Annie organized alongside New Yorkers experiencing homelessness on City and State legislation designed to improve access to high quality affordable housing.


Session II: Infrastructural Strategies for a Cooler Public Realm.

Zach Youngerman, Director, Resiliency Planning & Management at DOT
Zach Youngerman is passionate about making cities greener and climate-resilient, while enhancing democratic involvement in the design and stewardship of the public realm. As Director of Resiliency Planning & Management at NYC DOT, Zach oversees a team managing the design and implementation of resiliency projects and development of resiliency policy for the agency. He started his career working on recovery planning in New Orleans immediately following Hurricane Katrina. A board member of City as Living Lab, you can find his occasional writing in the likes of Bloomberg and Urban Omnibus. He has undergraduate and graduate degrees in urban planning from Brown University and MIT respectively.
Louise Yeung, Chief Climate Officer at NYC Office of the Comptroller
Louise Yeung (she/her) is an urban planner and artist who strives to imagine greater possibilities and build a more just world. As Chief Climate Officer at the NYC Comptroller’s Office, Louise brings a climate justice lens to the City’s budget, provides critical oversight on the City’s climate commitments, and drives climate action in the private sector through pension investments. Louise brings 15 years of experience managing sustainable and resilient infrastructure policies and projects as Director of Resiliency at the NYC Department of Transportation; Energy Vice President at the NYC Economic Development Corporation; and Food Supply Chain Task Force Lead for the City’s COVID-19 emergency response. Louise received a Master’s in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Moderator: Nick Pevzner, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, U Penn
Nicholas Pevzner is an assistant professor in landscape architecture at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design, and a Faculty Fellow at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at Penn. His research focuses on energy landscapes, urban ecology, and climate policy. He studies the role of design in infrastructure planning for the clean energy transition, the landscape impacts of renewable energy systems, and the potential for design to accelerate decarbonization across sectors. 


Session III: Cooling Cities: Harnessing the Urban Forest and Natural Areas to Combat Urban Heat


Sarah Charlop-Powers,  Natural Areas Conservancy
Sarah Charlop-Powers is the co-founder and executive director of the Natural Areas Conservancy (NAC), a nonprofit dedicated to managing New York City’s 20,000 acres of forests and wetlands. The NAC is a pioneer in the field of urban conservation, using data and science to develop new ways to manage urban natural areas so that they provide recreation opportunities for diverse users, protect biodiversity, and provide environmental benefits. Sarah has a BA in Economics from Binghamton University and an MEM from the Yale School of the Environment.
Tami Lin-Moges, Deputy Director, Cities Program, The Nature Conservancy
Tami Lin is the Deputy Director of the New York Cities Program at The Nature Conservancy. She oversees the strategic planning work for Forest for All NYC. She also managed the development and publication of the NYC Urban Forest Agenda, as well as co-authored chapters of the State of the Urban Forest in NYC. Tami has a decade of experience in developing and implementing climate change policies and projects in municipal government. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia University.
Moderator: Kelly O’Donnell, Director of Science Forward at Macaulay Honors College

Kelly L. O’Donnell oversees scientific programming and academics for Macaulay. Dr. O’Donnell also regularly teaches one of the Science Forward seminars and upper level courses such as Ecological Change & Human Disease and Detecting Bullshit in the Modern Age. Before coming to Macaulay, Dr. O’Donnell completed a teaching post-doc at Columbia University. She holds a PhD in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University and a BS in Biology from Cornell University. y designed and oversaw the successful implementation of award-winning projects at SCAPE, Starr Whitehouse, and Dirtworks. She has taught landscape design at SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and urban design at Columbia University.


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