A discussion of community development and historic preservation

Co-sponsored by Pratt Institute’s Historic Preservation Master’s degree program and the James Marston Fitch Charitable Foundation, this morning mini-conference will draw upon the research of Fitch Fellow Vicki Weiner (2008) and will feature distinguished preservationists, civic leaders and community development experts.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

8:30AM Continental Breakfast

9AM to 10:15AM Panel I: Community Development and Preservation Policy
Featuring NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan
and NYC Council Member Brad Lander

10:30AM to 11:30AM Panel II: Community Development and Preservation Practice
Featuring Claudette Brady, Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation; Christopher Cirillo, Lot Community Development Corporation; Chad Purkey, Myrtle Avenue Partnership; and Zulmilena Then, Preserving East New York

Pratt Institute, Manhattan, 144 West 14th Street, 2nd Floor

Advance RSVP strongly encouraged; email

Featured Speakers

Claudette Brady
A native of Jamaica, Claudette Brady moved to New York City at a young age and is a longtime resident of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She is a project manager by trade and in 2007 founded the Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation to advocate for preservation protections for her neighborhood. Ms. Brady has been a leader in community preservation efforts ever since and was pivotal in the landmark designation of the Expanded Bedford Stuyvesant Historic District in 2013 and the recently designated Bedford Historic District, which will be voted on by the NYC Council in late February. More about the Bedford Stuyvesant Society for Historic Preservation.

Christopher Cirillo
As Executive Director of the Lott Community Development Corporation (CDC), Christopher Cirillo oversees the management of approximately 700 affordable rental apartments in twenty-seven buildings in Northern Manhattan. Mr. Cirillo’s leadership has brought to the Lott CDC incredible grant-funded resources and working capital loan funding, to undertake resiliency planning and finance pre-development work for upcoming portfolio re-syndication projects. In addition, he created the Northern Manhattan Collaborative to coordinate neighborhood revitalization efforts among five non-profit community development corporations. In 2015, Mr. Cirillo received a Masters of Science degree in Historic Preservation from Pratt Institute. More about the Lott CDC.

NYC Councilman Brad Lander
Brad Lander is a New York City Council Member representing Brooklyn’s 39th District, and a leader on issues of affordable housing, livable communities, the environment, and public education. Councilman Lander’s tenure as a City Council member has reflected his roots as a community organizer; in his policy work and leadership, he has worked to empower residents to make key decisions about the future of their community, including convening public visioning sessions to plan the renovations of neighborhood parks and partnering with residents develop solutions to local problems. The “Bridging Gowanus” community planning process he initiated in Brooklyn brought that spirit of participation into planning for a community in need of a comprehensive plan to shape infrastructure and land-use decisions. Prior to public service, Councilman Lander has served as director of the Pratt Center for Community Development and the Fifth Avenue Committee. More about Councilman Lander here.

Chad Purkey
As Director of Planning & Economic Development efforts for the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Partnership, Chad Purkey supports the Partnership’s business attraction efforts, maintains relationships with local property owners and developers, and is responsible for various planning initiatives. Mr. Purkey also manages the Partnership’s façade improvement program, which consists of two grant programs: the state-funded New York Main Street program and the BID Façade Improvement program. Additionally, he is charged with developing new programming that fosters historic preservation in the local Wallabout Historic District. Mr. Purkey holds an M.S. in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and a B.F.A. in Historic Preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). More about the Myrtle Avenue Revitalization Partnership.

NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan
Meenakshi Srinivasan serves as both chair and commissioner of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, which is the largest municipal preservation agency in the United States. Chair Srinivasan is a planner and urban designer, with a longstanding commitment to public service. She has more than two decades of experience working in various aspects of New York City’s land use process. Prior to her appointment, Chair Srinivasan served for ten years as the chair and commissioner of the Board of Standards and Appeals and, before that, worked for the Manhattan Office of the Department of City Planning in various capacities, including as deputy director, team leader and project manager. She led some of the agency’s highest profile projects, including the zoning framework for Hudson Yards, the air-rights transfers for Broadway theaters, and contextual rezonings of East and Central Harlem. More about Meenakshi Srinivasan.

Zulmilena Then
Zulmilena Then is a junior architect and preservationist who grew up in East New York. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Pratt Institute and works for the architectural firm Michael Ivanhoe McCaw Architect, P.C., located within the Stuyvesant Heights Historic District. Her passion for historic preservation and community service led her to found the organization Preserving East New York (PENY), an initiative to advocate for the preservation of historic buildings and places within the communities of East New York and Cypress Hills. Ms. Then’s goal is to make sure the East New York Community Plan serves as an effective model to follow by incorporating historic preservation for the revitalization and protection of the neighborhoods which will be rezoned according to this plan. She believes historic preservation is a vital component which can help empower communities and save history. More about Preserving East New York.

Vicki Weiner
Vicki Weiner was awarded a James Marston Fitch Mid-Career fellowship in 2008 for her project “Historic Preservation and Community Development: Protecting Place in Low Income Communities,” which has explored the evolution, practices and intersections of the two fields in New York City. Ms. Weiner currently serves as Deputy Director of the Pratt Center for Community Development, where she oversees community planning, sustainability and economic development programs as well as general administration. Since coming to Pratt in 2004, she has worked with community residents and other stakeholders to preserve what they value about their communities – including the special places, local businesses, and intangible qualities that make each community unique. Ms. Weiner is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Historic Preservation Master’s degree program at Pratt. Over the past decade, she has taught numerous courses in the program’s core curriculum, including Documentation of the Built Environment, Historic Preservation Law & Policy, Preservation Planning Studio, and Policy Analysis for Historic Preservation. Ms. Weiner has more than twenty years of professional experience in community preservation and planning. Previous to coming to Pratt Center she directed two non-profit historic preservation organizations in New York City, where she designed and implemented historical research, community outreach, and preservation policy projects. She has also served as a consultant to numerous community organizations and government agencies. More about Vicki Weiner and the Pratt Center here.

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