JUNE 19 – 21, 2019 | #PUBLICSPACES19



10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Registration opens at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel (Commonwealth A1)

1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Welcome and Forum Framing (Center for Architecture and Design)

Special announcement of the inaugural Knight Public Space Fellows

  • Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO, Knight Foundation | @ibarguen
  • Lilly Weinberg, Director/Community Foundations, Knight Foundation | @lillyweinberg

1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Community Explorations (Several locations)

Join local leaders for an afternoon in the city with curated community workshops in some of Philadelphia’s most talked about public spaces. See descriptions of the community explorations here.

  • Workshop 1. Cherry Street Pier (@cherrystpier)
  • Workshop 2. Reading Terminal Market (@RdgTerminalMkt)
  • Workshop 3. Bartram’s Garden (@BartramsGarden)
  • Workshop 4. The Rail Park (@TheRailPark)
  • Workshop 5. Centennial Commons
  • Workshop 6. Hartranft Courts (CANCELLED: All attendees of this tour have been reassigned)
  • Workshop 7. Mifflin Square
  • Workshop 8. Lovett Library and Park. Lovett Library
  • Workshop 9. Dilworth Plaza/Love Park/Paine Plaza

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Break

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Welcome Reception (Loews Philadelphia Hotel Rooftop)

  • Sam Gill, VP/Communities and Impact and Senior Adviser to the President, Knight Foundation | @thesamgill
  • Ellen Hwang, Program Director/Philadelphia, Knight Foundation | @ellen_hwang_phl
  • Shawn McCaney, Executive Director, William Penn Foundation | @WilliamPennFdn


Loews Philadelphia Hotel (Center City)

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast and Networking (Commonwealth D)

9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Knight and the Commons (Millennium Ballroom)

Exploring Knight’s approach to advancing public space and public life.

  • Welcome: Lilian Coral, Director/National Strategy + Technology Innovation, Knight Foundation | @lcoral

Public life in Philadelphia

  • Sam Gill, VP/Communities and Impact and Senior Adviser to the President, Knight Foundation | @thesamgill
  • James Francis Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia | @JimFKenney


10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Provocation: Looking Up and Out  (Millennium Ballroom)

 Global leaders in the public space arena share their ideas and questions for the future of public spaces

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. What’s Next for Public Spaces (Millennium Ballroom)

Discussing the challenges and opportunities ahead for the field.

  • Moderator: Lilly Weinberg, Director/Community Foundations, Knight Foundation | @lillyweinberg
  • Sabina Ali, Chair, Thorncliffe Parks Women’s Committee | @tpwomenscomm
  • Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer, City of Los Angeles | @HawthorneCDOLA
  • Karina Ricks, Director of Mobility and Infrastructure, City of Pittsburgh | @walk_left

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch and Networking (Commonwealth D)

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Breakout Discussions 

Measuring Public Space and Public Life (Commonwealth A1) 

How can we tell better, evidence-based stories about the impact of public spaces? Collecting data and studying public spaces and public life is an important driver for catalyzing positive change in communities. This discussion will explore a range of tools being used to measure public space and public life, as well as key insights from recent evaluations. (See slides from the presentation here.) 

  • Introduction: Lilly Weinberg, Director/Community Foundations, Knight Foundation | @lillyweinberg
  • Moderator: Shin-pei Tsay, Founder and CEO, Make Public | @stsay
  • Rick Jacobus, Principal, Street Level Advisors | @rjacobus
  • Bridget Marquis, Director, RCC National Learning Network & U3 Advisors | @bamarquis
  • Caitlin Murphy, Civic Commons Coordinator, Live6 Alliance | @Live6Detroit

The Public Space Leader Next Door (Commonwealth B)

What motivates people to give up their free time to support public spaces and get engaged in public life? How can efforts to advance public spaces better support and amplify residents’ leaders throughout the planning, implementation and ongoing operations of public spaces? This discussion will explore what it means to authentically engage with resident leaders around public spaces. (See slides from the presentation here.)

  • Introduction: Charles Thomas, Director/Charlotte, Knight Foundation | @cthomasclt
  • Moderator: Jay Pitter, Author and Placemaker | @Jay_Pitter
  • J’Tanya Adams, President, Historic West End Partners | @adams4d2
  • Meg Daly, Founder, Friends of the Underline | @theunderlinemia
  • Tonnetta Graham, Executive Director, Strawberry Mansion CDC | @SMansionCDC
  • Eric Nelson, Executive Director, Students with a Goal 

Meeting People Where They Are (Commonwealth C)

How can cities build trust with constituents and bridge divides to co-create inclusive public spaces? This discussion will explore how to move beyond the public meeting to truly meet people where they are using creative, impactful engagement strategies. (See slides from the presentation here.) 

  • Introduction: Lynn Murphey, Director/Macon, Knight Foundation | @knightmacon
  • Moderator: Joy Bailey Bryant, Vice President and Managing Director of the U.S. Office, Lord Cultural Resources | @JoyB42
  • Kimberly Driggins, Director of Strategic Planning/Arts & Culture, City of Detroit | @Driggs16DC
  • Eric Gordon, Director, Engagement Lab @ Emerson College | @ericbot
  • Daniel Rice, Executive Director, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition | @TowpathTrail
  • Maitreyi Roy, Executive Director, Bartram’s Garden | @BartramsGarden

Waterfront Redevelopment (Commonwealth A2)

More cities are looking to their waterfronts with new eyes and seeing the opportunity to leverage a natural asset to create engaging public spaces. This discussion will explore why and how Boston, Houston, Memphis and Philadelphia are making big public spaces investments in waterfront redevelopment. (See slides from the presentation here.) 

  • Introduction: Kyle Kutuchief, Director/Akron, Knight Foundation | @KyleKutuchief
  • Moderator: Carol Coletta, President and CEO, Memphis River Parks Partnership | @ccoletta
  • Guy Hagstette, Vice President of Parks, Kinder Foundation 
  • Trevor Pollack, Program Officer and Manager of Special Projects, Barr Foundation | @twpollack
  • Elizabeth Woods, VP Capital Programs, Delaware Waterfront Development Corporation

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Unconference (Millenium Ballroom)

This is your opportunity to design the forum: You can host a small group discussion (propose your topic during registration to reserve a table), or use this time to connect with a colleague attending the conference.

4:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Break

4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Transportation to Reception

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Reception at Cherry Street Pier (121 N. Columbus Blvd.) |  @cherrystpier


Loews Philadelphia Hotel (Center City)

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Breakfast and Networking (Commonwealth D)

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Breakout Discussions 

Stewarding Public Spaces (Commonwealth A1)

What does it mean to be a steward of public spaces? This discussion will explore strategies for creatively engaging in and sustaining a dialogue with residents and other stakeholders about community vitality, maintenance and guardianship of our shared public spaces.Introduction: Ellen Hwang, Director/Philadelphia, Knight Foundation | @ellen_hwang_phl (See slides from the presentation here.) 

  • Moderator: Suzanne Nienaber, Partnerships Director, Center for Active Design | @active_design
  • Yvette Bowden, Director of Parks and Recreation and Community Vitality, City of Boulder, CO | @bouldercolorado
  • Erin Engelstad, Park Stewardship Manager, Fairmount Park Conservancy | @myphillypark
  • Shireen Santosham, Chief Innovation Officer, City of San Jose | @SSantosham

Who Belongs Here? (Commonwealth B)

While many residents support new investments in public spaces, these new or revitalized spaces also give rise to community concerns about access, cultural preservation and gentrification. This session will explore what it means to build and sustain just spaces designed to celebrate and preserve neighborhood culture, combat gentrification and create an intentionally welcoming environment for all who visit. (See slides from the presentation here.) 

  • Introduction: Jai Winston, Director/St. Paul, Knight Foundation  
  • Moderator: Erica Atwood, Founder and CEO, First Degree Consulting, LLC | @EricaInPhilly
  • Meegan Denenberg, Founder, Little Giant Creative | @215Meegan
  • Ifeoma Ebo, Director of Strategic Design Initiatives, NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice | @CrimJusticeNYC
  • Scott Kratz, Vice President, Building Bridges Across the River & Director, 11th Street Bridge Park| @ScottKratz (See the video from Scott Kratz’s presentation here.)

Art, Artists and Public Spaces (Commonwealth A2)

Art in public spaces can be much more than objects for passive observation. Public art can be interactive and engaging and play an important role in engaging users of public space. This session will explore the role of public art and artists in transforming public spaces into dynamic places. (See slides from the presentation here.) 

  • Introduction: Priya Sircar, Director/Arts, Knight Foundation | @priyasircar
  • Moderator: Laura Zabel, Executive Director, Springboard for the Arts | @laurazabel
  • Jamie Bennett, Executive Director, ArtPlace America | @ArtPlaceAmerica
  • Janelle Dunlap, Artist | @DniseThugstable
  • Suzanne-Juliette (Sue) Mobley, Director of Advocacy, Colloqate | @wingedsis

Public Spaces/Public Life Café (Millennium Ballroom)

This discussion will kick off with short spark talks from Knight grantees leading innovative public spaces work across the country. Following the presentations, participants will have a chance to engage with multiple speakers in a world café style format.

10:30 a.m.  – 11:00 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m.  – 12:00 p.m. Closing Conversation: Taking Local Action (Millennium Ballroom)

Participants will work collaboratively to crystalize key insights from the forum and identify opportunities for local action. Knight Foundation will also share reflections on learnings from the forum as well as what’s next for Knight’s public space strategy.

  • Ellen Hwang, Director/Philadelphia, Knight Foundation | @ellen_hwang_phl
  • Kyle Kutuchief, Director/Akron, Knight Foundation | @KyleKutuchief

12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Lunch and Networking (Millennium Ballroom)