Mayors' Institute on City Design Celebrates 20 Years of Shaping Civic Design
Rare Public Forum Reveals How Mayors Help Transform Communities Through Design
December 13, 2006
Washington, D.C. – The Mayors' Institute on City Design (MICD) will hold a special public forum to observe its 20th Anniversary of transforming communities through design. The discussion takes place on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. at 5:30 p.m. Paul Goldberger, Architecture Critic of The New Yorker magazine, will moderate the session, which will feature three prominent mayors and MICD Alumni: MICD founder and Charleston, South Carolina Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Des Moines, Iowa Mayor T.M. Franklin Cownie, and Providence, Rhode Island Mayor David N. Cicilline.
For twenty years, the Mayors' Institute on City Design, which is a partnership program of the National Endowment for the Arts, The U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the American Architectural Foundation, has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities. More than 700 mayors and hundreds of design professionals have attended intimate three-day design institutes, to which each mayor brings the most pressing design challenge facing his or her city.
"The Arts Endowment is convinced that creative and skillful civic design makes a genuine impact on the character of a community and the lives of its citizens," said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. "My conversations with the program's alumni have yielded compelling stories of specific physical outcomes that would not have occurred without the inspiration and education offered by the Institute."
While all mayors face decisions about their cities' design, few have professional experience or training in the field of urban planning. Participating in MICD has given hundreds of mayors a forum where they can discuss both the common concerns and unique challenges of their respective cities. Many mayors testify that they have emerged from MICD with a better understanding of how design affects civic well-being. They also come away from the Institutes with tactical ideas to create enduring city design solutions. Institute graduates have used their MICD experience to shape tangible responses to their cities' challenges, such as the rebuilding of a downtown library in Fort Worth, Texas and the creation of a waterfront park in Louisville, Kentucky.
"As mayors, we are the chief urban designers of our cities. And in this role, we can really affect the development and landscape of our communities. That is why the Mayors' Institute on City Design is a valuable resource to help mayors understand the benefits of good urban design for America's cities and develop a better quality of life for our citizens," said The U.S. Conference of Mayors President, Trenton, New Jersey Mayor Douglas H. Palmer.
"For the past 20 years, the work of the Mayors' Institute on City Design, led by one of The U.S. Conference of Mayors' past presidents, Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr., has had an incredible impact on cities throughout this country. Our nation will always need well-designed and beautiful cities and the Mayors Institute is a powerful tool toward that end," said Tom Cochran, Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The public session is moderated by Paul Goldberger, Architecture Critic for The New Yorker, where he continues the magazine's celebrated "Sky Line" column. He joined the magazine in July of 1997, following a 25-year career at The New York Times, where he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for his architecture criticism.
"Through AAF's role as co-operator and managing partner of the Mayors' Institute on City Design, we have witnessed the many ways that mayors can successfully shape the urban design of their cities," said Ron Bogle, president and CEO, American Architectural Foundation. "Working with the NEA and U.S. Conference of Mayors to bring this important program to our nation's mayors has had a profound impact on design and quality of life in American cities for 20 years, and will continue to help shape the built environment."
The Mayors' Institute on City Design 20th Anniversary public forum will take place on Wednesday, December 13 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, Washington, DC. This event is free, but registration is required. To register, visit the National Building Museum's website at www.nbm.org
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts - both new and established - bringing the arts to all Americans and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov.
The United States Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,139 such cities in the country today, each represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor. For more information, please visit www.usmayors.org.
The American Architectural Foundation (AAF) is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that educates individuals and communities about the power of architecture to transform lives and improve the places where we live, learn, work, and play. Through its outreach programs, grants, exhibitions, and educational resources, the AAF helps people become thoughtful and engaged stewards of the world around them. For more information, please visit www.archfoundation.org.
Sally Gifford - National Endowment for the Arts
Elena Temple – The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Rhonda Spears Bell – The U.S. Conference of Mayors
Aaron R. Smith - American Architectural Foundation
Jess Wendover – Mayors' Institute on City Design
National Endowment for the Arts · an independent federal agency