Cynthia Nikitin has led numerous large-scale and complex projects during her twenty years with Project for Public Spaces. With a portfolio of more than 250 projects, Cynthia’s technical expertise stretches from the development of downtown master plans and transit facility and station area enhancement projects, to the creation of corridor-wide transportation and land use strategies, to the development of public art master plans for major cities, the coalescing of civic buildings and cultural institutions into civic centers and using placemaking to create safer cities and upgrade informal settlements in the developing world. This includes facilitating approximately 40 public workshops, visioning sessions, and public meetings annually.
One focus of Cynthia’s efforts around downtown and civic buildings has been with the US General Services Administration Public Buildings Program. The multi-million dollar program provides technical assistance for the redesign of federal plazas and public spaces nationwide. Currently Cynthia is spearheading PPS’s alliance with UN-HABITAT to create 300 great public spaces in cities across the developing world in fulfillment of a UN Habitat General Resolution that seeks to incorporate public space planning and programming as part of slum upgrading, gender mainstreaming, and urban regeneration projects. She has lead placemaking training initiatives for the City Council of Nairobi, City of Johannesburg/Johannesburg Development Authority. The City Council of Nairobi has committed to creating 60 great public spaces in that city by 2017.
Cynthia is also a leader on using investments in walking and transit to leverage livability goals. She authored one of the first books on transportation and livable communities, has run more than 30 comprehensive transit and corridor planning projects and is recently completed a research project for the US Federal Transit Administration that is seeking to develop evaluation and engagement tools to assist low-income communities in becoming involved in the transportation planning process. Under contract to NYS DOT, she managed a three year TOD education and planning initiative for 8 communities along the Tappan Zee Bridge Corridor. Currently, Cynthia is working with five Boston area Great Neighborhood grantees and the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance to develop lighter quicker cheaper smart growth projects around new MBTA T stations.
Cynthia has delivered keynote addresses at many US and Canadian Library Association events, and the Alberta Museum and Americans for the Arts annual conferences. She is an adjunct faculty member of Clark University in Worcester, MA and guest lectures at universities across North America and South Korea.
Clark University, Bachelor of Arts: Art History and Comparative Politics, 1981.
New York University, Masters of Arts: Arts Management and Urban Planning, 1991.
Task Force Advisory Member, UN Habitat Advisory Group on Gender Issues, 2012
Member American Public Transit Agency Urban Design Working Group, 2007 to 2010
Grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Fast Track Grants, ongoing
Mentor, Douglas Redd Fellowship Program, Ford Foundation and Partners for Livable Communities, 2008
Board Member Ex-Officio, Bronx River Art Center, Bronx, NY
“Collaborative Placemaking,” Public Art Review, Issue 45, Fall/Winter 2011.
“From Cow Town to Our Town: Is Public Art Part of the American Dream?” Public Art Review, Issue 39, Fall/Winter 2008.
“Achieving Great Federal Public Spaces,” General Services Administration, Washington, DC Spring 2007.
Review of “Environmentally Concerned” at the Bronx River Art Center, Bronx, NY, Sculpture Magazine, April 2001.
“Making Public Art Work,” (a review of key public participation methods and practices), Sculpture Magazine, July 2000.
Review of “Premises: Invested Spaces in Visual Arts, Architecture and Design from France,” Guggenheim Museum Soho, New York. Sculpture Magazine, January 2000.
“How Community and Transportation Partnerships are Shaping America: Parts I and II,” American Public Transit Association and American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials, July 1999 and September 2000.
“Art in Transit Catalogue 1999,” for the Bi-State Development Agency’s Arts in Transit Program, St. Louis, MO, October 1999.
Presentations and Lectures
Pro Walk Pro Bike Pro Place, “Thinking Beyond the Station,” Long Beach, CA, September 13, 2012
Training Session, “Placemaking Exercise,” R Squared Risk and Reward Conference, Telluride, CO September 11, 2012
Facilitated. Lead, and Participated in Sessions at the UN HABITAT World Urban Forum VI, including a Networking Event, Training Session, and Expert Roundtable, Naples, Italy, September 3-6, 2012
Respondent, “Engaging Communities in City Design.” La Fabrique de la Cite conference, Amsterdam, September 2012.
Keynote Address, Bay Area LISC Urban Forum, “Building Neighborhoods Through Economic Development,” San Francisco, CA, June 27, 2012.
Speaker, Strategies for a New Economy Conference, “Reclaiming the Commons: Creating Community Agency and Ownership of Public Spaces and Resources”, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, June 9, 2012.
Our Town Southeast Houston, “Creative Placemaking,”Lecture funded under an NEA Our Town grant, Houston, TX, May 11, 2012.
Clark University Geography Association, “Practicing Geography”, Lecture, Worcester, MA, March 22, 2012
Keynote Presentation: “Good Public Spaces: the Art of Placemaking”, City Workshop on Public Spaces,
City Council of Nairobi and field sites (Kibera/Silanga and Jeevanjee Gardens), 28th February -2 March 2012
Keynote address, Johannesburg Placemaking Seminar, Mayor’s Council Chambers, Johannesburg, South Africa, 8 November 2011
Panelist., “Strategies for Meaningful Community Involvement,” APA NJ Conference, New Brunswick, NJ, November 4, 2011
Keynote address and interactive workshop, “The Space Lab: Creating Great, Safe, Public Spaces for Everyone,” Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, Waterloo and Cambridge, Ontario Canada October 20 and 21, 2011
Keynote address, “TAGS Anti-Graffiti Symposium,” Edmonton Alberta Canada, October 19, 2011
Lecture, “Lighter Quick Cheaper: A Low Cost High Impact Approach to Placemaking,” Edmonton Alberta Canada, October 19, 2011
Panelist, “Cities and Climate Change,” High Level Meeting, World Habitat Day Observance, UN Headquarters, NY, October 3, 2011
Presentation, “Creating Safer Communities for Women and Girls Through Placemaking,” UN Women Stakeholders Planning Meeting, Cairo Egypt, July 2011
Presentation, “Thinking Beyond the Station,” Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance Great Neighborhoods Forum, Boston MA, June 2011
Placemaker in Residence, George Town Penang Malaysia courtesy of Think City, May 2011
Placemaking lectures: Seoul National University, University of Seoul, Architecture and Urban Research Institute, Seoul, South Korea May 2011
Visiting scholar, Asia Creative Academy, Seoul, South Korea, May 2011
Keynote Address, “What makes a Great Public Space,” La Fabrique de la Cite Public Space Conference, Barcelona Spain, May 5 2011
“Constructive Approach to Urban Planning with Communities” powerpoint presentation, Visionary Values for Sustainable Cities GlobalCity Forum, Abu Dhabi, UAE, March 15 2011
Planner In Residence, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, February 28 to March 4, 2011
Keynote Address, Saskatoon Heritage Society Annual Fundraising Dinner, Friday March 4, 2011
“The Role of Place-making in Creating Great Heritage Districts” Wednesday, March 2, 2011, Saskatoon City Hall, Council Chambers, SK
“Civic Squares and Downtown Parks, “Wednesday, March 2, 2011, Broadway Theater, Saskatoon, SK
Panelist, “Beyond Housing: Using Art, Parks, and Cultural Events to Build Community,” Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, NY, NY October 2010
Key Note Address, “Museums as Fulcrums of Communities,” Alberta Museum Association Annual Conference, Edmonton AB September 2010
Public Lecture, Two day Placemaking Workshop, Strelka Institute of Architecture, Media and Design, Moscow, Russia, August 2010
Presentation and Workshop, “Placemaking Strategies for Urban Safety,” CSIR and UN Habitat for Safer Cities, Pretoria, South Africa, July 2010
Panelist, Downtown Revitalization, ICSC Conference, Waikiki Business Improvement Association, Honolulu, HI June 2010
Selection Committee Member, US EPA Smart Growth Awards for 2010, Washington DC, May 2010
Presentation, “Principles and Practice in Placemaking for Parks,” International Garden Symposium, Seoul, South Korea, March 2010.
Presentation, “Placemaking and Public Markets,” Market Planning and Design Workshop sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Arts and Culture, Seoul, South Korea, March 2010.
Presentation, “Crime Prevention from Across the World: Taking Stock, Evaluation, and Future Perspectives”, 15th Anniversary International Centre for the Prevention of Crime, December 8th & 9th 2009,Montreal, QC, Canada
Keynote Presenter, “Promoting Public Spaces as Destinations,” Korean Tourism Board’s annual Knowledge Forum, Incheon City, South Korea, November 2009
Walk 21 New York, “Tools for Public Participation in Transit Planning,” Panelist, October 2009
Keynote Presenter, Glocal 2009, LAN 21 Network Agenda Conference, Cascais, Portugal September 23, 2009
Keynote Presenter, Walk On Workshop, Brantford Ontario, September 9, 2009 and Blind River, Ontario Canada, May 2009
Keynote Address, Imagine Miami Changemaker Conference II, Miami Florida, July 2009
Lecturer, ”Public Space Design Guidelines,” Korea Design Foundation, Seoul South Korea, March 2009.
Ontario Library Association SuperConference, Highlighted Speaker, January 2009, Toronto Ontario Canada
Keynote Address, 4th Public Design Exhibition & Seminar: The Value of Design for All, organized by the Hope Institute, Seoul South Korea, November 11-12, 2008
Walk 21 Barcelona, Walkability Conference, Plenary Presenter, Panel Moderator, Workshop Facilitator, Program Committee Member, October and April 2008, Barcelona Spain
Presenter, “PONTO DE ENCONTRO,” Enova Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, October 2008
Civic Institutions as Community Anchors presentation, International Downtown Association annual conference, Calgary Alberta Canada, September 2008
Context Sensitive Solutions: Designing Transportation Projects for People and Places, “CSS and Transit,” Denver, CO July 2008
Keynote Address, Saskatchewan Library Association Annual Meeting, Regina SK Canada, May 2008
Keynote Address, British Columbia Library Association Annual Meeting, Richmond BC Canada April 2008
TRB Annual Conference, Thinking Beyond the Station, Wash., DC, January 2008
Thinking Beyond the Station Presentation, Railvolution, Miami, FL, November 2007
Facilitator of a one day walkability training workshop for City Councilors from around Canada at the Walk 21 Conference, October 2007 Toronto, ON
Presentation, Transportation Research Board, Transportation and Land use Conference, Denver, CO, August 2007
Facilitator of two professional conference sessions focused upon Place-based City Design to create sustainable public spaces, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, Toronto, ON, May 2007.
Participant in the National Library Agenda Roundtable, one of 47 people selected to help develop a national legislative agenda for Libraries to be presented to Congress for federal funding, sponsored by the American Library Association, Washington, DC, December 2006.
Presenter and participant in Building Libraries, Building Communities: A Summit on the Role of Public Libraries in Re-creating Community on the Gulf Coast, convened by the Southern Libraries Network (Solinet) and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, November 2006.
Frank Giblin: GSA Good Neighbors Program email@example.com
Ryan Walker: University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Gignac: Manager Arts and Culture City of Calgary, Alberta