The 2017 MAS Summit for New York City returned on October 16, 2017, at The Morgan Library & Museum

Change has always been a defining feature of our city—but today it is felt with a heightened sense of alarm. With the overarching threat of climate change, and increasing strain on basic needs such as infrastructure and housing, communities are experiencing enormous pressure. As we push the limits of our physical and financial means, we must also push the limits of conventional thinking. The 2017 MAS Summit explored ambitious, creative ways to meet these great challenges from the ground up.

2017 MAS Summit Videos

Welcome and Introduction

Elizabeth Goldstein
President, The Municipal Art Society of New York

Changing Cities, Changing Climates

Michael Kimmelman
Architecture Critic, The New York Times

In Conversation: Ready for Anything

Michael Kimmelman, Moderator
Architecture Critic, The New York Times

Gita Nandan
Principal, thread collective & Co-Chair, Resilient Red Hook

Daniel A. Zarrilli, PE
Senior Director, Climate Policy and Programs & Chief Resilience Officer, New York City Office of the Mayor

While recovery from Hurricane Sandy is still underway, New York City faces a mounting imperative to tackle climate change concerns beyond storm preparedness.


Panel: Resilient Transportation

Johana Bhuiyan, Moderator
Senior Transportation Editor, Recode

Sarah M. Kaufman
Assistant Director for Technology Programming, NYU Rudin Center for Transportation

Gabe Klein, Co-Founder, CityFi & Co-Author, Start-Up City

James Patchett, President and CEO, New York City Economic Development Corporation

Scott Rechler, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, RXR Realty LLC ("RXR") & Chairman, Regional Plan Association

Aging, overcrowded, and vulnerable, New York City’s transit system is at a breaking point. Beyond just everyday maintenance, what are some of the smart ideas that can propel us toward a more robust and resilient system, one worthy of a 21st century global city?

Smart Talk: On the Waterfront

Susannah C. Drake, FASLA, AIA
Principal DLANDstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture, pllc

"Receive, protect, adapt," is the mantra of the Bight Project, a futuristic design proposal that reimagines 3,700 miles of the New York metropolitan region's coastal edge. Susannah Drake presents her vision for a shoreline where land and water create new spaces for habitation, conservation, work, and play. 


Panel: The Reality of Retreat

Elizabeth Rush, Moderator
Author of Rising: The Unsettling of the American Shore

Lisa Bova-Hiatt
Executive Director, New York Governor's Office of Storm Recovery

Frank Moszczynski
Founding Member and President, Citizens of Ocean Breeze Civic Association & Project Manager for Rebuilding Home, NYC Build it Back Sandy Recovery

Karen O'Neill
Associate Professor, Human Ecology Dept., Rutgers University

Mathew D. Sanders
Resilience Policy & Program Administrator, State of Louisiana Office of Community Development

Despite grave scientific projections about sea-level rise and increased flooding, millions of New Yorkers make their homes along our 520 miles of waterfront. When is the wholesale relocation of coastal neighborhoods necessary? What are the realities of managing retreat for those displaced and the communities that receive them?

MAS Presents: Accidental Skyline

Elizabeth Goldstein
President, The Municipal Art Society of New York


Panel: Thinking Different About Density

Joe Anuta, Moderator
Senior Reporter, Crain's New York Business

Eric Bunge
Principal, nARCHITECTS

Ingrid Gould Ellen
Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning, New York

Nadine Maleh
Executive Director, Institute for Public Architecture

The obvious solution to growth is to build more and bigger buildings. Instead of a business-as-usual approach, how can we reorganize ourselves and rethink regulations to unlock excess capacity? How might innovations in the sharing economy and housing design help New York become a more affordable, inclusive city?

Smart Talk: New Urban Matchmaking

Rachel Goor and Noelle Marcus
Co-Founders, nesterly

The fundamental values of affordable housing and aging in place are key priorities for a livable, equitable city. The co-founders of nesterly will present their attempt to address both issues through a new platform that pairs cash-strapped students with empty nesters.


In Conversation: Combatting Displacement

Arun Venugopal, Moderator
Reporter, WNYC & Host, Micropolis

James DiFilippis
Professor, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University

Robert Ogilvie
Oakland Director, SPUR

Our population is expected to increase by half a million people in the coming years, and yet we are unable to accommodate our most distressed and vulnerable New Yorkers today.

Smart Talk: Culture Matters: Conserving Black Public Heritage

Daphne Lundi and Emma Osore
Co-Founders, BlackSpace

The pressures of economic and cultural gentrification threaten to erase cultural enclaves across the city. Representatives from a new collective, BlackSpace, will explore the importance of culture as a critical asset in conserving traditionally Black neighborhoods.


Panel: New Tools for Equitable Engagement

Celeste Frye, Moderator
Principal & CEO, Public Works Partners

Story Bellows
Chief Innovation and Performance Officer, Brooklyn Public Library

Gabe Klein
Founder, CityFi & Co-Author, Start-Up City

Damon Rich
Partner, Hector

The communications landscape has shifted dramatically over the last twenty years, yet civic engagement still relies on the tools of the 20th century. How do we improve upon traditional methods so that communities can meaningfully participate in the debates and decisions that shape their neighborhoods? Is technology the answer or an obstacle to democratic city-building?

In Conversation: The Politics of Choosing

Courtney Gross, Moderator
Political Reporter, Spectrum News NY1

Hon. Gale A. Brewer
Manhattan Borough President, New York City

Hon. Donovan J. Richards, Jr.
Council Member, New York City Council, District 31

Daniel Murphy
Chairperson, Brooklyn Community Board Seven

In the effort to accommodate an ever-expanding city, the inevitable question of “Where?” has resulted in heated debate. How do decision-makers best balance the conflicting priorities of one constituency that is eager to build and another that is determined to preserve neighborhood character?


2017 MAS Summit Photos

About The Municipal Art Society of New York


For nearly 125 years, The Municipal Art Society of New York has worked to educate and inspire New Yorkers to engage in the betterment of our city. As a non-profit advocacy organization, MAS mobilizes diverse allies to focus on issues that affect our city from sidewalk to skyline. Through three core campaign areas, MAS protects New York's legacy spaces, encourages thoughtful planning and urban design, and fosters complete neighborhoods across all five boroughs. Learn more →