The Future of Cities: Designing Circularity


The Future of Cities: Designing Circularity

April 21, 2021
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

New York Institute of Technology and the Consulate General of Denmark in New York partnered to host a virtual event addressing “The Future of Cities: Designing Circularity.”

This virtual panel featured prompt, productive, and inspiring conversations on the topics of circular cities and sustainable design strategies. There was be a focus on the intersection between design and innovation in business models and architectural practice and the importance of citizen engagement when developing sustainable, livable cities.

Video Recap

Opening Remarks

Maria Perbellini

Maria R. Perbellini, M.Arch.
Dean, NYIT School of Architecture and Design

Maria R. Perbellini, Ph.D., is the Dean of the School of Architecture and Design at the New York Institute of Technology and a tenured Professor of Architecture. Her leadership advances design innovation, intellectual diversity, emerging computational technologies, and interdisciplinary programs. She has been notably recognized, including the 2018 AIA Long Island Educator Award.

She holds a B.Arch. from the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia in Italy and a M.Arch. from Pratt Institute in New York. Prior to New York Tech, Perbellini was the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Chair of Instruction in the College of Architecture at Texas Tech University. She also taught at the School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin.

Perbellini is co-founder of Pongratz Perbellini Architects (PPA). Among others, PPA received the Segnalazione Premio Compasso d’Oro ADI, XXI Edition with the patented series in stoneHyperwave. Before establishing her own practice, she worked in New York City for Peter Eisenman and John Reimnitz on the design of prestigious commissioned buildings and international design competitions. With Christian Pongratz, Perbellini is the co-editor of the Monograph on Peter Eisenman for Korean Architects-KA (No.156, 08/1997), and the co-author of the books Natural Born CaaDesigners (Birkhauser, 2000), Cyberstone (Edilstampa, 2009), and Digital Media for Design (Cognella Academic Publishing, 2016).


Christian Bason

Christian Bason
CEO, Danish Design Centre, Copenhagen

In his presentation, Christian Bason, Ph.D., CEO, will share how design as an approach to systemic citizen engagement and business innovation can contribute to transforming our cities to become green, thriving and sustainable. He’ll share cases from the work of the Danish Design Centre – a government-funded lab for design.

Christian Bason, Ph.D., is CEO of the Danish Design Centre. His role is to set the strategic direction for the organization, and to govern the most demanding initiatives and activities. From 2007 to 2014, he was Director of MindLab, the Danish government's innovation team. From 1998 to 2006, he was a consultant and business manager with the international advisory group Rambøll Management, heading the organization and management practice.

Bason is a leading international authority on design, innovation and leadership in business and government. He is the author of seven books, most recently Leading Public Design (2017), Form Fremtiden (Shape the Future)( 2016), Design for Policy (2014) and Leading Public Sector Innovation (2010). He is also a prolific contributor to blogs and magazines, including Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Danish weekly business and political magazine Mandag Morgen. Bason is a lecturer at several executive educations, including Oxford Saïd Business School, the European School of Administration, the Henley MBA, and Copenhagen Business School.

Kenneth A. Lewis

Kenneth A. Lewis
2021 President, AIA New York Chapter
Managing Partner SOM

In his presentation, Kenneth Lewis will talk about how the past year, the pandemic, the climate crisis, and social inequality have made it clear how the design profession plays a leading role in meaningful change. Inspired by this moment in time, AIA New York Chapter President Kenneth A. Lewis is leading an initiative called Reflection/Inflection – a guiding theme for the 163-year-old institution in 2021, and one that is informed by his experience as a Managing Partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).

Kenneth A. Lewis is Managing Partner of SOM’s New York office. Since joining SOM in 1986, Lewis has managed a diverse range of projects across the globe, including mixed-use developments, commercial, hotel and residential towers, adaptive reuse projects, corporate headquarters, and healthcare facilities. With a special focus on New York, he has managed many projects of enormous scale and complexity, including the award-winning One Columbus Center and One World Trade Center. Lewis is currently leading the construction of Manhattan West, a seven-million-square-foot, mixed use development, as well as the complete renovation of the landmark Waldorf Astoria.

Sustainability is a key focus in Lewis’s work—many of his projects have achieved a LEED Gold rating. He is President of the AIA New York Chapter and sits on the Urban Green Council Board of Directors, the Center for Architecture Board of Trustees, and the Architectural Review Board of Irvington, New York.


Jeannette Sordi

Jeannette Sordi
Adjunct Associate Professor, NYIT School of Architecture and Design

Jeannette Sordi is an architect and urban planner based in New York City. She is an adjunct associate professor at New York Tech and is a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank division of Housing and Urban Development. Until 2018, she was Associate Professor of Landscape and Urbanism at Adolfo Ibañez University in Santiago de Chile. Sordi earned a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Design from the University of Genoa (2013) and was a Doctoral Visiting Student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (2011- 2012). Her Ph.D. focused on the genealogy of landscape urbanism and was published as Beyond Urbanism (List, 2014; Sacabana, 2017, Spanish edition). Her main publications include the books Andrea Branzi. From Radical Design to Post-Environmentalism (ARQ, 2015, with F. Vera), The Camp and the City. Territories of Extraction (List, 2017, with F. Vera and L. Valenzuela), Part-time Cities (ARQ, 2018), and the forthcoming Ecological Urbanism. Strategies for the Vulnerable City.

Closing Remarks

Berit Basse

Berit Basse
Ambassador, Consul General of Denmark in New York

Ambassador Berit Basse has enjoyed an expansive diplomatic career that has taken her around the world—from Senegal and Munich to Singapore and Uganda.

From 2012 to 2016, Ambassador Basse served as Denmark’s Ambassador to Singapore and Brunei, successfully overseeing key commercial and diplomatic relationships between Denmark and the two States. She has also served as First Secretary at the Embassy of Denmark in Uganda and Consul General of Denmark in Munich, Germany.

Meanwhile, from 1992 to 1996, the Ambassador worked on several development projects for the United Nations Development Programme in Senegal. Immediately prior to her New York posting, Ambassador Basse also led the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ department in charge of client relations and global commercial opportunities.

Ambassador Basse assumed her role at the helm of Denmark In New York on September 1, 2020.

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