Conversations on New York 3: Adrian Benepe, Amanda Burden, and David Burney, with Paul Goldberger

Tuesday, July 20
7:00 p.m.
The Great Hall, The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street, New York

To watch a podcast of this discussion, click here.

More than any city administration since John Lindsay’s, the Bloomberg administration has made improving the physical city—and an emphasis on high quality in architecture and landscape design—an important focus of its agenda. The most visible impacts of this focus have come through the work of the city departments of Parks, Planning, Design and Construction, and Transportation. Paul Goldberger, architecture critic of The New Yorker, will engage the commissioners of these departments—Adrian Benepe (Parks), Amanda Burden (Planning), and David Burney (Design and Construction)–in a discussion about how they have made design integral to the work of their departments; what today’s stringent fiscal constraints portend for the continuation of their efforts and the preservation of what they have already created; and what their agendas promise for the mayor’s final term. This program is presented in conjunction with the Architectural League exhibition The City We Imagined/The City We Made: New New York 2001-2010.

Both Adrian Benepe at Parks and Recreation and Amanda Burden at City Planning have served as the commissioners of their departments since the beginning of Mayor Bloomberg’s first term in 2002. Benepe’s history with his department goes back to 1973, when as a teenager he was hired as a seasonal helper in parks on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He served in various other positions in the department after graduating from college, including as a member of the first corps of Urban Park Rangers in 1979, and subsequently as Director of Natural Resources & Hortibulture, Director of Art & Antiquities, and Manhattan Borough Commissioner. Amanda Burden served as a member of the Planning Commission, as the appointee of the Public Advocate, from 1990 to 2001. Prior to her appointment as Chair of the Commission, she was Director of Planning for the Center for Court Innovation, Vice President of Panning and Design at the Battery Park City Authority, and Vice President of Architecture and Design at the NYS Urban Development Corporation. David Burney was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction in 2004, after serving for a decade as director of design and capital improvement at the New York City Housing Authority. An architect, Burney worked for Davis, Brody & Associates after immigrating from England to the United States in 1982.

Paul Goldberger has been architecture critic at The New Yorker since 1997. His two most recent books are Building Up and Tearing Down: Reflections on the Age of Architecture, and Why Architecture Matters. He holds the Joseph Urban Chair in Design and Architecture at the New School in New York, where he was previously Dean of Parsons, the New School for Design.

(Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, previously announced as part of this program, is now unable to participate because of a schedule conflict.)

Tickets are required for admission to League programs. Tickets are free for League members; $15 for non-members. Members may reserve a ticket by e-mailing: Member tickets will be held at the check-in desk; unclaimed tickets will be released fifteen minutes after the start of the program. Non-members may purchase tickets here until 3:00 p.m. the day of the program.

AIA and New York State continuing education credits are available.

This program is made possible, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.