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American Building

60 EpisodesProduced by Michael GravesWebsite

American Building, hosted by Atif Z. Qadir, Sponsored by Michael Graves & REDIST, shares how iconic buildings came to be from the perspective of their developers, investors, and designers. These innovators discuss on a deeply personal level what they faced over the course of the entire building proc… read more

59:15

51. The Perfect New York Street | Ifeoma Ebo of Creative Urban Alchemy

Today, I’m joined by the Founding Principal at Creative Urban Alchemy, Ifeoma Ebo. Ifeoma is a Brooklyn native with a background in architecture, urban planning, real estate development, and environmental sustainability. In our conversation, we dive into the details of her latest project, The Perfect New York Street, which is a modern take on the streetscape of Third Avenue between 33rd and 34th Street. She walks us through what people might see, hear and feel when walking through this re-crafted space, and highlights the ripple effect it can have on the local economy and neighborhood safety. 
 

Ifeoma and I discuss the large-scale focus on equity and infrastructure in various global and domestic cities, with a particular focus on New York City. There's a movement towards how we're reconfiguring cities in the public realm to address damaging practices, such as redlining, in city development. Ifeoma has a unique perspective on the intertwined issues of sustainability, criminal justice reform, and housing affordability due to her upbringing between Brooklyn and her mother’s village in Nigeria, as well as her studies at Cornell University and MIT. 
 

We talk about the design challenges that cities across the population spectrum are facing to make streets efficient for vehicles, productive for businesses, and accessible for residents. I get Ifeoma’s take al fresco dining on city sidewalks and ideas for how that experience can be improved. We also touch on where funding is typically sourced from for urban transformations and the challenges with maintenance and operations in the public realm. 
 

About the Guest:

Ifeoma Ebo is the Founding Principal at Creative Urban Alchemy, a NYC-based studio that specializes in strategies and frameworks for design, engagement and spatial planning in the areas of architecture, urban planning, real estate development and environmental sustainability. Ifeoma teaches at the graduate level at Columbia University and Syracuse University, and has taught at Cornell University and the University of Cape Town. She is also active with community initiatives, including with Architecture for Humanity and the BlackSpace Urbanist Collective. 
 

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, or on your favorite podcast platform. 
 

Topics Covered:

  • The undergrad courses at Cornell that influenced her career path and design style
  • What inspired her to pursue a graduate degree in Urban Design and Planning at MIT 
  • The different dynamics and tools of nonprofit, private, government, and academia sectors 
  • Why she launched Creative Urban Alchemy initially, and the steps she took to pursue it full-time this year
  • Undoing generations of disinvestment and weaponization of infrastructure
  • Common streetscape issues
  • The collaborative design effort of The Perfect New York Street
  • Her ideal profile for the NYC ‘public realm czar’ 
     

About Your Host

“Atif Qadir is the Founder & CEO of REDIST, a technology company making it easy for commercial real estate professionals to find and use the $100B of real estate incentives given out every year in the US.”
 

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