Remote video URL
Embedding Equity in Public Space: The Community First Toolkit Launch

A new wave of parks is emerging. Across North America, communities and civic leaders are activating public spaces by reusing derelict urban infrastructure. The organizations behind these parks are offering a unique opportunity to redefine civic life, equitable development for their communities, and health and wellness by leveraging resources and pushing the boundaries of public space.

For the past two years, 15 park organizations—led by the High Line Network (a program of the High Line)—partnered with researchers from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Urban Institute to explore the potential of public space to bring benefits to our cities and towns. They did so with a commitment to equity in their work, delving into history, experimenting with ways to share power, and building systems to center community in their values and actions. This work resulted in the Community First Toolkit, a process and tools codifying a path to embed equity in public spaces for park practitioners.

Join us for the virtual launch of the Community First Toolkit, where we will explore the tools and the process created plus some key findings. Members of the High Line Network and the research partners will discuss their experiences, reflecting on the lessons they’ve learned while measuring the impact they’re creating.



  • Rebecca Cordes Chan, Executive Director, Friends of the Rail Park
  • Mychal Cohen, Associate, Lafayette Square; former Research Associate, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Stephen Gray, Associate Professor of Urban Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design
  • Asima Jansveld, Managing Director, High Line Network
  • Tony Moore, President and Chief Executive Officer, Trinity Park Conservancy
  • Peter A. Tatian, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • Sonia Torres Rodríguez, Research Analyst, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center, Urban Institute
  • James Warren, Board Member, Richmond BridgePark Foundation





High Line Network LogoHarvard University Graduate School of Design


    Funding for this event is provided by the High Line Network. The High Line Network is made possible by the founding support of The JPB Foundation. Other major support for the High Line Network was provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. For more information on the Urban Institute’s funding principles, go to

    We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

    Date & Time Wednesday, May 18, 2022

    • Senior Fellow
      Research Director, Urban–Greater DC
    • Research Associate