reshaping rochester


The 2021 Lecture Series featured five lecture webinars (February through June) with follow-up Community Conversations one week after each.


For more information send an e-mail here or call 585.271.0520



A special thank you to those that make this Series possible!

Presenting Sponsor:

Home Leasing

Gold Sponsor:


Lecture Event Sponsors:

Department of Neighborhood & Business Development + Department of Environmental Services

Mike Governale, Renée Stetzer, and the Reconnect Rochester Board


Supporting Sponsors:


County of Monroe Dept. of Planning & Development



Lecture Series Friends:




In-kind Sponsors:








CDCR is supported, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Click here to listen to past lectures.


presented by:

Home Leasing
Every year, the CDCR brings experts from around the country to share their knowledge with the local community regarding issues that are presenting challenges for our community through our lecture series. This year, we plan to bring you SIX virtual lectures between January and June which together will unpack the 2021 theme: Building a Just Community.

Thank you to everyone who supported our 2021 Reshaping Rochester Series!


"Leveraging Latency for Community Regeneration"

A virtual presentation on leveraging latency for community regeneration. Our final webinar in the "Building a Just Community" series.


June Grant, RA, NOMA | San Francisco, CA

Design Principal at blink!LAB architecture


June A. Grant, RA, NOMA is Founder and Design Principal at blink!LAB architecture, a boutique research-based architecture and urban design practice in Oakland, CA. Launched in 2014, blink!LAB was created based on Ms. Grant’s 20 years experience in architecture, design, and urban regeneration of cities and communities. Her design approach rests on an avid belief in cultural empathy, data research, and new technologies as integral to design futures and design solutions.

blink!LAB has three mandates - a commitment to Design Exploration, Advocacy for Holistic Solutions, and the Integration of Technology as a central component for a regenerative society. “Because we are designers committed to new forms of knowledge through making, we prefer to situate ourselves in the middle of catalytic design - where new challenges and emerging opportunities are addressed through multi-layered thinking and design” (Grant). Open and collaborative, blink!LAB is a small multi-disciplinary design studio with projects bridging architectural form, urban economics, urban design, industrial design, furniture, and digital fabrication towards the creation of regenerated communities.


Wed, June 23, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST | via Zoom



A virtual presentation on healing & atonement and the intersection with building a just community.


Dr. Destiny Thomas | Los Angeles, CA

Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Thrivance Group

The transportation and urban planning sectors have become more invested in equity-related discourse and project planning over the last year, but the sector has yet to develop a set of priorities, definitions, or project typologies that mainstream “equity” as a value that truly permeates lived experiences at the community level. This lecture will offer a framework for healing and atonement as a basis for urban planning investment priorities, infrastructure design, and policy development. Dr. Thomas will weave frameworks for racial equity and social justice into a peer learning experience that arrives at a set of concrete recommendations for racial equity and transformative praxis.

Dr. Destiny Thomas is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Thrivance Group. An Anthropologist Planner from Oakland, CA, Dr. Thomas, has a combined 6 years of experience working in a Project Manager capacity within government agencies. These roles include 3.5 years as a Caltrans Environmental Planner (based in Fresno, CA) and 2.5 years as a Transportation Planner with the City of Los Angeles. In addition to this, Dr. Thomas has 7 years of experience leading key advancements in racial equity initiatives across the state by way of community organizing, policy writing, and non-profit management in communities that have been most impacted by racial inequities.

Areas of interest include: racial equity, implementing the "dignity-infused community engagement" methodology, anti-displacement studies, healing environmental and infrastructural trauma, and bolstering agency and voice in marginalized communities within municipal planning processes. In 2020, Dr. Thomas launched a culturally rooted, trauma-informed enterprise geared toward building capacity for these values within municipal agencies, direct service providers, and advocacy organizations. Dr. Thomas earned a BA in Political Science from Fisk University in 2006, an MPA with an emphasis in Public Health and Non Profit Management from Tennessee State University in 2008, and a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in 2016. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

Wed, May 26, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST | via Zoom



Event Sponsor:







A virtual presentation on the public realm and its intersection with building a just community.


Mitchell Silver | New York, NY

Commissioner for the New York City Parks Department

Mitchell Silver is current commissioner for the New York City Parks Department. Appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio, he assumed office May 2014. He was president of the American Planning Association between 2011 and 2013, the first African American to hold the title. His mission is to protect the public interest and maintain an outstanding quality of life for present and future generations by advocating strong leadership and sound planning practices.

Wed, April 28, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST | via Zoom






Join us for a virtual presentation on transportation/mobility and the intersection with building a just community.


Nidhi Gulati, March 24 | New York, NY

Senior Director of Programs & Projects at Project for Public Spaces

After a brief look at the ways in which automobility has induced segregation and created hardened boundaries for communities of color, Nidhi Gulati will outline a variety of initiatives in transportation and mobility that are providing equitable access, recognizing differing needs by neighborhood and community.

Nidhi Gulati is one of Project for Public Spaces' Senior Directors of Programs & Projects, and a member of the Executive Leadership Team. Nidhi is a trained architect and urban researcher who first joined Project for Public Spaces in 2013 as a Transportation Associate. In that role, she worked on more than 20 projects across the US and abroad, and delivered her first keynote speech at the Second International Forum on Public Spaces in Bogota, Columbia in 2014. She now manages the diverse transportation portfolio at Project for Public Spaces, helping to connect people

and places by creating community resources, contributing to the blog, and participating in speaking engagements. Ingrained in all her work is a commitment to better serve the most vulnerable populations in our cities and towns, including women and children.

Prior to rejoining the organization, Nidhi was the Emerald Network Program Manager at LivableStreets Alliance, where she managed all aspects of the initiative to connect over 17 jurisdictions in Metro Boston with a 200-mile network of greenways. She is also a guest writer for the global publication “Child in the City,” curating a series called "City Design and Stewardship: How to Design for Engaged Children and Citizens of Tomorrow."

Nidhi received her Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Malaviya National Institute of Technology in Jaipur, Rajasthan. Her thesis tackled the simplification of circulation patterns in international airports. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2012 with a Master’s Degree in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences with a focus on place studies and community development. She is a born and raised Indian with more than usual appreciation for trains, a preference for walking as a mode of urban transportation, and a drive to inform the ongoing urban explosion in developing economies like her motherland through her work.

Wed, March 24, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST | via Zoom


Event Sponsor:

Mike Governale, Renée Stetzer, and the Reconnect Rochester Board


Sara Bronin | Hartford, CT

Architect, Attorney, and Founder of DesegregateCT

Sara Bronin is a Mexican-American architect, attorney, and policymaker specializing in property, land use, historic preservation, and climate change. She advises the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Sustainable Development Code, serves on the board of Latinos in Heritage Conservation, and leads Desegregate Connecticut.

Previously, she chaired Preservation Connecticut and led the nationally-recognized efforts of the City of Hartford to draft and adopt a climate action plan, city plan, and zoning code overhaul. Bronin holds an endowed chair at UConn Law School and has served as a visiting professor at the Yale School of Architecture, the Sorbonne in Paris, and universities in Switzerland and Korea. She consults regularly for public and private entities, including helping to manage a $186 million, LEED-ND Platinum development project and leading a team to quiet title, with conservation restrictions, to the second-largest historic town green in New England. She has been interviewed by the N.Y. Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, CNN, and other major news outlets. Bronin was educated at Yale Law School (Truman Scholar), Oxford (Rhodes Scholar), and the University of Texas. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Key to the City. You can find her on Twitter at @sarabronin.

Wed, February 24, 2021 | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EST | via Zoom




**2021 Lecture Series kickoff postponed**

We regret to announce that the Reshaping Rochester kickoff event with De Nichols planned for 1/27 has been cancelled.  Those who made a donation with their registration for this event will be contacted individually.

We hope to kick off the series in early February with another dynamic and knowledgeable speaker, and will share more information as it becomes available.  Please reach out to with any questions.

We thank you for bearing with us and look forward to seeing you at one of our many remaining events in 2021.