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About this Video

How to radically improve the health and beauty of cities by giving people permission to exercise creative responsibility for public areas they choose.

As a Public Realm Visioneer, Charles McKinney envisions ways to weave parks into the daily lives of everyone, and advances citizen initiatives to improve public space.

As the former Principal Urban Designer for NYC Parks, Charles led the preparation of master plans that corrected problems, highlighted natural attributes, and addressed emerging recreational needs.

Previously, as Chief of Design at NYC Parks, he provided design direction for the largest amount of investment in parks since the 1930’s. His projects broke new ground in the design of park architecture, landscape and ecological restoration. They improved the happiness, fitness and health of community members, and addressed climate change.

The American Institute of Architects and the American Society of Landscape Architects awarded him honorary membership. He has a Bachelor’s of Architecture from the University of Arkansas, a Masters in Urban Design from City College; he was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard GSD in 1994.


About the Speaker

Charles McKinney

Charles McKinney

As the Principal Urban Designer for New York City Parks, Charles McKinney is leading the preparation of master plans for flagship parks. Under his direction, NYC Parks is exploring responses to the design imperatives of the 21st-century, web-based planning tools and communication, as well as the role of planning in stimulating community based leadership. Charles recently completed a 20-year Master Plan for Van Cortlandt Park. He is the prior Chief of Design at NYC Parks. For four years, he provided design direction for landscape and architecture projects throughout New York City that strengthened the relationship between architecture, landscape, ecology, community, and park operations. The award winning Design Manual for 21st Century Parks was prepared under his direction, in collaboration with the Design Trust for Public Space. He has a Bachelor’s of Architecture from the University of Arkansas and a Master’s in Urban Design from City College; he was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1994.