Miami, FL. May 16, 2018Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Museum of Art and Design (MOAD MDC) will present an ambitious series of public programs to accompany By the People: Designing a Better America, a major exhibition on socially responsible design and the inaugural exhibition in the Museum’s newly renovated facility in downtown Miami’s historic Freedom Tower. These programs include scholarly lectures, roundtables, and presentations by leading architects, urban activists, and artists, and consider how design and architecture can spearhead “a new civic imagination.” Programs will begin in May and run through September. By the People will be on view in the MOAD MDC galleries through Sept. 30.

By the People documents some of the grassroots initiatives that, in alliance with architects and designers, are committed to spaces that foster sociability and strengthen community. Organized by Dr. Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Research Assistant Professor at Tulane University and an urban anthropologist with extensive experience researching Miami’s urban communities and civic practices, the public programs complement the exhibition by bringing these themes home, to consider Miami’s unique environmental, cultural, and socio-historical context, as well as its international networks of trade and cultural influence.

These programs seek to engage audiences with issues critical to a more equitable urban future. These include “placemaking” (the notion that design interventions in public space lead to civic participation), racial justice, and environmental challenges. Architects, designers, planners, activists, sociologists, anthropologists, and political leaders from across the Americas will participate in dialogues with their Miami-based peers.

All programs take place in the Citizen Design Lab at the Museum of Art and Design. Daytime programs require Museum admission. Evening programs are free. Below is a full schedule:

Tuesday, May 29, 7 PM

Lecture: Creative Placemaking: How the Arts Are Enlivening Communities, Celebrating Diversity, and Pursuing Placekeeping, Dr. Ann Markusen (University of Minnesota)

Respondent: Dr. George Yúdice (University of Miami)

Wednesday, May 30, 7 PM

Roundtable: Creative Placemaking: What’s in It for Miami?

Recently, “placemaking” has become a buzzword among policy makers, foundations, and community activists. As public institutions reduce their involvement in the arts, culture, and education, private stakeholders have stepped in to address communities’ needs for inclusive public spaces. These spaces, ranging from small children playgrounds to entire arts districts, are ideally conceived in dialogue among communities, public policy agents, interested businesses and non-profits, and others. This panel will discuss how to activate “creative placemaking” initiatives, and how to balance communities’ mobilization (or lack thereof), the top-down approaches of policy-makers, and the profit drives of urban developers.

Panelists: Dr. Ann Markusen (University of Minnesota), Victoria Rogers (Knight Foundation), Roberto Rovira (Florida International University).

Moderator: Dr. Ariana Hernandez-Reguant (Tulane University)

Saturday, June 9, 4 p.m.

Presentation: Sam Van Leer (Urban Paradise Guild)

Friday, June 15, 7 p.m.

Roundtable: Race and Urban Space: Overcoming Inequality in Miami

What can architecture and urban planning do to mitigate racial inequality? Do we still believe that residential racial integration is the solution? Miami‘s lines of racial segregation have barely moved since the Civil Rights movement. On the one hand, incoming immigrants settled in neighborhoods according to preexisting demographics, while residential programs crafted in the aftermath of the 1968 Fair Housing Act to promote integration were increasingly defunded. On the other, new infrastructure projects, along with real estate interests, reconfigured the city’s geography in some areas. As a result, black neighborhoods experienced a decline. How can new “placemaking” initiatives, largely spearheaded by communities and the nonprofit sector, contribute to overcoming inequality?

Panelists: Shekeria Brown (South Florida Development Coalition), Neil Hall (Overtown’s Urban Collective/Arts Africa), Dr. Willie Logan (Opa Locka Community Development Corp.), Dr. Moses Shumow (Florida International University)

Moderator: Professor Robin Bachin (University of Miami)

Thursday, July 19, 7 p.m.

Exhibition tour and Q&A: Cynthia Smith (Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Curator of By the People: Designing a Better America)

Saturday, Aug. 25, 4 p.m.

Presentation: Tony García (Street Plans Collaborative)

Wednesday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m.

Lecture: Follow the Carbon: Climate Change, Housing Struggles, and the Reinvention of the Built Environment, Professor Daniel Aldana Cohen (University of Pennsylvania)

Thursday, Sept. 13, 7 p.m.

Roundtable: Naturing the City: Toward Sustainable Communities and Resilient Infrastructure

Disasters, such as hurricanes, as well as the doom of climate change and sea level rise have fostered new thinking about urban planning, particularly in cities like Miami, Houston and New Orleans. There is a growing awareness that rebuilding must be sustainable in the long term in order to protect communities from dislocation and, ultimately, destruction. This panel includes practitioners and thinkers who are at the cutting edge of this booming field in various cities, as well as local Miami leaders. The goal of the roundtable is to exchange experiences and together envision the ideal city in the era of sea-level rise and climate instability.

Panelists: Dr. Daniel Aldana Cohen (University of Pennsylvania), Reverend Houston Cypress (Love the Everglades Movement), Joe Meppelink (Metalab Studio), Mayor Philip Stoddard (City of South Miami), Susanne Torriente (City of Miami Beach)

Moderator: Dr. Marilys Nepomechie (Florida International University School of Architecture)

Friday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m.

Presentation: Joe Meppelink (Metalab Studio)

Tuesday, Sept. 25, 7 p.m.

Lecture: Cities for Whom: Social Inequalities and Urban Planning in Latin America, Lorena Zárate (Habitat International Coalition)

Wednesday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.

Roundtable: The Politics of Public Space in Latin America

This panel will consider cutting-edge urban initiatives in various Latin American cities, and the two paths they suggest to neighborhood revitalization through urban design. One is the vision of elected officials such as mayors, and the other emerges from grassroots activism. Cities like Medellin, Caracas, and Mexico City have been at the forefront of new initiatives in formerly underserved communities. A discussion of these projects will serve as a base for future choices Miami could consider.

Panelists: Alejandro Haiek (LAB PRO FAB, Venezuela), Jorge Pérez Jaramillo (Santo Tomás University, Medellin, Colombia), Lorena Zárate (Hábitat International Coalition)

Moderator: Dr. Sonia Chao (University of Miami)

Thursday, Sept. 27, 7 p.m.

Presentation: Jorge Perez Jaramillo (Universidad de Santo Tomás, Medellin, Colombia)

Friday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m.

Presentation: Alejandro Haiek (Lab Pro Fab, Venezuela)

By the People: Designing a Better America was organized by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian American Design Museum, and curated by Cynthia E. Smith. The Citizen Design Lab is an extension of By the People: Designing a Better America, and its activities are inspired by the GRAY AREA project and developed in partnership with ISA-Interface Studio Architects. The presentation of this exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design, Miami Dade College, is made possible by the generous support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners and by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

WHAT:              By the People: Designing a Better America Public Programs

WHEN:             Tuesday, May 29, through Friday, Sept. 28

WHERE:           MDC’s Freedom Tower |600 Biscayne Boulevard

Hours are Wednesday, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays 1- 6 p.m., Saturdays 1-8 p.m.

Public programing is free and open to the public

Museum admission: $12 adults; $8 seniors and military; $5 students (13–17) and college students (with valid ID); free for MOAD MDC members, MDC students, faculty, and staff, and children 12 and under.  Accessibility challenges: please call (305) 237-7710 for details.

For updates and a full schedule of events, please visit

Press Contacts: JWI PR—Jessica Wade Pfeffer: 305-804-8424,; or Juliana Gutierrez: 305-991-4259,