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Designing Boston: Defining Innovation

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With support from: Lowell Institute
Date and time
Monday, April 06, 2015

Mayor Martin Walsh has outlined a vision of a Boston that is “thriving, healthy, and innovative,” charging that our built environment should reflect “a culture of imagination.” What does innovative design mean for Boston architecture and for its architects? Attorney Michael Ross moderates a diverse panel that includes a developer, an architect, a landscape architect, and a Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) board member to discuss opportunities for innovative design in a 21st-century city and how new thinking about municipal processes, private development, and design practice will get us there. (Photo: [werkunz/Flickr](https://www.flickr.com/photos/werkunz/4608613719/ ""))

With the experience Mike Ross gained solving complex problems and bringing disparate parties together as a legislator, he now brings to his practice as an attorney where he focuses on real estate, strategic advice, and government relations. Mike served for 14 years as a Boston City Councilor, as well as serving as the President of the body. In 2013 he entered the race for mayor, sharing a bold vision for the city’s future. As an elected official he championed the opening of elementary schools in underserved neighborhoods and recently celebrated the announcement of the opening of a new downtown school - the first since the Carter administration. He brought physical education to area schools and focused on creating innovative job training models. His efforts revitalize the Boston Common and launch Food Trucks by borrowing ideas from other cities, have helped to move Boston forward. Ross represented District 8 on the Boston City Council, including Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, and Mission Hill and some of Boston's greatest institutions and landmarks: Fenway Park, the Longwood Medical Area and Massachusetts General Hospital, the Museum of Fine Arts and Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and a number of our city's finest academic institutions. World-renowned public spaces like the Boston Common, the Public Garden, the Esplanade, and Frederick Law Olmstead's historic Emerald Necklace are also in the district. Ross spearheaded the effort to turn the Boston Common into America's greatest park. As Chair of the Special Committee on Boston Common, Mike led the effort to bring more activity to the Boston Common, through improved programming efforts, as well as creating a restaurant and other eateries like the ones in a number of New York City's parks to draw tourists and residents alike to the Common. Mike has a long history of utilizing technology to make city government more accessible for residents. Prior to his election to the Council, Mike was part of a team that developed Boston's first Website. The site received the "Best of the Web" award for municipalities by Government Technology Magazine. As Councilor, Mike wrote for Boston magazine's blog, Boston Daily, as well as contributing to Blue Mass Group. He believes that there is a strong role that technology and the internet can play in making government better, more open, and more accessible.
Ted Landsmark has been a civic planner, civil rights and equity advocate, higher education administrator, arts and culture researcher, and community-engaged social activist in Boston and nationally. He serves on the leadership committee of the Northeastern University Faculty Senate.
Mr. Koop is responsible for overseeing the operation of our existing regional portfolio in the Boston area, which includes the Prudential Center and Cambridge Center. Prior to joining us in 1999, Mr. Koop served at Trammell Crow Company from 1982 to 1999 where his career covered high-rise office building leasing and the development of commercial office buildings and shopping centers. From 1993 to 1999, his position was Managing Director and Regional Leader for Trammell Crow Company’s New England region, which included all commercial office and shopping center operations. Mr. Koop is a member of the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Chapter of NAIOP and previously served as chairman of the Back Bay Association. Mr. Koop received a BBA in 1980 and an MBA in 1982 from Texas Christian University.
Shauna Gillies-Smith is the principal of Ground, a landscape architecture practice with a focus on artful and sustainable landscapes in urban settings. Gillies-Smith received a MAUD degree from Harvard’s GSD, a MArch from the University of British Columbia, and a BA (Econ) from Queen’s University. Trained first as an architect and urban designer, her shift to landscape practice was motivated by the desire to reveal the potentials of surprise and pleasure in the urban experience. Gillies-Smith has taught design studios at a number of institutions, has lectured widely and both she, and her firm, have been honored with numerous awards.
“Rob” creates institutional and cultural buildings that are civic works. Believing that even a single building is a piece of urban design and that every surface deserves intimate attention, his work assertively and elegantly combines urbanism and architecture. From reinventing the security bollard to redesigning a subtle icon on the National Mall, Rob continually elevates accepted conventions in his quest to develop intelligent, rich and timeless contributions to our physical environment.