Pratt Research Brown Bag – Sept 26

You are invited to the first session of Pratt Research Power: Brown Bag series on Thursday, September 26th at noon, in the CTL meeting room (Library, 2nd Fl). No RSVP necessary, bring your lunch and join us for an engaging conversation!

Community Empowerment and Academia:

The Pratt Center research, tools, community-building activities, and grant programs 

by Adam Friedman, Director of the Pratt Center for Community Development

In my talk, I will ask what is “community development” or “community empowerment” and is there a tension between that and the typical approach of an academic institution. In the world of the Pratt Center, community groups are the clients, the decision-makers and the lead speakers. In the academic world there are learners, faculty, and administration. with classes and research. How we merge these two worlds has made the Pratt Center unique for decades.

To explore these issues, I will discuss our research on the value of the upzoning of the Gowanus; the development and use of the data portal; an in-progress report on how city projects impact zoning change; our efforts to bring planning firms together to discuss how to build a more inclusive practice; and our important research outcomes from the Taconic grant program.


Adam Friedman is the third Executive Director of the Pratt Center for Community Development. He was the founding executive director of the New York Industrial Retention Network (NYIRN) in 1997, where he led efforts to strengthen the city’s manufacturing sector and promote sustainable development. Prior to this, Adam served as executive director of the Garment Industry Development Corporation and director of economic development for Borough Presidents David Dinkins and Ruth Messinger. He has also taught urban planning courses at Pratt Institute and Columbia University. He is one of New York City’s leading advocates in support of manufacturing and the employment opportunities it brings.

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