Merida, Yucatan — New York City’s director of urban design will join in efforts to transform a vast, untended piece of land in the Centro into Merida’s own Gran Parque.
Neighbors surrounding La Plancha, a 20-acre government-owned parcel, continue to work to convert the field.
Forming an organized group, Los Vecinos (Neighbors) de La Plancha, representatives announced a Multidisciplinary Forum from Aug. 28-30 to attract private capital by bringing together experts, neighbors, officials and private sector representatives. Meetings will be held in the historic railroad station south of La Plancha, which today houses the School of Visual Arts.
Among the participants will be Dr. Edgardo Bolio Arceo, director of the Municipal Planning Institute and former director of the School of Architecture UADY; Dr. Ruben Omar Villanueva Yza, national president of the Mexican Association for the Prevention of Atherosclerosis; and Charles McKinney, director of Urban Design Department of Parks and Recreation of the City of New York.
As the principal urban designer for New York City Parks, McKinney is leading the preparation of master plans for flagship parks and new acquisitions. Under his direction, the department is exploring responses to climate change and public health, web-based planning tools and communication, as well as the role of planning in creating community.
He is the prior Chief of Design at Parks. For four years, he provided design direction for landscape and architecture projects throughout New York City. The award-winning Design Manual for 21st Century Parks was prepared under his direction in collaboration with the Design Trust for Public Space.
McKinney has a Bachelors of Architecture from the University of Arkansas, a Masters in Urban Design from City College and was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1994.
Other experts included in the forum will represent disciplines such as architecture, biology, ecology, engineering, landscape design, culture, health and tourism.