An online resource for designing a better world.

The Fun Palace 022: Leslie Koch

October 4, 2017

On a recent trip to New York we were delighted by our opportunity to sit down with Leslie Koch in Brooklyn. We discussed growing up in New York City in the 1970s, working both in the public and private sectors, and ultimately her 10-year odyssey to reimagine Governors Island. Leslie has since retired from her post as president of the Trust for Governors Island, but in this interview shares some insightful lessons on how they implemented strategies of designing with the public, and as she puts it “thinking big and acting small.”

Leslie is a poignant observer. She believes asking the right question is crucial to working on any project, and that its not enough to only want to find a solution, you have to be really interested in the problem. When she first started with Governors Island back in 2006 the question everyone was asking was “what is this going to be?” but Leslie wisely pushed back and instead asked “what should we do first”? She continues investigating the idea of the city and how equity fits into the very fabric how cities are organized.

To read a bit more about Leslie, check out the NYT article from last year.

Leave a Reply

More Stories About Community Development

Book Review: Design for Good

October 26, 2017
In Design for Good: A New Era of Architecture for Everyone, John Cary has written one of the most consequential books yet for people who are concerned with the future of the built environment in the... Read More

DC City Series Infographic

October 18, 2017
This DC City Series Infographic pulls together some of the brightest minds at work designing for social good in the Washington, DC metro region. Far from a definitive list, this cohort is a starting point... Read More

DC Adopts Community Land Trust Approach to Avert Further Gentrification

October 9, 2017
In an effort to combat imminent gentrification in its east Anacostia River neighborhood, Washington, DC, is adopting a community land trust model to promote and ensure affordability in its less-developed neighborhoods. Prompted by the $45... Read More