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Breakout: The Role of Green Spaces in Post-COVID 19 Re-Socialization

October 14, 2020 | 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM 



Dr. Ali Modarres and Guy MIchaelsen, ASLA, PLA

Session Description:

Imagining the future of our cities and communities in the post-COVID world requires us to rethink work and play. How will we get to work? How will that affect our playtime? What will we need from our cities and communities? How can we re-engage with each other in physical spaces, free of health concerns? This talk will provide an overview of what the nature of work might be, particularly working at home, and what that will mean to the future of social engagement in various spaces within our cities. Focus on the role of green space and how it might be an important ingredient for our collective recovery, as we move away from isolation and the fear of being in the presence of others.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn the importance and role of parks and recreation to managing the transition from isolation to re-socialization.
  • Participants will explore how communities will use public spaces post-COVID.
  • Participants will discover new ways public spaces can and will be used post-COVID. 


Ali Modarres is the Director of Urban Studies and the Assistant Chancellor for Community Engagement at University of Washington Tacoma. From 1999 to 2017, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning. Dr. Modarres earned his Ph.D. in geography from the University of Arizona and holds masters and bachelors degrees in landscape architecture from the same institution. He has published in the areas of social geography, immigration, urban development, planning, and policy. Dr. Modarres has focused a significant portion of his public scholarship on economic development through an equity lens that includes global labor migration within the larger political and economic discourses.

Dr. Modarres serves on a number of governing and advisory boards of academic associations, nonprofits, and policy centers including Economic Roundtable (Los Angeles), Urban Affairs Association, South Sound Regional Leadership Council of Forterra, and the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. He has also served on city task forces and committees, including the Affordable Housing Technical Advisory Group for City of Tacoma. Throughout his academic career, he has built bridges between the university and the community, promoting and supporting the mission of urban serving universities.

As a part of his academic service, he serves on the advisory board for Palgrave’s book series on Demography and Political and Social Change in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) and Springer’s Urban Book series. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Urban Affairs, Cities, and Sociologica Urbana e Rurale (Italy).

Guy Michaelsen, ASLA, PLA

Principal, Landscape Architect

Guy Michaelsen is a principal with the Berger Partnership located in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. His 25 years of experience encompasses a variety of public and private projects, but his focus and passion is shaping places that build upon the character and unique qualities that surround them, be it public spaces in the heart of our cities, along the water’s edge, or parks and natural areas. His work ranges from urban streetscapes of Downtown Seattle to some of the region’s best-loved parks, most recently completing the reimagining of the iconic Riverfront Park in Spokane. He is a Washington Recreation and Parks member and frequent presenter at WRPA and NRPA conferences.  When not at work, you are likely to find Guy on a walkabout with his family in a great park, or on a never-ending quest to explore places new and exciting.

Please contact Kelly Rench, [email protected], 206.910.4706 with any questions or for more information.

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