WX Hosts Another Sold-Out Breakfast On The Future Of Transportation And Its Effect On Urban Centers


WX New York Women Executives in Real Estate (WX) hosted a panel discussion on “The Future of Transportation and Its Effect on Urban Centers” at The Harvard Club in New York City on Thursday, February 7, 2019. The presentation featured Sabrina Kanner, Executive Vice President for Design & Construction at Brookfield Karen Lightman, Executive Director of Metro21, Ruchika Modi, Associate Partner and Studio Director atPractice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), and Patrick Mondi, Senior Business Development Manager at Uber. Mimi Raygorodetsky, VP/Senior Associate at LANGAN and WX Member, moderated this panel.

The Future of Technology in the Automotive Industry:

The panel focused on new technologies in the transportation industry and what is likely to happen in urban centers in the years to come. Karen Lightman of Metro21 noted that in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA they have installed City-Scale Computing cameras and sensors to capture and process high-resolution video to facilitate computer vision algorithms research at intersections. The data collected through these computers will help establish guidelines and policies for future deployments in Pittsburgh and other US cities. Patrick Mondi of Uber followed Ms. Lightman’s remarks with Uber’s plans for the future. Uber, known for its on-demand car service and ride-sharing platform has grown and will continue to expand its scope from cars to broader mobility, such as connecting people to multi-modal means of transportation, including bikes, buses, car rentals and perhaps even flying cars one day.

The Impact of Dated Policies and Zoning:

Sabrina Kanner of Brookfield noted that the limiting factor for a shift in transportation methods will likely be zoning policies and the state of the market. Kanner referenced several projects throughout the US that have parking provisions that will only allow developers to replace the exact number of parking spaces currently at the site.Provisions enacted decades ago are not reflective of the market today.

A Car is Still A Car:

Ruchika Modi of PAU showed the breakfast attendees how much street equity various transportation modes take up in modern cities. The transportation methods displayed included bus mass transportation, pedestrian foot traffic, cyclists and cars. She went on to note ride-hailing, ride-sharing and autonomous vehicles take up the same amount of street equity as private cars. In a recent study by The Wall Street Journal, some cities have as much as 30% of land devoted to cars for roads and parking. Modi quoted Janette Sadik-Khan, former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation who previously stated, “No matter how you slice it, a driverless car is still a car. An electric car is still a car. An e-hail car is still a car. All the techie fairy dust in the world can’t turn cars into the liberators of all the street space they dominate.”

About the Speakers:
Sabrina Kanner, Executive Vice President for Design & Construction, Brookfield

With Brookfield Properties and its predecessor, Olympia & York, since 1982, Ms. Kanner oversees design and construction in the U.S.In her 36-year tenure with the company, Ms. Kanner has played a key role in the construction, design and development or redevelopment of over 40 million square feet of signature Brookfield projects.

Karen Lightman, Executive Director, Metro21

Karen Lightman is Executive Director of Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Ms. Lightman’s experience spans from economic development to leading worldwide coalitions on emerging technologies. Recognized as a leader in the MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) industry, Ms. Lightman helped start and led the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (MSIG), the largest industry consortium solely focused on MEMS and sensors.

Ruchika Modi, Associate Partner and Studio Director, PAU

Ruchika Modi is an Associate Partner and the Studio Director at Practice for Architecture & Urbanism (PAU). She oversees all aspects of the design process in the office. Most recently, she completed design development for Riverfront Square, a 700-unit residential project in Newark, NJ. Ms. Modi is currently spearheading the design of the Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn, NY, an adaptive reuse project that will transform a former sugar factory into offices, and the design of forty-one buildings as part of a new mixed-use development in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

Patrick Mondi, Senior Business Development Manager, Uber

Patrick Mondi works for Uber Technologies, Inc. on its corporate development team. His responsibilities include serving as lead negotiator for key real estate initiatives. His team established Uber's headquarters for its Advanced Technologies Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and he also led major real estate initiatives in San Francisco and Oakland, California.

About the Moderator:

Mimi Raygorodetsky, VP/ Senior Associate, LANGAN

Ms. Raygorodetsky has spent the last twenty years cleaning brownfields as part of land development in New York City. She is currently a practice leader for Langan’s Environmental Group in New York City. In this capacity, she sources and directs large, complex environmental remediation and redevelopment projects from the earliest stages of pre-development diligence, through the remediation/construction phase, to long-term operation and monitoring of remedial systems and engineering controls.

About WX New York Women Executives in Real Estate

WX New York Women Executives in Real Estate is an association of executive-level women actively engaged in the commercial real estate industry in New York. The mission of WX is to promote the advancement of women in commercial real estate; to enhance public perception about the role of women in the industry; and to promote the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and integrity in the field. Through educational seminars, breakfasts with industry leaders, mentoring programs, scholarships, and special events, WX provides members with a forum for visibility and exchange, spotlights the accomplishments of individual women in the industry, and paves the way for the next generation of women in the field. For more information, please visit www.wxnyre.com.

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