2021 Newsletter #12

Looking Back and Moving Forward: Team Growth and Development, and COVID-19 Project Highlights


The COVID-19 pandemic is continuously exposing policy and practice areas that require more equity-driven and intentional solutions. During these turbulent times, Karp Strategies took the opportunity to better understand and leverage our role in the field across both client-facing and internal development work.


On the client-side, Karp Strategies has made a deliberate effort to work on COVID-19 recovery projects that correspond with our vision, mission, and values. Our team continues to spearhead work using lived experience, analytics, and curiosity to cultivate holistic and original solutions for complex problems. Internally, and rooted in our human-centered approach, Karp Strategies continues to learn from and reflect on the evolving pandemic, specifically by extending compassion and flexibility wherever and whenever needed.


 

Our team persevered through unprecedented times and has been fortunate to emerge with expanded capacities and capabilities. Since last year, Karp Strategies doubled in size (we’re currently a 25-person team and still growing!) and invested in team success through professional development. For example, through the diverse topics of LifeLabs training sessions - ranging from time management to task prioritization to work-life balance - our team has learned to mitigate difficulties together and added skills to adapt when COVID-19 or other challenges throw us curveballs. We’ve collectively learned to extend ourselves compassion by prioritizing our health and well-being first to, in turn, do our best work.



As we continue to look back and move forward, Karp Strategies acknowledges that we are still in the fight against COVID-19. We look forward to leveraging our internal strength to work on projects that directly tackle economic, social, and environmental resilience and recovery. As we do so: thank you for your continuous support of our growing firm.


 

Karp Strategies has been privileged to assist COVID-19 recovery projects that span our practice areas, including renewable energy + offshore wind, economic development strategy, real estate development advisory, inclusive + equitable cities, and policy + program analysis + design. Over the past year, we’ve put our nimble and flexible approach to the test by adapting existing projects to work in a quarantined and socially-distanced world. See some snapshots below!


Virtual Toolkit for Community Engagement: Expanding Everyone's Capabilities

Karp Strategies worked with Arch Street Communications (ASC) to create a virtual toolkit for community engagement. At the height of the pandemic - and building on our existing digital engagement work - both firms understood that communication and connection were important principles to preserve and share for those new to the practice.


If you are interested in the Virtual Toolkit for Community Engagement, please sign up here.


The toolkit includes resources to make online meetings more engaging, manage large amounts of online information, guide work with different online platforms, and more. Click here to see an overview of the toolkit presented by CEOs Rebecca Karp and Nora Madonick (ASC).


Brooklyn Bridge-Montgomery Coastal Resilience (BMCR): Shifting Engagement Mid-COVID

Karp Strategies was hired by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with the Department of Design and Construction and the Mayor’s Office of Resiliency, to work on the stakeholder outreach and engagement strategy for the Brooklyn Bridge-Montgomery Coastal Resilience (BMCR) project.


The BMCR coloring book. Click here for a downloadable version.


Due to COVID-19, Karp Strategies pivoted from the original stakeholder engagement plan - based on in-person workshops - to a more dynamic approach. For example, after working with community members and advocates, the team produced the BMCR coloring book so that residents could (1) learn about the resilience infrastructure changes to come and (2) see themselves using the new features. As seen above, the coloring book included images to represent both residents’ diversity and activities they wanted to participate in at the waterfront. Our team also safely presented to a local school to discuss the BMCR plan and climate resilience and then produced a video so more folks could learn about the project. Click here to view our team in action.


Local Rapid Recovery Programs (LRRP): Tactical Plans for Recovery & Beyond

Working in concert with the Massachusetts government, Karp Strategies delivered economic development consulting services through the Local Rapid Recovery Programs (LRRP). Small businesses and towns throughout the country struggled to maintain their economic base and diversity, especially during the more restrictive periods of quarantine. LRRP was intended to provide towns and cities with access to professional planning services to tackle COVID-19 related problems.


Excerpt from Grafton’s Rapid Recovery Plan 2021.


Our team worked with local governments in Upton, Mendon, and Grafton to provide project plans for various infrastructure and economic development initiatives to both overcome pandemic-induced problems and drive long-sought-after changes. The project plans outline specific steps and proposed partnerships to achieve public and private realm improvements, create local business advancement and support policies, realize public space activation ideas, and develop transportation initiatives.


SoHo Broadway Public Realm Framework + Vision Plan: Centering the Pedestrian

In partnership with the SoHo Broadway Initiative (the business improvement district in the area), Karp Strategies worked on the SoHo Broadway Public Realm Framework + Vision Plan. Inspired by the Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs that emerged during COVID-19, the plan aims to address long-standing quality of life issues by re-imagining streets and open space. Through research, analysis, and stakeholder discussions, the people-focused plan centers SoHo community voices while also weighing input from the City and the project task force. Ultimately, the plan’s recommendations include celebrating SoHo’s history and architecture, expanding sidewalk space, reducing auto traffic, improving waste management, creating a bike-friendly environment, and more.


Street rendering from the SoHo Broadway Public Realm Framework + Vision Plan.


Our CEO, Rebecca Karp, recently presented the plan at an Urban Design Forum event, alongside Street Plans’ Principal Mike Lydon (the prime consultant) and SoHo Broadway Initiative Executive Director Mark Dicus. Click here to see the presentation.


 

As we continue to grow, Karp Strategies seeks passionate and community-driven professionals to join our dynamic team. Check out our open positions here, and apply now!


The following position is open:


 

Join the New York City Employment & Training Coalition TODAY for their Meet the Candidates: NYC Council Speakers series with Council Member Justin Brannan from 10-11 AM and with Council Member Francisco Moya on Thursday, December 16, 2021 from 10-11 AM. Learn more about the events here and register here.


Join ABNY TODAY for their online Policy Brief on the New York City Budget with NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer from 10-11 AM. Learn more about the event here and register here.


 

Want to continue the conversation? We’d love to hear from you. As always, we welcome the opportunity to connect with your network of partners and clients or to work with you. Reach out to us at info@karpstrategies.com.