Home / Events / Making Space for Urban Manufacturing: Design Discussion featuring Nina Rappaport and Kate Sofis
NEXT EVENT: Thursday September 22
8 a.m.-8 a.m.

Push Me, Pull You

This year’s speaker series is structured as a set of intimate conversations between design professionals and thought leaders from other disciplines. The intention is that the dialogue promotes an exchange that reveals synergies between their disciplines that inspire innovation.

Making Space for Urban Manufacturing – Design Discussion featuring Nina Rappaport & Kate Sofis 

Nina Rappaport and Kate Sofis will discuss the opportunity of making space for modern urban manufacturing. Reversing the decades old trend of suburbanizing and urban manufacturing has been on the rise in cities. Today, as compared to older models of sprawling mass production, is cleaner, smaller, and can spatially co-exist in dense mixed-use urban neighborhoods. Urban manufacturing creates the potential for people to live and work in the same community and adds cultural and economic vibrancy to our cities. At the same time, the resurgence of manufacturing activities in American cities challenges outdated architectural thinking about factory design as well as established urban land use and zoning policies. Citing potentials for urban planning and design, architectural solutions such as multi-storied factories, mixed-use buildings, and neighborhoods, as well as new economic and business models, Rappaport and Sofis will present ways to leverage the technological and economic shifts to maintain diverse urban spaces and retain jobs. 


Nina Rappaport
publications director, Yale School of Architecture 

Nina Rappaport is an architectural critic, curator, historian, and educator. For over sixteen years she has been publications director at Yale School of Architecture, for which she edits the bi-annual magazine Constructs, exhibition catalogs, and the studio book series. 

She directs "Vertical Urban Factory," a think tank, which includes a recently published 480-page book with Actar of the same name, a traveling exhibition (New York, Detroit, Toronto, London, and Lausanne) and research projects on manufacturing, factory design, and ecological industrial urbanism. It is a project of the New York Foundation for the Arts. She has received grants from New York State Council on the Arts, The Graham Foundation for the Fine Arts, among many others. 

She curated the exhibitions "Ezra Stoller: Photographer" in Washington, D.C., "The Swiss Section" at the Van Alen Institute, in New York, and co-curated "Saving Corporate Modernism," at Yale. She is co-editor of the book, "Ezra Stoller: Photographer," author of the book, "Support and Resist: Structural Engineers and Design Innovation," and co-author of the book, "Long Island City: Connecting the Arts" with the Design Trust for Public Space. 

She has taught industrial urbanism, urban design theory, and has co-taught architecture studios at Syracuse New York City, Parsons School of Design, Barnard College, City College, and Yale School of Architecture. She has written numerous essays on structural design, architecture, and global industrial landscapes for international journals and magazines. She lectures widely. 

She is also a founder of Docomomo US and New York-Tri-State where she is vice president. And she is on the program committee of the Design Trust for Public Space. 




Kate Sofis
founding dxecutive director, SFMade
co-founder, Urban Manufacturing Alliance

Sofis co-founded and leads SFMade, a public-private partnership launched in 2010 that has helped catalyze a resurgence in local manufacturing in one of the land-constrained and expensive cities in the US. SFMade's innovative programs, which help manufacturers to access expertise and education, capital, workforce, and real estate, currently support more than 640 San Francisco-based companies, employing 5000 plus people, over 65 percent of whom are low-income residents. In 2014, under Sofis' leadership, SFMade launched the West Coast’s first non-profit affordable industrial development corporation, PlaceMade, which is currently constructing San Francisco’s first permanently affordable multi-tenant industrial space project.

Sofis is also co-founder of the Urban Manufacturing Alliance, a national initiative of more than 90 US cities, all working to connect major urban centers to each other and promoting the replication of successful urban manufacturing models across cities as diverse as New York, Chicago, Detroit, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Portland, and Los Angeles. 

Sofis speaks widely on the topic of manufacturing, urban economic development, and the intersection of cities, jobs, and the maker movement. Most recently, she has been a featured speaker at SxSW, CityLab/Aspen Institute, the Clinton Global Initiative, Techonomy, and the US Conference of Mayors. Sofis has been published in Forbes, the Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Monocle Magazine as well as numerous local publications. Kate holds an MS in city design and social policy from the London School of Economics and an AB in economics from Harvard University. 

For more information please contact:
Design North, Room 60, Tempe campus