Cynthia Nikitin has led numerous large-scale and complex projects during her 20 years with Project for Public Spaces (PPS). With a portfolio of more than 250 projects, her technical expertise stretches from the development of downtown master plans and transit facility and station area enhancement projects to the creation of corridor-wide transportation and land-use strategies, the coalescing of civic buildings and cultural institutions into civic centers, and the use of place-making to create safer cities and upgrade informal settlements in the developing world.
One focus of Cynthia’s efforts around downtown and civic buildings has been with the U.S. General Services Administration Public Buildings Program. Currently she is spearheading PPS’s alliance with UN Habitat to create 300 public spaces in cities across the developing world in fulfillment of a UN-Habitat General Resolution that seeks to incorporate public-space planning and programming as part of slum upgrading, gender mainstreaming, and urban regeneration projects. She has led place-making training initiatives for the City Council of Nairobi and City of Johannesburg/Johannesburg Development Authority. The City Council of Nairobi has committed to creating 60 public spaces in that city by 2017.
Cynthia authored one of the first books on transportation and livable communities. She has run more than 30 comprehensive transit and corridor planning projects and recently completed a research project for the U.S. Federal Transit Administration, which is seeking to develop evaluation and engagement tools to assist low-income communities in becoming involved in the transportation planning process.
Recent design projects include the public space around a new library for Lee County that will create an eastern anchor for downtown Ft. Myers, Florida ; a new park site and civic center for the Upper Kirby neighborhood in Houston, Texas; redesign and programming of the civic spaces around the Houston Central Library; a new civic square in Newberg, Oregon, connecting a library to a cultural arts center; and Master Concept Planning for Kaka’ako Makai, a 25-acre public park in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Cynthia has delivered keynote addresses at many U.S. and Canadian Library Association events as well as the Alberta Museum and Americans for the Arts annual conferences. She is an adjunct faculty member of Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and guest lectures at universities across North America and South Korea.