Aminah Ricks

Founder & Creative Director
"We are a reflection of our cites and our cities reflect us." Aminah Ricks
The hidden city.

Each layer is created by days and years, people and movements, politics and community bumping and flowing into and through each other like jazz notes – the city is built in moments, it develops, matures, ages, becomes derelict and is reborn in some small way everyday, through the air, through the streets, through the city-zens.

Aminah Ricks, 2017, Nolita NYC

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Aminah Ricks

Home sweet homes | Belize and Brooklyn
Home sweet home

This “highrise” in Belize is designed to protect this home from flooding in the rainy season. Additionally, it has a cistern to capture rain water and solar panels. This sustainable home takes advantage of it’s warm climate.

highrise bk

Density rules in popular Brooklyn neighborhoods. The increase in residents dictates the creation of highrise living. As developers race to create more housing, city planning has to play catch up to facilitate additional public services and infrastructure.

lowrise belize

Off the grid in Belize but outfitted with everything one needs from a kitchen, laundry facilities and even a bike for running errands.

lowrise bk

The beloved brownstones in Brooklyn are revered worldwide, their simple charm and historic relevance make them a sought after purchase or rental.

 

Photography Credit:  Aminah Ricks

Ground Level Design in Belize and Brooklyn

Ground level design should be thoughtful – it sets the tone of our collective experience as we move through the streets, especially when walking.  It can provide an invitation or a barrier.

An opening towards the streets becomes clear with the use of transparent materials such as glass, or a hurdle can be created when the view is meet with something opaque like metal.  Off course when the climate is tropical like in Belize, there is no need for a glass enclosure.

From retail to restaurants and residential spaces, what our eyes see and our senses detect should be considered in ground level design as we think about the future of our cities and its city-zens.

Photography Credit: Aminah Ricks

Art Ignites City Life

Art Ignites City Life

Underneath the bridges of Brooklyn, artwork mingles with neighborhood residents and visitors. Outdoor installations, short films, paintings, sculpture, performance art and poetry readings are all on display every first Thursday of the month.  This is when DUMBO becomes an open playground of city life, culture and creativity.

Galleries and event spaces open their doors, feeding the curiosity of city residents to that which has been previously labored and prepared behind closed doors. This exchange between art and the city is fundamental for bringing people together. It is a free event that brings many diverse groups together.

The energy from the sidewalks, as folks drift in and spill out of buildings, ignites the area in a way not seen on other days of the month.

Using the urban landscape as a backdrop and the excuse to bring people together is the very point of city life.

Cover Photo Credit: Molly Woodward

Photographer & Graphic Artist Molly Woodward

Painter Laura Shechter, represented by Porter Contemporary

Artist Marguerite Day

*DUMBO is a neighborhood in Brooklyn and the acronym stands for Down Underneath the Manhattan Bridge Overpass

DUMBO’s First Thursday Events

A city that encourages it city-zens to walk is a winner

The hillside town of Spoleto, Italy is a challenge to walk.  Imagine beautiful continuous, steep hills throughout the historical center.

As residents began to abandon the hassles of parking in the older town for the new malls in the peripheral areas, the Spoleto city planning department went to work brainstorming ideas to invite folks of all ages to visit, shop and live in “centro storico”.

So what did they do to motivate residents and tourists to walk those steep hills?  The city invested significant funds into creating alternative mobility, which dis-incentivizes cars and motivates priority for pedestrians:

  • created multiple underground parking right outside of town with a connected moving walking, protective from the elements of weather
  • developed a system of these protective moving walkways, allowing residents in town to traverse one level of the city to another
  • designed well place maps to indicate walking paths, directions and distances between sights and streets
  • built a beautiful, extended outdoor escalator system, placed alongside the ancient walls of the city, providing breathtaking views

From 8 to 80 years old, anyone can access and enjoy this Umbrian town by leaving the car behind and going for a walk.

Instagram

 

Photo credit: Aminah Ricks

The Art & Soul of Placemaking

Urban art transforms, it adds the color and life to an often muted city.  It awakens our sense of whimsy or provokes thought.  Combined with open space and street furniture, the formula for placemaking is complete.

 

 

Photography Credit: Aminah Ricks

Ground-up Transportation
In Belize hitch hiking is mainstream and a very accepted carpooling system of sharing transportation in a country where most do not own cars

In Belize hitch hiking is mainstream and a very accepted carpooling system of sharing transportation in a country where most do not own cars

 

 

Cycling, good for the health of our cities and ourselves

In Brooklyn cycling is an easy and agile way to get around, good for the health of our cities and ourselves

Refurbished school buses serve as public transportation in Belize

Refurbished school buses serve as public transportation in Belize

Subways are the fastest and most efficient way to move thousands, daily through our cities

Subways are the fastest and most efficient way to move thousands, daily through Brooklyn and NYC

 

Photography Credit:  Aminah Ricks

  • The Soho Effect
  • Artist: @99piorg

From Soho (South of Houston in NYC) to NOBE (North Oakland Berkeley Emeryville), neighborhoods are being re-branded.  Mostly this trend is initiated by real estate agents, why is this happening and what is the effect?

Listen to this great podcast from @99piorg to discover the story behind the story.

Cover Photography: Aminah Ricks

Elevating City Life