About Us – Next City

Inspiring Equitable Cities

Next City is a nonprofit news organization that believes journalists have the power to amplify solutions and help spread them from one city to the next city.

Our mission is to inspire greater economic, environmental, and social justice in cities. Next City’s civic-minded reporting makes urban places more effective, equitable and sustainable. We supply changemakers with information that fuels their fight for low-income neighborhoods. Because we focus the world’s attention on good ideas that we hope will grow, some label us as “solutions journalism.” For us, it’s just what we’ve always done since we were founded by three college students and their network of volunteers in 2003. 

Emphasizing solutions, as we do at Next City, will give birth to more solutions. Research has found that when news stories discuss potential answers to problems, readers leave feeling more knowledgeable and empowered to solve them. Readers are statistically more likely to act, to donate to support an organization, and to evolve their opinion. Where solutions journalism is healthy, America has more informed and engaged communities. And when solutions are plentiful, so will our lives be in the city. 

Next City publishes hundreds of stories on solutions to urban issues every year. We also compile our best reporting into ebooks, host webinars with practitioners who share lessons from their work, and convene live events such as our annual Vanguard Conference for rising urban leaders. More than 500 Vanguard alumni are working today around the globe.

Originally named The Next American City, the organization began publishing a quarterly magazine in 2003. What started as a black-and-white printed publication staffed by volunteers ultimately grew into a popular and influential magazine that reached 1 million people over the course of its 31 issues. Today, Next City is a trusted voice on urban policy, reaching more than 2 million influential doers and changemakers via Next City's website annually. Another 150,000 follow coverage on social media, and 50,000 subscribe to newsletters. All are in search of ways that cities can be reimagined as truly equitable and inclusive. 

In an age when original, on-the-ground reporting is increasingly rare, we send our writers into urban communities to produce our award-winning fact-finding and storytelling. Next City is an independent, nonpartisan nonprofit that adheres to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.

We are dedicated to producing journalism that is accurate, transparent, fair and impactful. 

Next City is supported by a diversified business model that includes grant support from foundations, donations by individuals, corporate sponsorships or underwriting, advertising and events. Find more information on how to advertise with us in our media kit. All underwritten or sponsored content is clearly and obviously labeled. We do not accept sponsorships, underwriting or ads from organizations that we believe could undermine our mission or integrity. We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities and to support coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. Past and present supporters, including sustaining members, major donors and corporate sponsors, can be found here.

The newest information about what's happening at Next City can be found on our Press page. If you are interested in inviting Next City to join your next event or in booking a reporter as a guest, please reach out through info@nextcity.org.

Next City deeply appreciates its current funders: Surdna Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Citi Community Development and National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), as well as our many other generous donors across the country. Support Next City’s work by making a 100% tax-deductible donation today.

Our Staff

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    Executive Director

    Lucas is the former President of Pride Media and led LGBTQ brands The Advocate, Out magazine, PRIDE.com, Out Traveler, Chill magazine, and Plus magazine. Grindley was also editor in chief of The Advocate, the longest running LGBTQ magazine in the country. In both 2016 and 2018, NLGJA honored Grindley as “LGBT Journalist of the Year” with its Sarah Pettit Memorial Award. From 2008 through 2011, he was managing editor for online at National Journal magazine, covering politics and policymaking in Washington, D.C. He now lives in Philadelphia with his husband and twin daughters. He also serves on the board of directors for Extraordinary Families, a nonprofit helping create more families like his through foster-adoption. Follow him on Twitter @lucasgrindley.

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    Editorial Director

    Before joining Next City, Kelly worked for two decades in magazines, books, and digital publishing. As an editorial manager at Google, she assembled and directed content teams that prototyped and launched the Destinations at Google travel channel, as well as the Explore recommendation engine on Google Maps. As editorial director of the Frommer's Travel Guides, she launched a color publishing program and managed a list of about 125 books per year. She is a longtime freelance editor and writer, specializing in science, travel, educational publishing, and dream interpretation. She holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. Follow her on Twitter @kellyaregan.

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    Senior Editor

    Rachel became Senior Editor after years of contributing to Next City. Before joining Next City full-time, she freelanced as a writer and editor for The Washington Post, SmithsonianMag.com, National Geographic, DCist, and other outlets. In addition to her work on transit, housing, and the environment, she has written about mermaid conventions and edited work about exploding billiards balls, among many other stories. Rachel lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and a continually rotating cast of foster kittens. She is a member of the Greater Greater Washington Editorial Board. She secretly likes riding dockless scooters. Follow her on Twitter @rkaufman.

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    Events Director

    Sara is a marketing and events mastermind with more than 10 years of experience supporting small businesses, artists and nonprofits. She has worked with artists to donate tooth-related artwork for a dental surgery fundraiser, planned a flash mob for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and raised money for children orphaned by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. At Next City, she has organized several years of the Vanguard Conference for rising urban leaders.

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    Development Manager

    Before joining Next City, Jeff was the Communications Director for Healthcare-NOW!, a carpenter, and a community member of Leavenhouse (a Catholic Worker community that provides food and housing for the homeless) in Camden, New Jersey. He has a B.A. in Urban Studies and Regional Planning from Rutgers University-Camden and a M.A. in Regional, Economic, and Social Development from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

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    Integrated Sales and Marketing Coordinator

    Since graduating from Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, D.C., Eleanor has worked in administrative positions for a variety of organizations including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Old St. Joseph’s, Philadelphia’s first Catholic church. She continues to practice art in her studio, and uses her creative skill set to seek advertisers and underwriters for Next City.

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    Audience Engagement Editor

    Melissa is a multimedia journalist, techie, and recent Temple University graduate. The Philly native began her freelance career in 2012 and has since written for a host of Philadelphia-based news outlets including XPN the Key, Technical.ly Philly, and Grid Magazine. In addition to her media work, she has over five years of experience in information technology. Currently, Melissa explores her creative side through photography, publication design, and writing creative non-fiction. Follow her on Twitter @melsimpson215.

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    Senior Economics Correspondent

    Oscar covers policies, programs and businesses that seek to address historical disparities in access to jobs, capital and space for economic use in cities. He previously served as Next City’s editor from 2018-2019, and was a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow from 2015-2016. Since 2011, Oscar has covered community development finance, community banking, impact investing, equitable and inclusive economies, affordable housing, fair housing and more for media outlets such as Shelterforce, B Magazine, Impact Alpha, and Fast Company. Oscar holds a B.A. in Economics from Villanova University. Follow him on Twitter @oscarthinks.

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    Housing Correspondent

    Jared is Next City's housing correspondent, based in Philadelphia. He is a former staff writer at Philadelphia magazine and PlanPhilly, and his work has appeared in Columbia Journalism Review, Landscape Architecture Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Philadelphia Weekly, and other publications. He leads the Backyard newsletter on housing equity for Next City. Follow him on Twitter @jaredbrey.

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    Equitable Cities Fellow

    Roshan Abraham is a journalist whose reporting on criminal justice, housing and health has appeared in VICE, The Verge, Pacific Standard, The Village Voice, and more. A graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, Roshan was an Open City Fellow and a Witness Fellow at the Asian American Writers Workshop.

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    Equitable Cities Fellow

    Valerie is a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow and a freelance writer. She travels extensively throughout the United States. Her work has appeared in Bloomberg, Columbia Journalism Review, In These Times, and Politico, among many other outlets. She is a former news editor of High Times magazine, and the former editor-in-chief of Detroit’s alt-weekly, the Metro Times.

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    Web Developer

    Derek has been building (and rebuilding) the Next City website since 2007 out of his humble abode in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he designs and builds websites and custom code for publishers, artists, and nonprofits at home and abroad. Follow him on Twitter @mrherbivore.

How We Change Cities

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    Use our sources to identify innovative solutions in cities.

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    Expert reporters tell the stories of people creating change and detail how it’s happening.

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    Share those stories with our network of doers and changemakers in communities online and on the ground.

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    Grow our network and encourage knowledge-sharing with our ebooks, webinars and live events.

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    Foster the next generation of urban leaders with educational and energizing programming that connects them with each other.

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Who We Reach

Next City connects the people who make up the social, economic and cultural fabric of our cities. Surveys consistently show that 74% of readers use Next City’s journalism in their jobs. What is that job? More than 80% say they or their organizations work to achieve greater racial equity.

  • Community voices and advocates
  • Nonprofits
  • Academics and students
  • Local and federal government
  • Business and civic leaders

Board of Directors

  • Eric Shaw, Chair

    San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development

    Eric Shaw is an urban planning professional with extensive experience in establishing and leading cross sector, cross discipline and cross jurisdictional partnerships in the areas of community and economic development. He has been recognized for his work establishing strategic initiatives that support inclusive development and resilience in communities throughout the nation. He has held positions in the public and philanthropic sectors in Washington, D.C., Salt Lake City, Louisiana, Silicon Valley, and Miami. He is currently Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development for the City and County of San Francisco.

    Eric serves on the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Council, is a board member of the UCLA Alumni Association and serves on the National Trust for Historic Preservation board of advisors. In 2017 and 2018, he was recognized in the OUTstanding Leading LGBT+ Public Sector Executives List, presented by the Financial Times. 

  • Casius Pealer, Vice Chair

    Tulane University

    Casius Pealer is the Henry Shane Professor of Practice in Real Estate at Tulane University, and Director of Tulane’s Real Estate Development programs. These interdisciplinary graduate and undergraduate degree programs are housed in the School of Architecture and emphasize the connections between real estate development and social justice and environmental impact.

    Trained as an architect and a real estate attorney, Casius has over 20 years of community development experience, including four years as legal counsel for public housing authorities across the country implementing mixed-finance redevelopment projects. Casius has also worked in the nonprofit sector as the first Director of Affordable Housing at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and in the public sector as Assistant General Counsel for Real Estate at the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA). He is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Eastern Caribbean) and a former taxi cab driver, and started his teaching career at Howard University.

    Casius has served on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) national Housing Committee, the Association for Community Design (ACD) board, and as a Commissioner for the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO). He holds a J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, and a Master’s in Architecture from the Tulane School of Architecture. 

  • Efrem Bycer, Treasurer

    LinkedIn

    Efrem Bycer is a member of LinkedIn's Global Policy Partnerships team where he leads a set of partnerships with government agencies and civic organizations to help connect workers to economic opportunity, particularly through job training and reemployment services. Prior to joining LinkedIn, Efrem led Code for America's efforts to help governments better leverage agile software development and user-centered design to support their economic and workforce development efforts. Efrem has more than a decade of experience working on economic development, workforce development, and public sector innovation. 

    In his spare time, Efrem is an avid runner, snowboarder, and homebrewer. Efrem has a Bachelor of Science in Urban and Regional Studies from Cornell University and a Master's in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.

  • Tamar Shapiro, Secretary

    New Urban Mobility Alliance

    Tamar Shapiro is the Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives for NUMO, the New Urban Mobility alliance, hosted by WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. She has two decades of experience working on policies and programs related to land use, housing, transportation, and economic development.

    Prior to joining NUMO, Tamar was a Non-Resident Fellow at the Urban Institute, based in Leipzig, Germany. From 2012 to 2017, Tamar was President and CEO of the Center for Community Progress. Previously, Tamar was Senior Director of Urban and Social Policy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She also served as the Director of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design at Smart Growth America. An attorney by training, Tamar Shapiro worked at Klein Hornig, LLP, a law firm specialized in affordable housing development.

    Tamar received a J.D. from Harvard Law School, an M.Phil. in European Studies from the University of Cambridge, and a B.A. from Harvard College. She was the recipient of a McCloy Fellowship in Environmental Affairs to conduct a 2010 research project on vacant property policies in former East Germany. In 1999-2000, she was a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in Berlin and worked at the Berlin Administration on Urban Planning and Environment as well as the German Institute for Urban Affairs.

  • Jamie Alderslade

    Citi

    Jamie Alderslade is Director of Impact and Insights for Community Investing and Development at Citi. Prior to that role, Jamie served as Citi’s Director of U.S. Community Relations overseeing Citi’s key community development investments across the country.

    Before joining Citi, Jamie was Director of External Affairs at The Social Comact, Inc., a national coalition of business leaders committed to making the business case for greater investments in low-income neighborhoods and underserved communities of color. He has held positions focused on equitable economic development in both the U.S. and the U.K. He sits on the Business Council for the U.S. Conference of Mayors and serves on the advisory board of the Initiative on Cities at Boston University. He is also a proud Next City Vanguard fellow (Chattanooga 2014)!

    Jamie has an M.Sc in Society and Environmental Policy from Oxford University and a B.A. in Human Geography from the London School of Economics.

  • Kate Didech

    Symbium: The Computational Law Company

    Kate Didech is an attorney and urban planner from the San Francisco Bay Area. She analyzes complex statutory regimes with gusto and develops solutions to make zoning and land use regulations more comprehensible, navigable, and actionable. Kate is the Director of Public Sector Innovation at Symbium and a fellow at CodeX: The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics.

  • Adam Giuliano

    Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell

    Adam Giuliano has over 20-years’ experience working on infrastructure, transportation, energy, and related projects across the globe. He is currently a partner at a boutique law firm focused solely on U.S. infrastructure and related matters, most often in and around cities. As an attorney, he primarily advises state and local governments on the structuring, procurement, negotiation, financing, delivery, and management of complex and high-value projects, including on issues related to local community and workforce impacts and opportunities. His recent experience includes advising on transit and commuter rail system projects spanning new construction, system rehabilitation, and station accessibility, the potential deployment of autonomous vehicle technology by public transit agencies, an education, events, and mixed-use city district redevelopment effort, airport-related projects, and road and highway reconstruction projects.

    Before pursuing his law degree, Adam served as a development officer for a nonprofit foundation concentrating on education reform, and economic and community development, in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Diana Lind

    Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia

    Diana Lind is the author of the book, Brave New Home: Our Future in Smarter, Simpler, Happier Housing. In addition to serving as Editor in Chief and Executive Director of Next City from 2008 to 2014, she has worked at Architectural Record magazine, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the University of Pennsylvania. She is currently the Executive Director of the Arts + Business Council for Greater Philadelphia and the Housing Fellow at the global nonprofit, NewCities. She lives in Philadelphia.

  • Andre Perry

    Brookings Institution

    Andre M. Perry is a fellow in the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings, a scholar-in-residence at American University, and a columnist for the Hechinger Report. He is the author of the new book Know Your Price: Valuing Black Lives and Property in America’s Black Cities. A nationally known and respected commentator on race, structural inequality, and education, Perry is a regular contributor to MSNBC and has been published by The New York Times, The Nation, The Washington Post, TheRoot.com and CNN.com. Perry has also made appearances on CNN, PBS, National Public Radio, NBC, and ABC. His research focuses on race and structural inequality, education, and economic inclusion. Perry’s recent scholarship at Brookings has analyzed Black-majority cities and institutions in America, focusing on valuable assets worthy of increased investment.

  • David Porter

    University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business

    David Porter is the chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. He’s also the former CEO of The Walter Kaitz Foundation, which is committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the media and entertainment industries.

  • Lynn M. Ross

    Spirit for Change Consulting

    Lynn M. Ross is the founder and principal of Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC where she works nationally with organizations on a mission to create and sustain equitable policies, practices, and places.

    Dedicated to serving mission-driven organizations, Lynn has over 18 years of multi-sector experience including past senior leadership roles at the Knight Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing. Her core expertise is in evidence-based policy making, housing affordability, equity planning, and organizational change. Lynn is also skilled in cultivating talent; building teams in complex organizations; transforming programs for greater impact; expanding funding sources and partnerships; and improving operational efficiency.

    Lynn holds a Masters of Regional Planning from Cornell University and a B.S. in community and regional planning from Iowa State University. She serves on the board of KaBOOM! and the national advisory committee for National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities. In 2019, she was named one of 50 “Women of Influence” by the Royal Town Planning Institute’s The Planner magazine.

  • Jason Schupbach

    Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University

    Jason Schupbach is the incoming Dean of the Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University.  He was formerly the Director of the Design School at Arizona State University, the largest and most comprehensive design school in the United States. In this position, he started the ambitious ReDesign.School project to reinvent design education for the 21st century, and is a key advisor to ASU on diverse projects such as the Center for Creativity and place, Roden Crater, the Creative Futures Lab, and ASU's Los Angeles downtown home. 

    Previous to this position he was Director of Design and Creative Placemaking Programs for the National Endowment for the Arts, where he oversaw all design and creative placemaking grantmaking and partnerships, including Our Town and Design Art Works grants, the Mayor’s Institute on City Design, the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, and the NEA's Federal agency collaborations. Previously, Jason served Governor Patrick of Massachusetts as the Creative Economy Director, tasked with growing creative and tech businesses in the state. He formerly was the Director of ArtistLink, a Ford Foundation funded initiative to stabilize and revitalize communities through the creation of affordable space and innovative environments for creatives. He has also worked for the Mayor of Chicago and New York City’s Department of Cultural Affairs. He has written extensively on the role of arts and design in making better communities, and his writing has been featured as a Best Idea of the Day by the Aspen Institute.

  • Jess Zimbabwe, Chair Emeritus

    Environmental Works

    Jess Zimbabwe is the Executive Director of Environmental Works Community Design Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit community-based architectural firm, founded in 1970 to provide professional architectural, landscape architecture, and planning services to nonprofit organizations, municipal agencies, and otherwise under-represented communities throughout Washington State.

    Previously, she founded a consulting practice, Plot Strategies, and served for ten years as the founding Director of the Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership—a partnership of the National League of Cities and the Urban Land Institute. The Center’s flagship programs were the Daniel Rose Fellowship in Land Use and the Equitable Economic Development Fellowship. Before that, Jess was the Director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and Vice President for Programs at the American Architectural Foundation. Prior to that, Jess served as the Community Design Director at Urban Ecology, providing pro bono community planning and design assistance to low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Jess is a member of the urban planning faculties at Georgetown University and the University of Washington. She earned a Master of Architecture and Master of City Planning from UC Berkeley and a B.A. from Columbia University. Jess was an Urban and Regional Policy Fellow at the German Marshall Fund and a Fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute. She serves on the boards of Next City, the National Main Street Center, and Colloqate, and she held a mayoral appointment to the DC Green Building Advisory Council. She is a licensed architect, a certified city planner, and a LEED-Accredited professional. 

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