Disruption Index: Ayanna Pressley

Credit: Danni Sinisi

Over the next two weeks, Next City will unroll short profiles of 77 people, places and ideas that have changed cities this year. Together, they make up our 2012 Disruption Index. Forefront subscribers can download the Index in full as a PDF, complete with beautiful designs and graphics by Danni Sinisi. Readers who make a $75 donation to Next City will have a full-color printed copy of the Index mailed to them.

There’s a new and fast-rising star in Boston politics. Elected in 2009 and overwhelmingly reelected in 2011, Ayanna Pressley is the first African-American woman to serve on Boston’s City Council. She’s already making waves in the city, taking on entrenched issues like poverty, violence and inequality. She’s also created a council standing committee focused on women and healthy communities, further helping to elevate matters that tend to drift out of the radar of big city politicians.

And 2012 has been an important year in office for Pressley. She’s been a vocal advocate behind ensuring equal pay for women in the workforce, and also for efforts to spread local business into some of the city’s poorer neighborhoods. And she’s been a strong voice behind an effort to stop redistricting plans from tearing apart the city’s largely minority Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Many have suggested that higher office is in her future. And if her record is any indicator, that future will include plenty of status-quo shakeups.

Nate Berg is a writer and journalist covering cities, architecture and urban planning. Nate’s work has been published in a wide variety of publications, including the New York Times, NPR, Wired, Metropolis, Fast Company, Dwell, Architect, the Christian Science Monitor, LA Weekly and many others. He is a former staff writer at The Atlantic Cities and was previously an assistant editor at Planetizen.

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