Place Driving Equity: Investing in Public Space for Shared Prosperity

Place Driving Equity: Investing in Public Space for Shared Prosperity

Sponsored: Join Reimagining the Civic Commons for the release of Place Driving Equity: An evidence-based action guide on the role of public space for shared prosperity.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

1:00pm - 2:00pm Eastern

Place—the unique space where the physical environment meets the social, emotional, and spiritual aspects unique to human life—is one of the most important drivers of equity and prosperity in communities. However, far too many neighborhoods in the United States have faced decades-long disinvestment, increased concentrated poverty and ongoing, systemic racism, challenging the benefits that vibrant communities can bring.

In response, civic infrastructure, such as parks, trails, libraries, community centers and the public realm, is increasingly critical to creating economic opportunity, eliminating racism, and promoting health.

Join Reimagining the Civic Commons for the release of Place Driving Equity: An evidence-based action guide on the role of public space for shared prosperity. Kyle Kutuchief, Knight Foundation’s Program Director in Akron, will present the publication’s findings and be joined by panelists—Dr. Eugenia (Gina) South, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Shamichael Hallman, Senior Library Manager of Cossitt Library in Memphis in a conversation with Lynn M. Ross from Spirit for Change Consulting. The panel will highlight the centrality of place as a crucial tool in overcoming inequity, building trust, and generating community-based opportunity and wealth.

Reimagining the Civic Commons is a national initiative transforming public spaces to foster engagement, equity, environmental sustainability and economic development in cities across the country.



Shamichael Hallman is a social, civic, and tech innovator. His 2020 TEDx talk “Reimagining the Public Library to Reconnect the Community” garnered national attention among public libraries. As the Senior Library Manager of the Cossitt Library (Memphis Public Libraries), he is currently helping oversee the multimillion dollar renovation of this historic, riverfront building with the goal of creating a transformative public space that can connect people of all backgrounds, cultivate trust, and create more resilient communities. He holds a MS in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania and sits on the board of a number of great nonprofit organizations in Memphis.


Kyle Kutuchief is Program Director in Akron for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The foundation invests in journalism, the arts and the success of cities where its founders once published newspapers. To help move Akron towards stabilization and growth, Knight invests in public life and the public realm to attract and engage new residents, with a focus on downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. Akron is also part of Reimagining the Civic Commons, a Knight-supported national initiative that seeks to counteract economic and social fragmentation by revitalizing and connecting public spaces.


Eugenia (Gina) South, MD MS is Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine where she serves as the Vice Chair for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity. She is also the Faculty Director for the Penn Urban Health Lab, a research group that partnership with communities to build healthy neighborhoods and create policy-relevant evidence. As a physician-scientist, her broad vision is to improve health and quality of life for residents in Black communities through both research and clinical work. She is particularly passionate about leveraging urban nature as a community health tool. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her work has been published in JAMA, PNAS, and AJPH, as well as been covered by national and international media outlets such as the Washington Post, NPR, and Time Magazine.



Lynn M. Ross is a nationally recognized urbanist and the founder of Spirit for Change Consulting, LLC where she works across sectors with organizations on a mission to create the equitable policies and practices that sustain just places. Lynn is also a visiting lecturer on planning and policymaking for equity and justice at Cornell University. She serves on the boards of KABOOM! and Next City, the advisory board for the National Academy of Medicine’s Culture of Health Program, and the Reimagining the Civic Commons national steering committee.

This event is sponsored by:

This is a sponsored webinar. By registering, you are agreeing to share your contact information with Reimagining the Civic Commons.



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