The Vanguard conference is a gathering of rising urban innovators working to make change in cities. Designed to bring together professionals working across disciplines and sectors, each Vanguard class includes policymakers and politicians, architects and urban planners, artists and mediamakers, all selected through a competitive application process.
George Abbott leads the Knight Cities Challenge, an annual $5m call for ideas to make the 26 cities that Knight Foundation invests in more vibrant places to live and work. Abbott is also currently serving as Knight’s program director in St. Paul, Minn. Abbott previously worked in creative placemaking and political campaigns.
Lena P. Afridi is the Policy Coordinator for Equitable Economic Development at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development. Lena has extensive experience merging data, policy, and grassroots organizing. Lena integrates quantitative research, geographic analysis, and coalition-based campaign planning to inform ANHD’s goal of economic justice in New York City.
Folayemi Agbede is an emerging voice in urban planning and an avid researcher of the African diaspora working for Chester Engineers, the largest Black-owned civil engineering firm in North America. She has worked with Progress 2050, a project for the Center of American Progress, was awarded an Irene Tinker-Millidge Walker Fellowship to pursue work with the UN Development Programme’s Economic Policy Analysis Unit in Mozambique.
Nathaly Agosto Filión is the City of Newark’s leading sustainability strategist, convening interdepartmental teams to make Newark a cleaner, greener, healthier, better prepared, and more engaged city. She works with a diverse network of partners advancing a variety of sustainability, greening, environmental health, and quality of life initiatives.
Paola Aguirre is an architectural and urban designer, educator and founder of Borderless Studio, Chicago-based collaborative and interdisciplinary design consultancy. Her professional experience includes working with government, universities and architecture/urban design offices in Mexico and the United States. Paola’s transnational background and strong collaborative approach focuses her research and design practice on inter-disciplinary exchange, urban systems integration and participatory processes.
Sasha Neha Ahuja is a community organizer and advocate from New York City. She has organized at the intersections of migration and labor for over a decade. Sasha is a consultant with August Public Inc. and most recently served within the Speaker’s Office, at the New York City Council.
Fallon is an educator, scholar and practitioner of resilience planning. Her recent appointments—Louisiana Landmarks Society trustee and UNO’s Chair of Historic Preservation—follow decades of teaching, researching and consulting on adaptive reuse of infrastructural heritage. She advances equitable reinvestment advising the public realm projects of cities, conservancies and communities.
Jamie Alderslade leads communications, policy and research for Citi’s community development and inclusive finance divisions. His aim is to develop exciting new agendas in the areas of financial inclusion, asset building, inclusive finance and equitable urban growth. Prior to joining Citi, Jamie was deputy director of Social Compact, Inc., a national non-profit organization of business leaders committed to investing in low-income and underserved communities.
Kareeshma Ali is a Design Research Lead at Greater Good Studio, a social impact design agency based in Chicago. With over a decade of experience in place-based work, she has collaborated with grassroots organizations, residents, and city agencies on projects ranging from testing quick, tactical interventions to developing long-term master plans. Kareeshma continues to work in diverse contexts, while always striving to practice thoughtful community engagement and co-creating design solutions with local communities.
Kareeshma holds a dual Masters in Architecture and Urban & Regional Planning, and a Post-Professional Certificate in Social and Environmental Design.
Michael Allen serves as Director of the Preservation Research Office (PRO), a historic preservation and public history consultancy he founded in 2009, and serves as an adjunct faculty member and program coordinator in the American Culture Studies Program at Washington University in St. Louis. Allen is one of the founding executive committee members of the Preservation Rightsizing Network.
Scott Allen is the Vice President of Design and Development for the family and private investment office of Zhang Xin and Pan Shiyi (Soho China). Through a series of award winning projects and publications Scott has developed an international reputation for work that challenge the status quo pushing for new limits in design and innovation. His experience spans over fifty million square feet of new construction and has won over two dozen global design distinctions. He has spoken at events hosted by TEDx, The World Architecture Festival and the American Institute of Architect’s National convention to name a few.
Liz is a place making professional from Auckland, NZ with a background in design and urban planning. Passionate about transforming complex urban challenges into opportunities for innovation she leads development of vibrant and inclusive places, by connecting community voices with agencies who deliver infrastructure and built environment projects.
Trace Allen is a community builder, advocate, and intrapreneur committed to facilitating equitable, just ecosystems that support entrepreneurs and communities of color. Currently, he works as the Community Economic Development Program Manager at Propeller, where he manages an accelerator program supporting black-owned businesses located along a New Orleans commercial corridor.
Carlee Alm-LaBar was recently appointed President/CEO of United Way of Acadiana following a second-place finish for Mayor-President of Lafayette Parish. Returning to the nonprofit sector, she will leverage her previous roles in the public and private sector to bring community solutions to complex problems, particularly in the wake of COVID-19.
David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington, a website which advocates for a growing and inclusive Washington, DC region. He has a BA in Computer Science from Harvard University, worked as a Product Manager for Google, and now lives with his wife and daughter in Washington, DC.
Alen Amini operates Jamshid Antique Rugs, LLC in Cincinnati, and is the Director of the Corps Member Education Foundation, a nonprofit working to provide educational opportunities for low-income students. Alen served as a TFA member and assistant principal at Lakeside High School in Arkansas, as the ED of the Southeast Arkansas Community Foundation, and worked with the Mayor’s Office in Greenville, Mississippi to establish the Go Greenville! Program.
Dave teaches city planning through educational videos posted to his YouTube channel, City Beautiful. Dave has experience as a planning practitioner and is currently earning a doctorate in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Priya is an Assistant Vice President and Chief of Staff for the Funding Agreements Department at NYCEDC. She specializes in implementing projects that require managing multiple stakeholders, coordinating different types of funding and leveraging in-depth knowledge of city policy in support of nonprofit clients pursuing important neighborhood development projects.
Christine Appah is a senior staff attorney at NYLPI where she specializes in children’s environmental health. Christine has served as a regional director at the NYS Division of Human Rights and as an attorney at The Legal Aid Society of New York. Christine is a graduate of Duke Law School.
With a background in arts, culture and urban planning, Daniel Arnow is committed to building sustainable communities in the arts. Daniel currently works as Director of Affordable Housing Initiatives at The Actors Fund and holds an MS in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute.
Marc Asnis is an Urban Designer with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. He advises on long-range strategic planning projects, focusing on ecological urbanism and telling the story of future cities using emerging forms of media. Marc is LEED accredited and holds degrees in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and University of Oregon.
Laila is an environmental scientist and economist who develops tools to guide investments in housing and transportation. In her current role at the California Air Resources Board, she provides technical expertise to support programs that mitigate climate change, promote inclusive economic development, and advance environmental justice.
Ashley Atkinson is a planner in the Los Angeles Department of City Planning’s Performance Management Unit. There, she is working to develop metrics for planning, incorporate them into the Department’s functions, recommend strategic enhancements based on data analysis, and share outcomes with stakeholders. Previously, as Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Senior Planning & Development Manager during his administration’s first term, Ashley worked with the departments of City Planning and Building & Safety to implement mayoral directives and achieve priority outcomes on land use, development, and housing issues. She is serving as director of the American Planning Association’s Los Angeles section for 2016-2019.
Rotem works as a food and planning consultant for Québec en Forme. She advises, creates, and implements strategies, action plans, programs and policies to encourage healthy eating and physical activity in cities in Québec. Recently, she has been helping with the development of a food strategy in Montréal.
Mallory Baches is an urban designer and civic specialist. Certified by AICP, LEED, and CNU, she is the founder and director of The Civic Hub, a civicism incubation firm that blends her design and implementation skills with her passion for cities and towns, and for the community-supportive systems that help them thrive.
Demelza Baer is a Policy Counsel for the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, where she directs the Economic Mobility Initiative. She previously worked as a Policy Counsel for the Washington Legislative Office of the American Civil Liberties Union, and as an Assistant Counsel for the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
Paul Baker Prindle is the director of University Galleries, the University of Nevada, Reno’s museum of art. He clarifies, through museum practice, how the visual arts make communities stronger, safer, more resilient, more dynamic and more innovative. He supports the next generations of artists as they transition into professional practice, through mentorship, critique and exhibition opportunities.
Nisha is an urban planner and life-long city dweller driven to making cities more equitable. She has 15 years experience working with city agencies, community organizations and private institutions locally and internationally. She is Co-Executive Director at Hester Street, an urban planning, design and development nonprofit that works to ensure neighborhoods are shaped by the people who live in them.
Stonly Baptiste is co-founder and principal at Urban.Us, the venture fund for startups that make cities better. Stonly also helped create and teach the first Urban focused Entrepreneurship course at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Stonly previously founded 5 companies, speaks 3 languages, and programs in 2.
Tim Barnes is a multi-disciplinary designer based in Philadelphia. He is the Creative Director at Shiftspace, an award-winning architecture, interiors, urban design, and industrial design studio, where he oversees the creative team. In addition to his work at Shiftspace, Tim designs products for the furniture brand Shift.
Mike Barsotti is the Member Services and Outreach Manager for the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative, leading programming for sports-based youth development nonprofits and outreach to support the growth of the SBYD ecosystem.
A Philly native, Mike played professional baseball and worked in politics and government before joining the nonprofit sector.
Sruti is the director of community programs at FutureHeights Community Development Corporation. In her role, she aims to merge civic engagement and development with the end result of conscious development and human-scale design to meet the needs and values of residents, while addressing blight and disinvestment.
Westley Bayas III is the principal owner of Magnolia Strategies, a mission driven public affairs & policy consulting firm. Bayas currently works with the City of New Orleans and the Justice & Accountablity Center of Louisiana on a variety of endeavors. A New Orleans native, Bayas is involved in numerous local organizations and boards.
Colette is a Senior Consultant with NEF Consulting, the consultancy arm of the New Economics Foundation. She was previously Chief Advisor (Strategy & Governance, HR and Finance) and Principal Advisor in the Office of the Chief Executive at Wellington City Council, where she led the development of partnership-based growth programs. She previously worked in the UK at HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office and in a Government Minister’s office.
Karen Beck Pooley is a Senior Associate at czbLLC and teaches at Lehigh University. She was previously the Executive Director of the Allentown (PA) Redevelopment Authority and a Deputy Director with New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. She has a Ph.D. in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.
Ian Beniston is the Executive Director of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation. He has spent the past five years building capacity for neighborhood revitalization in Youngstown, Ohio. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and lives in Youngstown with his wife and Irish Wolfhound.
Dana is an experienced community development and housing professional, currently serving as Vice President for Citi Inclusive Finance. Prior, she worked as a Program Specialist for the DC Department of Housing and Community Development. She has a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.A. in Political Science from University of Delaware.
Emma Berndt is the Executive Director of the Energy and Environment Urban Lab at the University of Chicago. Previously she served as Director of Regulatory Affairs at Opower, a software company leveraging data management, analytics and behavioral science to transform the way utilities relate to their customers.
Matt is an Urbanist, Designer, and Lecturer. He is passionate about creating sustainable urbanism[s] in both practice and research. Matt is a Senior Urban Designer at Washington University in Saint Louis where he focuses on projects that engage civic and institutional partnerships in the St. Louis region. As a lecturer, Matt lectures in the Urban Design Graduate program at the Sam Fox School and Brown School of Social Work on sustainability, informality, and community development. Previous to WashU, Matt worked in the private sector as a Designer and Planner in St. Louis, New York City, San Francisco, and Charlottesville. Most recently, Matt was the project manager for one of the winning designs in the Van Alan Changing Course International Design Competition.
Cara Bertron is the Deputy Preservation Officer at the City of Austin and the Chair of the Preservation Rightsizing Network. She has completed preservation-based planning and revitalization projects around the country, including innovative historic resource surveys, creative community documentation, and citywide preservation plans. Cara also edits Pocket Guide.
Tsedey Betru’s experiences immigrating to Memphis from Ethiopia led her to study Urban Development at Cornell University where she earned her B.S. She went on to obtain her Masters in Nonprofit Management & Urban Policy Analysis at The New School, and has since held positions that range from Director of the DMI Scholars Program at the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, to Project Manager for the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team–an initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Rajesh is a Sydney based Urban Data Architect and founder of the Australia-wide “Sustainable Travel living lab” series. He is currently working on an Open Data platform that will give Local Council, Businesses and Residents tools to better access, nurture and value their common green spaces and local biodiversity.
Imron Bhatti is a Presidential Management Fellow at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. His career has focused on how urban planning can ameliorate or exacerbate inequities in access to opportunity.
John Bilderback is Program Manager for Step ONE and the Chattanooga project director for a grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Under John’s leadership, residents, partner organizations and government agencies have collaborated on more than $1.37 million of programmatic and infrastructural improvements.
Architect and urban planner with 16 years’ experience in governmental institutions at local and national levels, especially in housing and urban development public policies, governance, strategic planning, social inclusion and citizen participation; more than 5 years of international experience (UK, Latin American and the Caribbean), including an UN agency, with specific interdisciplinary skills, working with heterogeneous teams in the most diverse environments and cultures. Currently working as Project Director for the Urban Development Strategic Plan of the Metropolitan Area of Rio de Janeiro.
Jennifer Bolstad is a landscape architect, educator, and community organizer. Her work aligns natural-systems-based infrastructure with social justice initiatives. She is Principal Landscape Architect at Local Office Landscape and Urban Design, Lecturer at Parsons/The New School, and boardmember of the Coastal Marine Resource Center of New York and Puerto Rico.
Brian is a community development and sustainability professional with a decade of experience working with neighborhood stakeholders to strengthen relationships and communities.
Brian works to adapt community development strategies, to build upon existing assets and reflect the needs and experiences of existing residents. He emphasizes public art, culture and community gathering opportunities that allow people to interact, engage, and contribute to a greater sense of community ownership, pride, health, and wellbeing.
Brandy Bones is a Senior Manager at ICF where she works with communities across the country to design and implement affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization and disaster recovery programs. She is the Board President of a health center for the homeless and Board Treasurer of her civic association in South Philadelphia.
Tre Borden is Principal of the placemaking and creative consultancy Tre Borden / Co. His team curates events, public art projects, community-based programming and space activations with an eye towards equity and engagement.
Frederic Bourrely is the General Manager of Soder, a family of 4 not for profit organization active in three fields: education to environment, supporting citizen in their local green projects and companies/States in their sustainable development.
Nick Bowden is the co-founder and CEO of MindMixer. Nick is fascinated by the intersection of cities and technology, and is a recovering urban planner and proud downtown dweller.
Bryan Boyer is co-founder of Dash Marshall, a design studio working at projects from rethinking a single room to reimagining an entire city’s civic infrastructure. At Dash, Bryan leads the firm’s strategic design projects, with organizations including Google, The Museum of Modern Art and the Knight Foundation.
Will Bradshaw is the Co-Founder and President of Green Coast Enterprises. He also teaches real estate development at the Tulane University School of Architecture. He lives in New Orleans, LA, with his wife, Rebekah, and their two children.
Derrick Braziel serves as a Founding Partner and Managing Director of MORTAR, an organization dedicated to helping under-represented entrepreneurs in Cincinnati. Derrick’s work has led to recognition from YES! Magazine, Next City, Politico, the Stanford Social Innovation Review and NBC Nightly News. He is an Echoing Green Fellow and was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list for Social Entrepreneurs and the Cincinnati Business Courier’s 2018 40 under 40 list..
Kirby is the Beam Fellow of Placemaking + Equity at Western Reserve Land Conservancy, working with residents to green and repurpose vacant lots and activate spaces in the community. She’s a former elementary school teacher, a trained mediator, and an organizer with her local “artivist” group called Bridging The Tracks.
Daniel Brook is a journalist and author who writes about architecture and urbanism. His latest, A History of Future Cities, was published by W. W. Norton in 2013. He has also written for publications including The New York Times Magazine, The Nation, Harper’s, Slate, Metropolis, and NextCity.
Brandy H. M. Brooks is a nonprofit professional with a design and planning background who has spent the last 10 years working on social and environmental justice. Her particular areas of focus include community engagement and empowerment; community-base design and land use planning; and just and sustainable food systems.
Marlon I. Brown serves as mayor pro tem of the City of Mason, Michigan. He also works as a Budget and Policy Analyst for the State Budget Office of Michigan. Marlon holds a B.A. in Political Science from American University, a M.P.A. from the University of Delaware.
Sean Brown is a full time graduate student and the founding director of Young Urban Leaders. Former Camden school board member. Father of two. Blogger.
Ajamu Brown is a former Peace Corps volunteer (Namibia 2000-2002), seasoned community organizer, and holds a Master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University, and a B.A. in Speech Communications from Ithaca College. He currently works a Community Relations Manager at L+M Development Partners.
Brytanee Brown is currently in the City of Oakland Department of Transportation as a Transportation Planner where she manages capital and planning projects that intersect with placekeeping, economic development, and housing.
Brytanee holds a Masters in Urban Planning from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts from the UC Berkeley.
Ginny Browne joined PBP in 2012 to coordinate the first city-wide PB process in the US, in Vallejo, CA, now managing the organization’s West Coast project. Ginny has worked as a community organizer with the grassroots New York organization Good Old Lower East Side, a researcher with the Service Employees International Union in the Bay Area, and an AmericorpsVISTA associate with Fifth Avenue Committee.
A planner and former diplomat, Raabia serves as an Innovation Program Manager at the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development where she advances international and philanthropic partnerships to create sustainable and equitable communities. Previously, she led a federal place-based team to launch the White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative engagement Macon-Bibb County, GA and support community goals through cross-sectoral and interagency collaboration.
Noah is the senior director of programs and operations at Together for Safer Roads, a global NGO that works with government, businesses and community stakeholders on local projects, fleet safety management and technology initiatives. Prior to this, he led the data practice and policy program at Zendrive, worked for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Transportation Alternatives in NYC and the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.
Brian is a Project Manager at WeWork who convenes designers, general contractors, and suppliers to deliver new WeWork locations throughout the West Coast. As a former transportation planner and startup consultant, he is interested in the design nexus between transportation, real estate and underused space to prompt new interactions between strangers.
Brian holds a BA in Urban and Regional Planning from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and a MA in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Brianna Bullentini is a designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Architecture from Parsons the New School for Design in NYC, and has since worked in roles ranging from a junior designer for ABC, an experiential designer with ICRAVE in NYC, and the lead on a redevelopment project in Kenya and a water conserving project in Cambodia. Her latest project is a Reno-based eco-concious, cold-pressed juice bar, Rawbry.
Brian Burch has spent 15 years in public relations specializing in media, strategic positioning and crisis communications on behalf of consumer goods, startups, business services and venture capital; six years in public service on the Holland City Council, advocating for green housing, neighborhood engagement, urban design and municipal fiber infrastructure.
Evelyn Burnett is Vice President, Economic Opportunity at Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, an intermediary whose mission is to foster communities of choice and opportunity throughout Cleveland. Evelyn also consults with the Admiral Center, initiative of Living Cities. Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Evelyn sits on the board of several organizations throughout Northeast Ohio and nationally.
Haley Burns leads Fund 17, a nonprofit transforming hustles into sustainable livelihoods. Since founding the organization in 2012, Haley has led multiple community research projects and designed a variety of programs all focused on empowering informal entrepreneurship in the seventeen wards of New Orleans.
Straddling domestic and international work, Jackie designs strategy and acts as the coordinator of Ford’s New York City and New Orleans grant portfolios and also supports the foundation’s engagement in the UN SDG and Habitat III processes. She speaks Spanish and holds an MUP in International Development from NYU.
Sam Butler served as the Interim Executive Director for Creekside Community Development Corporation before joining Michigan Community Resources in July 2010. Since then, Sam has continued to hone his professional interests in housing program design, participatory planning, and creating alternative models for community revitalization in response to vacant land.
Efrem Bycer is the Director of Economic Development at Code for America. Previously, he was an Economic Development Manager at the San Diego Regional EDC where he led public policy efforts and EDC’s engagement with the Global Cities Initiative. Additionally, Efrem is on the Board of Directors for Next City and is the founder of BoardNEXT, an innovative program to prepare young professionals and underrepresented groups for and connect them with nonprofit board service.
Cassandra is the Engagement Lead for Intelligent Futures. Cassandra has established herself as someone who artfully designs and delivers meaningful community conversations that influence decision-makers and build local capacity. She has led processes that explore issues as diverse as transit, social wellness, parks, affordable housing, urban agriculture and cultural vibrancy.
Tyler is an architect and founder of DCP, a practice exploring the overlap between design, planning & development. After leaving Syracuse University with degrees in Architecture and Business, New York City has shaped him as both a designer and writer with sustainability serving as a cornerstone to his pursuits.
Caitlin Cameron is a first wave millennial having lived as a car-free planner and designer in five cities. Her recent projects in Portland include the India Street Sustainable Neighborhood Plan and Form-Based Code, Congress Square Redesign, Complete Streets Design Manual and improving immigrant community engagement methods.
Monica Campana, a native of Peru based in Atlanta, GA is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Living Walls: The City Speaks, Inc. Living Walls is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote, educate and change perspectives toward our public space in our communities via street art.
Natalie is a Sustainability – Sr. Consultant, with a focus on Urban Resiliency, for AECOM in Texas. Natalie also co-founded Green Money Search to inspire sustainable city development by leveraging incentives to encourage citizens to implement sustainable practices on their projects. She also leads Advocacy for USGBC Texas Gulf Coast Region.
Megan is a brand & communications strategist, creative director, project manager — and visual artist. She has spent most her career leading external communications and brand strategy for New York-based nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in the art, civic, and design community, such as the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and the Design Trust for Public Space. In 2018 she co-founded The Constellation Collective, a strategic consultancy that works with female leaders and creatives on communications with purpose.
Chase L. Cantrell is the executive director and founder of Building Community Value, a Detroit-based non-profit dedicated to implementing and facilitating real estate development projects in underserved Detroit neighborhoods. In collaboration with academic and community partners, Building Community Value serves as a catalyst for sustainable social and economic development that engages distressed communities in creating impactful, resident-led change.
Toni Carey co-founded Black Girls RUN!, a national movement empowering black women to live a healthy lifestyle. Today, Carey is Founder Emeritus of BGR!, a marketing consultant, a freelance writer, and yoga instructor. She considers herself a lifestyle architect empowering and inspiring others to find balance in their own lives.
Sharon Carney serves as chief of staff to the president of the Urban Institute, Sarah Rosen Wartell. Carney is responsible for supporting and advising the president on strategic matters, coordinating executive office initiatives, serving as a liaison between the president and external parties, and overseeing the president’s schedule. She also serves as assistant corporate secretary to the Urban Institute board of trustees.
Antionette D. Carroll is the Founder and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab, a civic engagement and design social enterprise addressing building healthier and more inclusive cities. Throughout her career, Antionette has worked for social justice, human rights, and diversity and inclusion nonprofits. She is AMEX/Ashoka Emerging Innovator.
Cheryll Case is an urban planner specialized in a human rights approach to community planning. As the Founder and Principal Urban Planner of CP Planning, she leads by designing and implementing research and public programs that facilitate a shift towards more inclusive communities that are affordable and accessible to all.
Calli Cenizal is an advocate for sustainable mobility and equitable urban development. With seven years of experience in multimodal planning and transportation policy development, she currently works as the West Coast Transportation Policy Manager for Lyft. Previously, she worked for Nelson\Nygaard, helping cities and agencies advance creative transportation solutions.
Christine Gaspar is Executive Director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy, a nonprofit whose mission is to use art and design to increase meaningful civic engagement, particularly among historically under-represented communities. She has over fifteen years of experience in community design.
Jonathan Cha is an Urbanologist, Landscape Architect and Doctor in Urban Planning. He teaches at the University of Montreal, UQAM and McGill. Specialist of public space, he is co-founder of MTL ville en mouvement, vice-president of the Association of Landscape Architects of Quebec and member of a several Boards of Administration.
With a focus on the intersection of people in neighborhoods, race, class, and creativity, Aimee has recently returned to her hometown, Hartford, CT, to serve as its Director of Planning. Aimee has background in foster care case management and affordable housing development. She obtained a Masters in Urban Planning at University of Maryland-College Park.
Marvin Chaney is an Austin Native working with the Texas Water Development Board (state agency) which finances water and wastewater infrastructure. His primary responsibility is financial reporting. He is a Cornell alum (2009) with a degree in Urban and Regional Studies.
Nupur Chaudhury is an urbanist committed to building a just city for all. Trained in Urban Planning and Public Health, she believes in the power of place in our lives and has worked as a bridge builder and translator in both fields. For more than fifteen years, she has developed and implemented strategies to support residents, communities, and neighborhoods challenge power structures to build just, strong and equitable cities. At the New York State Health Foundation, she serves as a Program Officer, leading the Building Healthy Communities initiative across New York State and identifies and nurtures opportunities for affecting positive systemic change within communities.
Marco Chavarín is a community and economic development professional with over twelve years of experience leading cross-sector partnerships to address financial inclusion and economic justice for low-to-moderate income communities. Working alongside municipal, nonprofit and community partners, he co-develops and supports programs that enable greater financial access, housing affordability, small business development and resiliency for under served communities.
Marco currently works as Vice President of Community Development for Northern California at Citi.
Amy Cheung is a doctoral student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research broadly explores Asian American youth civic engagement and the roles of culture and place in constructing civic identities. Previously, she launched a youth development program for Asian American teens, and managed a pop-up library in Boston’s Chinatown.
Kelvin studied international development, started a charity FoodCycle in the UK that is in 34 cities, ran a social enterprise incubator and now is CEO of Good Lab, a service innovation training and project consultancy. After years in development, he sees integrated change with government is essential for our future.
Dr Subeh Chowdhury is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Auckland. Subeh’s area of expertise is a combination of her background in Civil Engineering and her interest in psychology. Her research involves examining the needs of transport by various communities. Subeh has a strong passion for serving disadvantaged communities and has focused her research on finding feasible solutions to help them.
Shani Christopher serves as the Director of Sales and Operations at EcoLogic Solutions, a green cleaning products manufacturer. She recently launched RePurpose Food Co., using rescued produce to create healthy, affordable baby food in New Orleans. Shani holds a BS in Biological Engineering and is passionate about sustainable, equitable development.
Michael Christoff graduated with an M.Arch from Kent State University in 2005, and moved to Cleveland to work on the Flats East Bank redevelopment project. His focus has been on complex projects that require strategic physical, social and cultural interventions. When not in his office at architecture and strategy firm Vocon, he is immersed in initiatives that leverage Cleveland’s creative efforts into visible and tangible change.
Elizabeth Bowie Christoforetti is design director and co-founder of Supernormal, a design and research collaborative built to explore the potential of big data for the design of small urban places. Supernormal bridges the disciplines of architecture, urban design, and planning to bring increased sensitivity and systematization to urban development.
Director, Case Studies and Publications at the Urban Land Institute; editor at Greater Greater Washington; board member at Sierra Club, DC Chapter.
Maya Chupkov spent the past five years in community organizing and housing justice work in San Francisco. She joined the Council of Community Housing Organizations in 2018 as Communications Director, overseeing its communications strategy. Maya earned a Master’s in Public Affairs, where she focused on issues in housing and homelessness.
Laine Cidlowski is the Lead Urban Sustainability Planner for the Office of Planning. She is the project manager for the Office of Planning for the Sustainable DC initiative to make the city the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States. It is a citywide initiative crafted for and by the District’s diverse community with the ultimate goal of making DC more socially equitable, environmentally responsive, and economically prosperous.