Released today: Meeting of the Minds Annual Report

By Jessie F. Hahn

Jessie F. Hahn is the Executive Director of Meeting of the Minds. She is an experienced urban planner, specializing in urban-regional policy with a particular focus on sustainability and clean energy. Previously, Jessie launched the successful Regional Energy Policy Program at Regional Plan Association in New York City. She has written numerous articles which have been featured in RPA’s Spotlight on the Region, The Hartford Courant, Urban Age Magazine, The Record, NPR, among others.

We are excited to release our 2016 Annual Report with results from all our year-round programming. I think you will find the Annual Report helpful as you think about Meeting of the Minds’ impact in 2016 and how to engage with the Meeting of the Minds global leadership network in 2017 and beyond.

Inside the report, you’ll find interesting statistics and summaries related to the events and resources that we organized over the last 12 months. Webinar attendance was particularly strong this year, and user surveys consistently placed webinars and other digital resources (such as the CityMinded.org blog) as some of the most important formats we provide.

Download the 2016 Annual Report

A survey of our network also allowed us to pinpoint the most urgent topics, challenges, and opportunities for leaders working in urban sustainability, innovation and connected technology.

In addition to our digital resources, Meeting of the Minds organized a number of in-person workshops and roundtables, all of which are summarized in this report.

In the second half of 2016, we took a temporary break from our monthly meetups. The meetup.com group continued to grow, however, and our sister meetups in New York and Detroit continued to meet. After many requests for the events to return, we restarted our monthly San Francisco urban sustainability meetups this month. Our next meetup will be February 2nd – more info here.

These are just a few of the pages, summaries and statistics available in the Annual Report. Please download your copy and continue to engage with us throughout 2017.

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Read more from the CityMinded.org Blog

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Researcher and Paratransit Operator Collaboration in South Africa

Meeting of the Minds took a few moments to talk with Herrie Schalekamp about new working relationships between researchers and paratransit operators in South Africa and beyond. Herrie is the ACET Research Officer at the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Transport Studies. In addition to his research, teaching and consulting in the fields of paratransit and public transport reform he is involved in specialised educational programmes for paratransit operators and government officials. Herrie’s activities form part of a broader endeavour to investigate and contribute to improved public transport operations and regulation in Sub-Saharan African cities under ACET – the African Centre of Excellence for Studies in Public and Non-motorised Transport.

Leveraging Big Data & Analytics to Revitalize Brownfields

Brownfields are sites that are vacant or underutilized due to environmental contamination, real or imagined. There are brownfields of some kind in virtually every city and town in the U.S., usually related to a gas station, dry cleaner, auto repair shop, car dealership or some other ubiquitous local business that once benefited the community it now burdens with environmental hazards or old buildings.

In addressing this issue, technology has not been effectively deployed to promote redevelopment of these sites and catalyze community revitalization. We find that the question around the use of technology and data in advancing the redevelopment of brownfields is twofold:

How can current and future technology advancements be applied to upgrade existing brownfield modeling tools? And then, how can those modeling tools be used to accelerate transformative, sustainable, and smart redevelopment and community revitalization?

New Public and Private Funding Strategies for Urban Parks

Across the country, urban parks are enjoying a renaissance. Dozens of new parks are being built or restored and cities are being creative about how and where they are located. Space under highways, on old rail infrastructure, reclaimed industrial waterfronts or even landfills are all in play as development pressure on urban land grows along with outdoor recreation needs.

These innovative parks are helping cities face common challenges, from demographic shifts, to global competitiveness to changing climate conditions. Mayors and other city officials are taking a fresh look at parks to improve overall community health and sense of place, strengthen local economies by attracting new investments and creating jobs, help manage storm water run-off, improve air quality, and much more. When we think of city parks holistically, accounting for their full role in communities, they become some of the smartest investments we can make.

Meeting of the Minds is made possible by the generous support of these organizations.

Urban sustainability trends, events, and resources

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