Power to the people: New series to spotlight urban innovators

What do you think of when you hear the words “urban innovation”? Do you think of smart technology and clean energy? Or open data and civic tech? Maybe you think of entrepreneurship or creative placemaking or the future of mobility?

It can be easy to forget what these all have in common: People. Extraordinary people. Brave thinkers and doers finding new ways to make cities more sustainable and equitable for all.

This fall, Urban Innovation Exchange and Meeting of the Minds are turning our attention to the human-powered ingenuity behind transformational change in cities for a new series on urban innovators across America.

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Who are these individuals leaning in to solve problems? How are they testing and growing new ideas? What impact will they have on the future of urban life?

This series is made possible thanks to support from The Kresge Foundation, working to expand opportunities in America’s cities.

To do this, we are calling upon an ace advisory group, including the editors at Issue Media Group, a network of online magazines covering what’s next in cities, and Tumml, an urban ventures accelerator empowering entrepreneurs to solve urban problems.

But stepping back a bit — why do urban innovators matter in the first place? Here’s our take: They challenge the status quo, obsess over ways to do better, and bring passion to problems in need of fresh thinking. Often we find them crossing sectors, disrupting boundaries, and cultivating exciting new collaborations with unlikely bedfellows.

Their verve keeps cities vital, daring us to dream of a better tomorrow.

By telling their stories, we hope to shine a light on not just the “who,” but the “how” of their work, to demystify the process of converting ideas into action.

Maybe you or someone you know is looking for inspiration to advance an idea and transfer it to your city? Or maybe you are in a position to help take an innovator to the next level?

Wherever you sit in the movement for healthier cities, we hope you will follow along to meet some pretty outstanding individuals working to shape a brighter future.

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If you want a healthier community, you don’t just treat illness. You prevent it. And you don’t prevent it by telling people to quit smoking, eat right and exercise. You help them find jobs and places to live and engaging schools so they can pass all that good on, so they can build solid futures and healthy neighborhoods and communities filled with hope.

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