Meeting of the Minds
What began as a 2-day summit in Oakland, CA in 2007, has grown into an internationally recognized non-profit organization with world-class events, year-round leadership programming, and an unparalleled digital platform.
Our mission is to bring together urban sustainability and technology leaders across sectors to share knowledge, best practices and catalyze lasting alliances and partnerships. We foster person-to-person and city-to-city learning by curating emerging trends and spotlighting projects and practitioners working on the future of sustainable, resilient, and equitable cities and regions.
We believe that the best solutions and partner ecosystems result from collaboration and engagement across sectors and disciplines. We convene leaders from international bodies, local government, state and federal government, corporates, startups, non-profits, academics and philanthropy.
Meeting of the Minds thanks and acknowledges the support of our current and past sponsors, including:
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Burton D. Morgan Foundation
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
New Economy Initiative
Paul G. Allen Philanthropies
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The California Endowment
The California Wellness Foundation
The Cleveland Foundation
The JPB Foundation
The Kresge Foundation
The Volvo Research and Education Foundations
Global Technology Leaders
IT & IoT
Planning, Design, Architecture, Real Estate, Engineering, Construction
Black & Veatch
Jones Lang LaSalle
Oxford Properties Group
Skidmore Owings & Merrill
Ann Arbor SPARK
City of Berkeley, CA
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
State of Michigan
Resources: Water and Energy
Marin Clean Energy
Natural Resources Defense Council
Sacramento Municipal Utility District
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress
Natural Resources Defense Fund
The New School
University of California
Wildfire Risk Reduction: Connecting the Dots
One of the most visceral manifestations of the combined problems of urbanization and climate change are the enormous wildfires that engulf areas of the American West. Fire behavior itself is now changing. Over 120 years of well-intentioned fire suppression have created huge reserves of fuel which, when combined with warmer temperatures and drought-dried landscapes, create unstoppable fires that spread with extreme speed, jump fire-breaks, level entire towns, take lives and destroy hundreds of thousands of acres, even in landscapes that are conditioned to employ fire as part of their reproductive cycle.
ARISE-US recently held a very successful symposium, “Wildfire Risk Reduction – Connecting the Dots” for wildfire stakeholders – insurers, US Forest Service, engineers, fire awareness NGOs and others – to discuss the issues and their possible solutions. This article sets out some of the major points to emerge.
Innovating Our Way Out of Crisis
Whether deep freezes in Texas, wildfires in California, hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, or any other calamity, our innovations today will build the reliable, resilient, equitable, and prosperous grid tomorrow. Innovation, in short, combines the dream of what’s possible with the pragmatism of what’s practical. That’s the big-idea, hard-reality approach that helped transform Texas into the world’s energy powerhouse — from oil and gas to zero-emissions wind, sun, and, soon, geothermal.
It’s time to make the production and consumption of energy faster, smarter, cleaner, more resilient, and more efficient. Business leaders, political leaders, the energy sector, and savvy citizens have the power to put investment and practices in place that support a robust energy innovation ecosystem. So, saddle up.
Sustainability and Resilience: Not Quite the Perfect Relationship
People seem frequently to assume that the terms “sustainability” and “resilience” are synonyms, an impression reinforced by the frequent use of the term “climate resilience”, which seems to enmesh both concepts firmly. In fact, while they frequently overlap, and indeed with good policy and planning reinforce one another, they are not the same. This article picks them apart to understand where one ends and the other begins, and where the “sweet spot” lies in achieving mutual reinforcement to the benefit of disaster risk reduction (DRR).
Stormwater Management is an Equity Issue
As extreme weather conditions become the new normal—from floods in Baton Rouge and Venice to wildfires in California, we need to clean and save stormwater for future use while protecting communities from flooding and exposure to contaminated water. Changing how we manage stormwater has the potential to preserve access to water for future generations; prevent unnecessary illnesses, injuries, and damage to communities; and increase investments in green, climate-resilient infrastructure, with a focus on communities where these kinds of investments are most needed.
Public-Private Collaboration – Essential for Disaster Risk Reduction
A few years ago, I worked with some ARISE-US members to carry out a survey of small businesses in post-Katrina New Orleans of disaster risk reduction (DRR) awareness. One theme stood out to me more than any other. The businesses that had lived through Katrina and survived well understood the need to be prepared and to have continuity plans. Those that were new since Katrina all tended to have the view that, to paraphrase, “well, government (city, state, federal…) will take care of things”.
While the experience after Katrina, of all disasters, should be enough to show anyone in the US that there are limits on what government can do, it does raise the question, of what could and should public and private sectors expect of one another?
Planning for the New Mobilities
When planning for new mobilities, it is important to be a little skeptical. Advocates often exaggerate the benefits and overlook significant costs. Here’s an example. Optimists predict that autonomous cars will reduce traffic congestion, crash risk, energy consumption and pollution emissions, but to achieve these benefits they require dedicated lanes for platooning (many vehicles driving close together at relatively high speeds). When should communities dedicate special lanes for the exclusive use of autonomous vehicles? How much should users pay for the privilege? How should this be enforced? Who will be liable if a high-speed platoon crashes, resulting in a multi-vehicle pile-up?