About Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman, Urban Anthropologist & Director at THINK.urban and Marisa Denker, Co-Director & Founder, Connect the Dots

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman is a lecturer, researcher, and advocate for humanist cities. She is a consultant through her firm THINK.urban and adjunct professor for the Masters of Urban Strategy at Drexel University, as well as guest lecturer for the Masters in Urbanism program at the Royal Institute for Technology in Stockholm, Sweden (KTH). Through the use of “spatial ethnographies”, she utilizes principles of user experience research and design to assess the effectiveness of urban form on the human condition, physically and psychologically.

Marisa is co-founder of Connect the Dots, a firm that designs stakeholder engagement for sustainable impact. Their work centers on the careful engagement of all voices, in a collaborative and thoughtful way, when forming solutions to the challenges we are facing and moving forward with confidence and trust. Marisa is a Fulbright scholar, with a MA Design Practice and BA Urban Studies (UPenn).

Reopening Our Cities in the Midst of COVID-19 Calls for Inclusive Community Engagement

Though public life has been put on pause by the COVID-19 pandemic, the recovery period is predicted to bring a sequence of phases returning us gradually into public spaces with varying levels of social distancing as Coronavirus cases decline. The way to recovery is through collaboration; across sectors, across stakeholders, and across equity gaps. We believe that the careful engagement of all voices, in a collaborative, thoughtful way is critical when forming solutions to the challenges we are facing and to moving forward with confidence and trust.

We hope to provide a framework for addressing the challenges that will come with building back our necessary social infrastructure, by and for the community. From our perspectives as an urban anthropologist at THINK.urban and as a director of stakeholder engagement firm Connect the Dots, we see the following key points as a good place to start.