Who is Shaping the Future of Cities?

By Claire Nelson and Nicole Rupersberg

Claire Nelson is director of Urban Innovation Exchange, an initiative to advance the growing movement of people leading impact in cities. She is also founder of the Urban Consulate, a new network for cross-city exchange launching next year in Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia. A 2015 Knight Cities winner, Claire is a passionate advocate for quality of place and civic engagement, having led a number of Detroit projects including Bureau of Urban Living, Open City, Declare Detroit, Mind the Gap and On the Ground. In 2014 she was a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome and a speaker at TEDxDetroit. A graduate of Smith College and Columbia University, Claire currently splits time between Detroit & New Orleans.

Dec 1, 2015 | Smart Cities | 1 comment

When we talk about cities, it’s easy to focus on the macro – systems and networks, infrastructure and industry. But if you zoom in closer you’ll find a very different story – one of passionate people working every day to shape a better tomorrow.

This is why we’re excited to share People Changing Cities, a new series to spread stories of remarkable individuals leading urban change.

Each week we’re spotlighting someone we think is worth knowing, and we invite you to follow along at UIXCities.com. Join us to meet people like:

  • Sommer Woods, bringing her passion for community engagement to building better public transit in Detroit;
  • Rose Broome, creating an app to help San Franciscans donate nearly a million dollars (and counting) to the homeless;
  • Randy McShepard, shifting the conversation and building bridges in Cleveland through research, advocacy and community development;
  • Bobby Zappala, promoting a culture of innovation and collaboration in Pittsburgh with Thrill Mill and Thrival Festival;
  • Yael Lehmann, improving food access and healthy living in Philadelphia, and sharing best practices across the country.

What do these people have in common? They’re all deeply committed to creating more sustainable and equitable cities.

As Mayor Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis reminded us at this year’s Equity Summit: “Our cities were not designed and built for equity. It is incumbent on us to take what we have and make it better.”

If you subscribe to one of our partner publications, you may have already seen an email in your inbox. We hope you’ll keep reading and sharing these stories as a reminder that the “who” shaping cities is us.

“People Changing Cities” is presented by Urban Innovation Exchange, in partnership with Meeting of the Minds, The Kresge Foundation and Issue Media Group. Signup for emails at UIXCities.com and follow us on Twitter @UIXCities.

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

Please note that this comment section is for thoughtful, on-topic discussions. Admin approval is required for all comments. Your comment may be edited if it contains grammatical errors. Low effort, self-promotional, or impolite comments will be deleted.

1 Comment

  1. Ms. Nelson, I’d like to suggest the name of Zann Gill, in Los Altos, CA, included in this distinguished list, and who you probably already know (EarthDECKS.net)
    Very impressed also with your work in Detroit, on the way perhaps, on the long term, to experience a new ‘Renaissance’. Will Marchionne be the new Medici for Detroit?
    ….. and from today Rome has a new door open…

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States

Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States

Today, over 2 million Americans are living without access to clean, running water. The newly released ‘Close The Water Gap’ report by DigDeep and the US Water Alliance pulls back the veil on America’s hidden water crisis.

This is the first-ever comprehensive look at indoor water access across the United States, and its findings are explosive: Race is the strongest predictor of vulnerability. In six states (plus Puerto Rico), progress is actually backsliding. More than 44 million Americans are served by water systems with recent violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The Link Between Climate Change & Water

The Link Between Climate Change & Water

When thinking about conserving water, we should also be focusing on how more efficient water use correlates with energy savings. Studies show that when households participate in water savings programs, they also conserve energy and reduce strain on the power grid during peak demand periods while saving consumers money on their utility bills.

Water utilities can also dramatically increase their energy efficiency and reduce overall energy usage by adopting locally based solutions. For many municipal governments, drinking water and wastewater treatment plants are typically the largest energy consumers, often accounting for 30 to 40 percent of total energy consumed. Overall, drinking water and wastewater systems account for approximately two percent of energy use in the United States, adding over 45 million tons of greenhouse gases annually.

Using Data to Reduce Public Health Risk

Using Data to Reduce Public Health Risk

Addressing the impact of heat on health is well-aligned with MCDPH’s vision and mission “to make healthy lives possible” by protecting and promoting the health and well-being of MC residents and visitors. The climate has significant impacts on our community’s health. Through extensive surveillance and community surveys, we have demonstrated the importance of local public health data to increase buy-in from new and existing partners and obtain funding to address this significant public health issue. We encourage other health departments to consider the power of data and collaboration as they seek methods for protecting the public’s health from a changing climate.

Share This