Who is Shaping the Future of Cities?
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.
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Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Shifting to a high-tech mobility future is challenging transportation experts to think in a different way. It used to be the car was the common thread for all this data, but we are now making room for so many new modes, and new ways to gather analytics for those modes.
We’re at the point where we have plenty of data, now it’s time to start understanding these issues and how they interact. Mobility experts have created measurement tools, but not as much thought about how they all come together for the bigger picture.
Big Data is helping integrate these data flows, making sense of disparate sensors and creating a single-source “dashboard” that gives cities a whole new level of insight into the modes on their streets.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office reforms provide an excellent example of behavior change requiring attention and effort on many fronts. From systems and technology, to human resources and processes, multiple changes have been underway in parallel within this organization.
During the Mobilize Summit, urban transport and development practitioners come together alongside world-class researchers to celebrate best practices and accelerate implementation of sustainable transport projects grounded in equity. All the panelists agreed about the need to help decision-makers trust and believe that change is possible. “For instance, everyone thought rampant bike theft in Medellín would be the inevitable downfall of our bike share program, but it just didn’t happen that way,” explained Lina. “Our early adopters were the ‘rock stars’ who helped change hearts and minds simply through their passionate embrace and adoption of cycling.”