After graduating from Dartmouth College in 2008, I moved back to my hometown – Cleveland, Ohio – and couldn’t bring myself to leave for New York or Boston like all my friends.
Instead, I started working for a local non-profit called Entrepreneurs for Sustainability, and then a sustainability consulting firm called BrownFlynn. I spent my nights and weekends writing for groups like the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, EcoWatch and Bioneers Cleveland, and, after a while, I decided to start my own project – Renovating the Rust Belt – to bring together all the inspiring stories of urban sustainability that were gathering around me.
As time passed, I became more involved in the revitalization of my post-industrial city. I acted on the Steering Committee for Sustainable Cleveland 2019 and started participating in the events and network of the Great Lakes Urban Exchange. The more I learned, the more I began to realize that some big changes need to take place: planning, policy, business, collaboration, community outreach—projects sprouting from the ground-up and reaching from the top-down. I needed to know more so that I could find the levers in these Great Lakes cities and begin pulling. So I decided to go back to school.
I recently graduated from the Masters of City and Regional Planning and Public Administration programs at The Ohio State University. While I was there, I founded and co-led a year-long independent study with 13 other graduate students to develop solutions to some of the Rust Belt’s challenges, which you can read about here. During and after grad school, I worked with the Urban Land Institute on the City in 2050 initiative and with Greater Ohio Policy Center on sustainable development policy and implementation, including smart growth issues such as urban revitalization, public transportation, and regional economic growth. Currently, I’m building an online library of Tools for Social Innovators – come over and take a look!
I’d love to hear from you, so give me a shout when you get a chance.
Far from the end,
Want to read more? Here are some books that I’ve written:
Redeveloping Commercial Vacant Properties in Legacy Cities: A Guidebook to Linking Property Reuse and Economic Revitalization (May 2014) published by the German Marshall Fund of the U.S.
13 Strategies for Rust Belt Cities (June 2012) published in collaboration with the Knowlton School of Architecture’s City & Regional Planning Program at The Ohio State University.