Atlanta’s Leading Urban Sustainability Experts Will Shape the 2017 EcoDistricts Summit

Every city has a story. Each year, the EcoDistricts Summit partners with a new city to crack open its unique urban regeneration story. In 2017, we travel to Atlanta, GA — one of the most dynamic cities in the U.S. Atlanta is grappling with the impacts of rapid, low-density growth and its affect on the environment, mobility and economic opportunity.

To shape the 2017 Summit, we’re thrilled to partner with an incredible cohort of expert city makers. Below are profiles of a snapshot of our robust Advisory Council.


Ryan GravelRyan Gravel, Founder, SixPitch

Urban designer, originator of the Atlanta Beltline, and author of the book “Where We Want to Live,” Ryan has made it his life’s work to leverage innovative infrastructure design to make our cities healthier and more connected. His big idea, the Atlanta Beltline, is a 22-mile multi-use trail and former rail corridor that connects Atlanta neighborhoods around the core of the city. This isn’t Ryan’s first experience with EcoDistricts — he has spoken at multiple Summits, including inspiring the crowd as Opening Keynote for the 2016 Summit in Denver, Colorado.


Nathaniel SmithNathaniel Smith, Founder and Chief Equity Officer, Partnership for Southern Equity

Another Beltline advocate, Nathaniel Smith believes that the future of Atlanta depends on the inclusiveness of it’s economy today. As founder of the Partnership for Southern Equity and Director of Partnerships for Equitable Development at Emory University, he’s made it his life’s work to advocate for just, sustainable and civic practices that promote growth and opportunity for the city’s minority communities. Nathaniel brings must-have expertise in community development, policy and equity to the 2017 Summit and will help embed these principles throughout the conference’s program.


Tamara JonesTamara Jones, President, Evident Impact

Tamara Jones’ skill at guiding organizations through planning and implementation has led to her all the way to the top — she was honored as a 2011 White House Champion of Change. Tamara has worked in the civic and public sector in Atlanta and has extensive knowledge of organic food and farm, environmental sustainability, energy efficiency and social justice issues. It’s obvious, then, why we tapped her to join the EcoDistricts Summit, first as a panel moderator in 2016 and now as an Advisory Committee member. She’s the best of the best in inclusive planning and will help make the 2017 Summit program thoughtful and community focused.


Art FrazierArt Frazier, Director of Facilities, Spelman College

Another AVE Ecodistrict champion, Art Frazier is Director of Facilities at Spelman College, one of Atlanta’s historic Black colleges. Under his leadership, Spelman’s Facilities Department has become a nationally-recognized leader in sustainability among historic Black colleges in the U.S. For the next eight months, he’ll be contributing his insights on Atlanta’s campus-scale planning and sustainable design initiatives to the 2017 Summit Advisory Committee.


Katie SwensonKatie Swenson, Vice President, National Design Initiatives, Enterprise Community Partners

Katie Swenson brings big ideas to the local level and works with the city and community to make things happen — not a typical job description for an architect. But as a former Rose Fellow and founder of the Charlottesville Community Design Center, Katie has become a nationally-recognized leader in equitable, inclusive community design. Katie was a speaker at the 2016 EcoDistricts Summit, a 2016 EcoDistricts Incubator facilitator and now joins the 2017 Summit Advisory Committee to put her design and equity stamp on this year’s event.


Learn more about the 2017 EcoDistricts Summit, October 11-12 in Atlanta, GA.

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