2021 PLACE Initiative Climate Summit – OLD

Electric cars and solar panels won’t be enough. The effort to combat Climate Change hinges upon good urbanism – the key ingredient to reduce demand for energy and to allow us to meet our GHG emission reduction goals by 2050.  Urbanism is the force multiplier in our effort to avoid the worst impacts from climate change, and build resilient communities that will better weather the impacts of the effects to come. 

PLACE Initiative is partnering with the World Urban Campaign, a program of the UN-Habitat, and CNU to host a virtual Urban Thinker’s Campus (UTC) from May 17th through May 22nd, 2021 that elevates urbanism as a platform of participatory, inclusive solutions to climate change. 


We will draw on industry leaders to lead discussions on how urbanism can play a central role in climate response, including  tools and strategies incorporating resilience & adaptation, transportation, natural & working lands, and socially equitable development.

Discussions will focus on doing: what to do, how to do it, who will benefit from doing it, and how to do more of it, faster. We aim to bring new voices to the movement, inclusive of BIPOC perspectives, to expand on climate innovation while actively engaging CNU members and other stakeholders who want to participate. This is an inclusive opportunity to share, learn, and innovate. The result will be an action plan to tackle our world’s biggest issue – our way.

Presentations and discussions will be broken into four topics: 

  1. Resilience & Adaptation
  2. Transportation
  3. Natural & Working Lands
  4. Equitable Development

We are actively looking for proposals for quick 5-minute lightning presentations! Anyone is welcome to submit an idea, proposal, work sample, or other innovation that may help to advance change at the intersection of climate, equity, and urbanism. 


Cymone Davis is in the throes of building a black boarding school in the oldest all-black town in Oklahoma. That town is called Tullahassee, and Cymone also happens to be the City Manager there. She wears a lot of hats, and she’s still working out how to condense all of her roles into a single title. She’s a City Manager, an Educator and a Changemaker. In these roles, Cymone focuses on taking creative action to solve problems and implementing freedom strategies.


We understand that discipline is a critical ingredient of success; however, we are cross-disciplinary, and want to hear from specialists who touch one or more of these or related disciplines:

  • Town, urban, and regional planning
  • Environmental and ecological planning & science
  • Civil, structural, and marine engineering
  • Urban, regional, micro, macro, housing, retail, transportation, industrial, and carbon economics
  • Geography, geology, geomorphology, and geotectonics
  • Urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, design, and the related arts
  • Real estate development, town builders, and building officials
  • Elected officials and policy makers
  • Decision makers and activists


The planned event schedule for each day is:

Monday: May 17th

1:00 ESTOpening 

  1. PLACE Initiative Opening Presentation By Camille Cortes
  2. The Role of Urbanism in Fighting Climate Change Presentation By Garlynn Woodsong 
  3. PLACE Initiative’s Work & Role in Federal Level Policy By Laura Clemons 
  4. PLACE Initiative’s Member Introductions 

1:30 – 3:30 EST– Resilience & Adaptation – Moderated by Paddy Steinschneider

  1. Round 1 Presenters: Stig Terrenone, Brain Neil Byrd, and Carla Mays & David Capelli
  2. Q&A – 15 minutes 
  3. Round 2 Presenters: Ben Northup, Laura Clemons, Scott Bernstein, and Garlynn Woodsong
  4. Q&A – 15 minutes 
  5. Open Space Discussions

3:30-3:45 EST – Break

3:45-5:30 ESTEquitable Development: BIPOC – Moderated by Garlynn Woodsong

  1. Presenters: Bruzenskey Bois, Camille Cortes, and Rae Blackbird
  2. Q&A – 15 minutes 
  3. Open Space Discussions

5:30-7:00 EST –  Break

7:00-8:30 ESTKeynote: Rebuilding an Equitable Future for BIPOC Communities Cymone Davis, City Manager of Tullahasse, OK will give a 45 minute presentation on how she’s reviving a struggling all-black small town at a time when the education system is failing Black students. Her keynote will be followed by a panel discussion including Bruzenskey Bois, Founder of the Congressional Black Caucus for New Urbanism, Thaddeus Fair, Senior Associate with Living Cities’ social impact investments, and Walle Brown of planning consultancy Equity Urban. 

Tuesday: May 18th

11:00-12:45 EST– Natural & Working Lands – Moderated by Garlynn Woodsong

  1. Round 1 Presenters : Hanadi Schmeit, Nir Buras, and Terry Watt
  2. Q&A – 15 minutes 
  3. Round 2 Presenters: Sydney Chamberlin, Krupail Krusche, and Andrew Clum
  4. Q&A – 15 minutes 
  5. Open Space Discussions

12:45-1:00 EST – Break

1:00-3:00 ESTEquitable Development: Housing & Neighborhood – Moderated by Stig Terrebonne

  1. Round 1: Housing Affordability Presenters: Stephen Coyle and Mary Vogel
  2. Q&A – 15 minutes 
  3. Round 2: Neighborhood Level Presenters: Paddy Steinschneider, Brain Falk, Neal Payton, and Chris Elisara
  4. Q&A – 15 minutes
  5. Open Space Discussions

3:00-3:15 EST – Break

3:15-5:00 ESTTransportation – Moderated by Stig Terrebonne 

  1. Round 1: Transportation & Health (Presenters: Chris Chapin, Mike Christensen, and Chris D’Amico) 
  2. Q&A – 15 minutes
  3. Category 2: New Cities (Presenters: Edward Erfurt, Matt Lambert, Ana Rodriguez, and Tiffany Ownes)
  4. Q&A – 15 minutes
  5. Open Space Discussions

5:00-6:00 EST – Closing Discussion

Saturday: May 22nd

5:00pm EST – PLACE Initiative + Young New Urbanist Happy Hour

The UTC conference will be virtual; as such, it will be free and open to all who register.

While independent, our program is integrated with CNU 29, a “shoulder” event for this year’s Congress convened by the Congress for the New Urbanism. For more information about CNU 29, go to www.cnu.org. Although CNU 29 is a paid event and requires a separate registration, our Urban Thinkers Campus event is a separate program and free to all.

We look forward to seeing you there!