2021 PLACE Initiative Climate Summit

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 partnered with the World Urban Campaign, a program of the UN-Habitat, and CNU to host a virtual Urban Thinker’s Campus (UTC) in May 2021 that elevates urbanism as a platform of participatory, inclusive solutions to climate change. 


The event drew 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 focused on doing: what to do, how to do it, who will benefit from doing it, and how to do more of it, faster. We aimed at bringing 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 was an inclusive opportunity to share, learn, and innovate. The result was an action plan to tackle our world’s biggest issue – our way.


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.



In our UTC we shared ideas and accelerated information gathering to advocate directly for many of the SDGs and items in The New Urban Agenda. Specifically, we touched on SDG’s :

  • Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation.
  • Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

We broke our event into 4 separate group discussions that touch on these criteria: resilience & adaptation; transportation; natural & working lands; and socially equitable development. We simultaneously advocated for topics within The New Urban Agenda. 

All of our discussions were focused around economic sustainability, spatial sustainability, urban design interventions, and transport and mobility for hard infrastructure. Our keynote session was on equitable development for black, indigenous, and people of color communities. Ultimately, we believe our presentations, discussions, and keynote are directly in line with the New Urban Agenda and SDGs.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 03cli-newsletter-antiracism-superJumbo-1024x683.jpg


Our UTC advocated for places that make sustainable and resilient lifestyles the norm. 

Through roundtable discussions, lightning presentations, and keynotes we tackled diverse aspects of climate action. According to Peter Calthorpe in his book, Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change, the principles of walkable urbanism alone, where most essential destinations are close enough to home, can get us almost 70% below 1990 GHG emission levels. We further advocate for the final 30% of GHG reductions through transportation demand management strategies, such as carbon taxes and congestion pricing, as well as the adaptive reuse of existing but underutilized infrastructure, more environmentally efficient design of buildings and places, and improved education. 

By advocating for walkable neighborhoods, walking and cycling become feasible alternatives to automobile dependency. This means that less infrastructure is needed, resulting in less energy in utilization and upkeep being required. 


Our UTC resulted in action plans that will help push forward the New Urban Agenda and SDGs. 

PLACE Initiative is committed to these action plans:

  1. Publish policy and design resources for transportation, natural & working lands, housing, equitable development for BIPOC communities, and urbanism for climate resilience & adaptation. 
  2. Create a platform and community to share ideas discussed, publish UrbanismXClimate Change content, and build far reaching support.
  3. Build academic and policy support around new ideas.
  4. Create a think tank that is directly connected to national and subnational policy makers, and that works to co-create, share information, and collaborate with both national and international partners around good practices in fields related to urbanism.

While independent, our program was integrated with CNU 29, a “shoulder” event for the 2021 Congress convened by the Congress for the New Urbanism. For more information about CNU, go to www.cnu.org.