How EPA Makes the World Happier and Healthier


Show Links

Live Webinar:  3-4 p.m. ETMay 10: Using the EcoService Models Library

Tammy Newcomer-Johnson will present on the EPA's new EcoService Models Library. This online database allows users to find, examine, and compare ecological models to estimate the production of ecosystem goods and services. Newcomer-Johnson will describe how the library can help decision makers make informed decisions about which ecological models they should use to understand how their decisions will affect ecosystem goods and services. Advanced registration is required. 

EcoService Models Library

EPA Health Impact Assessments

EPA EnviroAtlas

Stop and smell the roses! Or…whatever native flower is in bloom. It’s an easy thing to take for granted. On the surface, the pleasures granted to us by a working ecosystems and a clean environment can seem small and fleeting as we immerse ourselves in the day to day push of the modern world. In truth, we are completely and utterly sustained by natural systems. That is why there are legions of people dedicated to keeping these natural systems intact to support human health and well-being. The US Environmental Protection Agency is responsible for much of the joy and comfort that we Americans take for granted.

Dr. Tammy Newcomer-Johnson currently leads the EcoService Models Library (ESML) which is a part of EPA’s suite of ecosystem services tools.

Joel Hoffman’s research is focused on sustainable management of coastal ecosystems, particularly related to ecosystem services, fisheries, and invasive species. Joel is on the leadership team for the first Health Impact Assessment to be conducted for a major wetland restoration project in the Great Lakes.

Tammy and Joel give us the inside scoop on The EPA. Hint: It’s probably not what you think it is.


Balancing Risk and Growth in The Courts with William DeLisio


The court system is by nature designed to be slow to change, dependable, predictable. Yet the courts are charged with tackling challenges that don’t stand still. Courts have evolved tremendously over the centuries to adapt, even as we think of them as relatively stable and un-moving. 

William DeLisio provides us a window into how he has effected positive change within the court systems by introducing risk and growth, in fair measure of course.

William serves as the Family Law Programs Manager in Court Services Division of the Colorado State Court Administrator's Office. During his 20 years with the judiciary,William has worked closely with Judges, Magistrates, Clerks of Court, Court Administrators, and numerous governmental agencies and community organizations. The issues that he has worked on range from juvenile dependency and neglect, probate, domestic relations, Dispute Resolution, child support, court-appointed professionals and distance learning.

Although William discusses his experience working within Colorado State court system, the views that he expresses on this show are his alone and he is not coming on as an official representative of the state.


The Storm of Creativity with Kyna Leski

24_KynaLeski_CoverArt 2.png

Show Links

Kyna Leski's Website:
3SIX0 Architecture Website: 
Kyna's RISD Faculty Page:
The Book: The Storm of Creativity

"All of us must work our way through the empty page, the blank screen, writer’s block, confusion, chaos, and doubt. Although each instance of creativity is singular and specific, the creative process is universal. Artists, architects, poets, inventors, scientists, and others all navigate the same stages of the process in order to discover something that does not yet exist."

Kyna Leski draws from her observations and experiences as a teacher, student, maker, writer, and architect to describe the workings of the creative process. Like a storm, the creative process slowly begins to gather and take form until it overtakes us—if we are willing to let it. It is dynamic, continually in motion; it starts, stops, rages and abates, ebbs and flows.  Creativity is a path with no beginning or end; it is ongoing.

Kyna Leski has invested her life in navigating the creative process. She has spoken about the creative process throughout the US and abroad and written a book on the topic titled The Storm of CreativityKyna Leski is a principal of 3SIXØ Architecture in Providence and a Professor of Architecture at RISD Rhode Island School of Design.

When we first reached out to Kyna, she asked if her work was too conceptual for this show. I responded absolutely not. The reason is that her concepts resonate with me in a way that is both personal and professional. While much of my own work has been in the realm of planning and applied science, it involves an immense amount of creativity. I would describe myself as compulsively creative, to the point that it sometimes becomes difficult to navigate within the context of institutions or even a career. In any case, as I read Kyna’s work, I repeatedly identifoed with the processes that she describes.  We often make the mistake of thinking that creative people are artists or musicians, but creative people are by necessity everywhere. Creatives must be present in government, business, even engineering. The creative process within these sectors can go under-recognized and underappreciated. This conversation with  Kyna Leski is therefore as important and applicable to planners and engineers as it is to artists and architects...


Superheroes in Real and Imagined Cities with Julian Chambliss


“From pulp magazine origins to recent cinematic triumphs, superheroes mirror our culture. Uniquely American and reflecting enduring values, these characters are a window on inspiration and aspiration defining our society."

Dr. Julian Chambliss of Rollins College explores the real and imagined city through superheroes and the pages of comic books over the course of the last century.   From urbanization and planning to comics and popular culture, Julian delves into how perceptions shape policy and action creating our collective urban experience

Julian is Professor of History at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL.  He teaches courses in urban history, African-American history, and comic book history in the United States. As a teacher-scholar concerned with community and identity, he has designed numerous public digital history projects that trace community development, document diverse experience, and explore the cultural complexity in Central Florida. He has been recognized for his community engagement work with a Cornell Distinguished Service Award  and Florida Campus Compact Service Learning Faculty Award. 

Julian serves as coordinator of the Africa and African-American Studies Program at Rollins, and Coordinator of the Media, Arts, and Culture Special Interest Section for the Florida Conference of Historians

Among other research and writing, his book, Age of Heroes, Eras of Men, conveys the changing depiction of superheroes from the comic books of the 1930s to the cinematic present. 

Julian produces a podcast as well -  Every Tongue Got to Confess, which investigates issues and solutions connected to communities of color.


The City View from Three Feet with Julien Vincelot of Urban95

If you could experience a city from 95cm – the height of a 3-year-old – what would you change? Urban95 asks this bold but simple question of the world’s city leaders, planners, architects, and innovators.

Urban95 is the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s, 30 million euro initiative to make lasting change in the landscapes and opportunities that shape the crucial first five years of children’s lives.

Urban95 is rooted in the belief that when urban neighborhoods work well for pregnant women, babies, toddlers and young children, they also tend to nurture strong communities and economic development.


Some of the Bernard van Leer Foundation projects cited in this interview involve other partners , including but not limited to Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bloomberg Associates and Tel Aviv Foundation.

Quantified: Redefining Conservation Using Transaction-based Strategies with Joe Whitworth of Freshwater Trust

It is in every cell of our body. Factories, cities, and forests all depend on it. It is so ingrained in our everyday life, that water is practically invisible when we have it. But when we don't, it is catastrophic. Water thus has a dual identity. In one instant, water is a a mild mannered element simply doing its job. In the next, it is a wild drama queen stirring up emotions and contentions human conflict. 

We humans have a long history of fighting over water. If we aren't draining the neighbor's well, we are poisoning the aquifer or even fighting wars to ensure access. Joe Whitworth sees a better way to address environmental protection than idealism and finger pointing.  His approach - dubbed quantified conservation -  blends environmental and economic metrics to produce transaction-based strategies to realize outcomes with environmental, social, and economic gains.


Hip-Hop Architecture with Sekou Cooke


Show Links

Sekou Cooke Studio:
The Fifth Pillar: The Case for Hip Hop Architecture (2014) ArchDaily
Twitter: @Sekou21
Instagram: @Sekou21
Alejandro Aravena Elemental Project
Quinta Monroy

Other links from Sekou:

Towards a Hip-Hop Architecture Video Discussion
Essay on applying HHA theory to urban environments
Video of Talk/Panel at Harvard's Black In Design Conference

Hip-hop architecture. Is it a paradox? Or is it inevitable? On the one side: structured formality by necessity. On the other: a powerful counterculture defying formality.  It seems that hip-hop doesn’t want to be architecture; and architecture doesn’t want to be hip-hop...yet. Sekou Cooke puts hip-hop within the historical context of other cultural movements and their influence on architecture. He suggests that as a dominant cultural movement of our generation, hip-hop is poised to produce its own architecture.



Collaborative Innovation with Eli MacLaren of The Business Innovation Factory


Social Media: @EliTheChef
Groundfish Project
Dallas Health Project

Collaborative Innovation.  I know I know I know. You’ve heard it all before.  The words are used and abused. Like so many important concepts, they have earned a plot in the graveyard of ubiquity.  Eli MacLaren of The Business Innovation Factory is here to resurrect collaboration and innovation and to discuss why they are indispensable and inseparable.


The Career Episode...A.K.A. Mic Switch: Lyric Crocker interviews Ingrid Heilke

Let’s call this the career episode.

Today’s episode is special and different.  My intern, Lyric Crocker turns the mic around and interviews me. I give you the inside scoop on my mid-life career transition and my take on the Private Side of Public Work. And, we give you an inside peak into our own conversations about the purpose of the show, the distinction between relying on people and collaborating with them, and the difference between urban planning and gentrification and why that is a real question.

Read More

Demolishing the Ivory Tower: Linking Learning to Markets with Brian Demers of Brown University


Show Links

Website:  Brown Univeristy - Industry Engagement

Most of us are not used to hearing the words business development and university in the same sentence.  And for most of us, when we think of development within a university, we think of student enrollment and/or raising money from charitable donors. Some of us might think research grants.

But wait. What is the end-goal of all of that research? Academic journal articles are great as a record of scientific achievement, but if those articles are the last stop, what is the point? How can research move from the ivory tower into the real world?  

Brian Demers works at the sweet spot between scientific invention and commercial viability. Brian is Director of Business Development in the Office of Industry Engagement and Commercial Venturing at Brown Univerisity.  In other words, he builds the bridge between university research and commercial markets. Brian assists faculty in identifying and developing inventions that can become viable products and services. He establishes partnerships between the university and commercial entities, and he helps get start-ups off the ground. 


Planning Amnesia: Don’t forsake your core competencies as a planner in the face of legal contracts | Long Term Planning| Risk Assessment | Adaptive Management


Today’s  Private Side Challenge is keeping your wits about you when confronted with a Public Private Partnership deal.

Last week we discussed issues that arises with private financing of public infrastructure.

One of the things that struck me was that in the worst of these deals, governments are throwing away their best capabilities – the ability to do strategic and long term planning in favor of a pseudo wall-street hack….


Private Financing of Public Infrastructure: Beyond Ambivalence with Aaron Renn of Urbanophile


Show Links

Podcast:  Aaron Renn Podcast

Aaron Renn discusses ways that public commons are constrained through private investment.  Private infusions of capital can completely derail innovation within city planning. If this sounds counterintuitive or antithetical to popular rhetoric, it is because Aaron Renn pays attention to the nuance behind these public-private partnerships.  Aaron gives incredible advice on what to pay attention to when it comes to financing public infrastructure.  


Science is More Than Labcoats: Clearing Plant Bottlenecks to Feed the World with Katherine Meacham


Show Links

Twitter:  @Katmeach11

You may be aware of bottlenecks in your work environment, but did you know that even plants have bottlenecks? What if there was a productivity coach for plants? Someone who could give them all of the secrets to being faster, greener and more productive? Someone who could whisper secrets into plant DNA so that they could transform sunlight into a bigger, better plant self…to be eaten by humans of course.

Katherine Meacham is the plant whisperer of whom I speak.  And despite my flippant ploys to get your attention she is no oovy groovy new age business coach with a 7 step plan for amaranth. She is the real deal, boots-in-the-mud scientist, heck-bent on changing the world. Katherine is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois. Her research seeks to resolve bottlenecks in photosynthesis to increase crop yields.  Katherine received her bachelor’s in agricultural science

from the Royal Agricultural University in the United Kingdom and earned her doctorate in plant sciences from the Australian National University and the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) High Resolution Plant Phenomics Centre in Canberra, Australia.


Environmental Planning 1974-Today with Brian Mooney of Rick Engineering


Show Links


In the 1970’s, some big environmental acts were passed that you might have heard of – The Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and NEPA – the National Environmental Policy Act. The impact that these polices have on our lives and on our health is enormous…and almost invisible to the average person because we tend to take things like clean air and clean water and forests and beaches for granted. But if it weren’t for those four pieces of legislation passed in the early seventies, we would be living in a very different world.

My guest for this show was an environmental planner in the early seventies when these policies were just getting off of the ground and provides a fascinating retrospective on environmental planning in California.

Brian Mooney is currently the managing principal for the new Community planning and sustainable development department at Rick Engineering in San Diego California. Brian’s rich experience spans both the public and private sector and just to keep things extra lively he serves as an adjunct professor at several universities, which have included UC San Diego, the New School of Architecture & Design and others.

Rick Engineering was founded in 1955 in San Diego California. Since then, Rick has grown in scope and in geography and now has offices that reach across California and into Arizona.


The Neighborhood Playbook with Joe Nickol and Kevin Wright


Show Links

Twitter:  @JKevinWright

What if there was a book that you could hand to a developer that would help them understand how to activate community spaces before dropping millions or billions of dollars into a project? And what if there were a book that you could hand to community leaders that could help them infuse vibrancy into their neighborhoods to attract resources and capital investment? And, what if those two books were one in the same? Joe Nickol and Kevin Wright have taken a simple object – a book – and turned it into an incredible tool for changing the form and feeling of cities, neighborhood by neighborhood. The Neighborhood Playbook speaks to both developers and community leaders, and brings them together to work on a singular goal.



Closet Entrepreneurialism + Planning Career = Blood Sweat and Delicious Tea: Tamika Gauvin of Looen Teas


What does a bitter refreshing drink from Barbados have in common with the field of urban planning? The answer is Tamika Gauvin and a vision for social justice.  She is part planner and part founder for Looen Teas. But trust me when I say that those parts add up to more than the whole.

Read More


Show Links (join the newsletter!) 

Fueling the Wild Horse of Design - Conor MacDonald of DESIGNxRI


Show Notes

Twitter:  @conorjmacdonald

I have lived in San Francisco, New York, Boston, L.A., and Japan – all the big names. So it may surprise you to learn that I currently live in Rhode Island. That’s right, a state most famously known as a unit of measure, as in “Texas is 220 times the size of Rhode Island. Or, the wildfires in California burned an area the size of Rhode Island.

It’s true, we are small. But we have a lot going on. What you might not know is that Rhode Island is a hot bed of creativity. Rhode Island has the 3rd largest percentage of creative sector jobs in the country after New York and California. And Providence has the 3rd most industrial designers per capita after Detroit and Cleveland. All of this creativity is fed by award winning design schools and other assets that continually feed this creativity.

DesignxRI is one of those assets. The organization was founded by Lisa Carnevale to cultivate this incredible talent and leverage it to drive the economic development of Rhode Island. This requires persistent collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sector. And my guest today is adept at navigating those partnerships.

Conor MacDonald is adept at navigating public and private sectors. He is is Programs and Engagement Director for DesignxRI.  And from personal experience, I can tell you he is a connector. He is just one of those people that does an incredible job of remembering people, promoting them, and creating opportunities where he sees them. 


Food + Entrepreneurialism + Good Design = Great Public Space with Nicolia Robinson from Cooper Carry


What do you think of when you hear the words “food hall?” Does it bring up memories of college dorm food? Or do you imagine an inspiring array of local cuisine, edgy entrepreneurship, and innovative urban planning? Today we are going to talk about the latter (though you are free to reminisce about college days after the show). And I dig into the private and personal side of food hall design and development with my guest Nicolia Robinson from Cooper Carry.


Designing Radical Hospitality: Changing the Experience of Homelessness with Pop-Up Care Villages - Guneet Anand and Eri Suzuki of Urban SiteLab Studio


Show Links

Instagram:  @sitelaburbanstudio

Homelessness is one of those problems that can feel hopelessly intractable at times.  Those of us that live in cities see it on a daily basis, but feel at a loss for what to do beyond spare change.

Site Lab Urban Studio Guneet Anand and Eri Suzuki of Site Lab Studio were inspired to offer good design, rather than just spare change, when they crossed paths with Lavae Mae.

Lavae Mae is a nonprofit organization promoting dignity and opportunity among the homeless community. SITELAB collaborated with Lava Mae to design spaces that contain what they call "radical hospitality." They call these spaces Pop Up Care Villages.

On this show, we will dig into the personal connections and new perspectives that Guneet and Eri developed over the course of the project, and how these have shifted their approach to design across other Site Lab projects.



CoUrbanize and Make Friends with Real Estate Developers for Better City Planning


Show Links

Twitter:  @coUrbanize

Karin Brandt of CoUrbanize has a soft spot in her heart for the folks that everyone loves to hate at public meetings – real estate developers. She has developed a platform for bringing broad audiences of community members together with developers to envision successful projects.