DIS Kicks Off 2021 with Environmental Justice Symposium

GBBN’s annual Design Issues Series (DIS) kicked off 2021 by hosting a virtual symposium that explored environmental justice issues and initiatives being undertaken in the Cincinnati, Louisville, Minneapolis, and Pittsburgh – the US cities we call home.

The effort brought together a diverse group of community organizers, city sustainability officials, academics, architects, artists, and mission-driven developers. Even the mayors of Cincinnati and Pittsburgh joined us.

“A major goal of DIS is to have a discussion with our communities about how design impacts their lives,” says GBBN Associate Melanie Pliskin, who helped organize the symposium. “With the uncertainty around COVID, we didn’t know how DIS would turnout this year, but we were able to turn social distancing into an advantage by virtually bringing together panelists from across multiple regions and viewers from around the country.”

Drawing about 150 people each, the panels were wide-ranging. However, from the opening panel, which ended with panelists linking the trauma of police violence in communities of color to the challenge of building an inclusive environmental justice movement, to the final panel’s regional vision for a just transition to a clean energy economy, the discussions were insightful and challenging.


Sustainable Development: City Policy

Sustainable Development: Developers’ Perspectives

Healthy Neighborhoods: Water, Air, Greenspace

Healthy Neighborhoods: Affordable Housing, Food Access, Transportation

Mayoral Panel on the Marshall Plan for Middle America


Thank you to all the panelists who graciously shared their time and ideas with us!