Aaron Aknin, AICP
is now the principal and co-owner of Good City Company, a Bay Area-based land use and local government consultant firm based in San Carlos, offering staffing, policy, strategy, and environmental review. For the past five years, Aknin was Redwood City’s community development director and assistant city manager, as well as interim city manager for five months. Prior to Redwood City, he was assistant director of planning and community environment in Palo Alto (two years) and community development director for San Bruno (10 years). Aknin holds a master’s in public policy from California State University–Northridge and a B.A. in urban studies/land use planning from San Francisco State University.
Timothy Rood, AICP, LEED AP
who had been the principal city designer for the city of San Jose since May 2017, has been promoted to division manager. He oversees the urban design and historic preservation teams, the permit center planning team, and a development review team. Rood also continues to serve as the City’s urban design leader, working on the Diridon Integrated Station Concept, Downtown Vision, and Downtown Transportation Study. He holds M.Arch and MCP degrees from UC Berkeley and an AB in architecture from Columbia. He is currently a Piedmont City Councilmember, and serves on the boards of East Bay Community Energy and the Alameda County Waste Management Authority, Energy Council, and Recycling Board, collectively known as StopWaste.org.
Northern Section Board members Alex Hinds and Juan Borrelli, AICP, traveled to Ouro Preto, Brazil — a historic former mining town and a UNESCO World Heritage site — in January 2019 with Rick Kos, AICP, and 10 of Rick’s students from San Jose State University.
One hundred kilometers north of Rio de Janeiro, Ouro Preto is a town of 70,227 (2010 Census) known for its Portuguese colonial city center dating from the 1700s.
The group spent five days in Ouro Preto on a service-learning project, partnering with community leaders in the Veloso neighborhood, cataloguing neighborhood amenities and creating a website in Portuguese and English to help boost eco-tourism and economic development in Veloso.
“We hope the resulting website we’re developing will draw people to this community,” said Kos, “which is overlooked as tourists stick to the city’s colonial-era city core.”
Community leaders reacted very positively to the draft website, and the urban planning students gained invaluable experience in active listening, direct community engagement, and systematically cataloging neighborhood priorities.
For more on the Northern Section-SJSU connection with Ouro Preto, see “Planners and students visit Brazil for collaborative service and learning,” Northern News, March 2018, page 4.
One of Ouro Preto’s typical steep cobblestoned streets, Rua Conde de Bobadella in the center of Ouro Preto, is shown below. Photo: Juan Borrelli, AICP
Below, looking north to Our Lady of Carmo Church from Rua Getúlio Vargas. The street was named for Brazil’s interim president (1930–34), constitutional president (1934–37), and dictator (1937–45). Photo: Juan Borrelli, AICP
Tiradentes Square and the Museum of the Inconfidência, below, is dedicated to those who died in a failed rebellion movement for Brazilian independence from Portugal. Photo: Juan Borrelli, AICP
SJSU students in Ouro Preto, Brazil, below. Back row (l-r): Nels Langbauer (program assistant and translator), Evan Anselmo, Claire Leone, Cade Baldridge, Mike Jacobson (program assistant). Zak Mendez, Alfredo Rivas. Middle row (l-r): Michelle Louie, Geoffrey Henderson. Front row (l-r): Melanie Reis, Aisha Nelson, Rick Kos, AICP (program leader), Juan Borrelli, AICP, Alex Hinds. Photo: João Batista