Tag: nn-norcal-mar-2019

Who’s where, March 2019
San Francisco Bay Area taken by an Italian crew member aboard the International Space Station.  (Samantha Cristoforetti via Twitter and KQED)

Who’s where, March 2019

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.

Photos from the Ouro Preto, Brazil, field trip
Ouro Preto. Photo: Rosino – Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, http://bit.ly/2DLkOFq

Photos from the Ouro Preto, Brazil, field trip

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.

Location in Brazil. Credit: Google maps

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

Meet our newest Northern Section Board members

Meet our newest Northern Section Board members

Della Acosta, University Liaison, is a senior planner on the long-range planning team at Rincon Consultants, leading community planning, sustainability, and community engagement work. Acosta will be working to connect university programs to the APA through information and events. She holds a degree in city/urban, community and regional planning from Sonoma State University.

Danae Hall, Co-director, Young Planners Group, is a transportation and land use manager at Circlepoint. Hall has been an active member of YPG since late 2017, participating as a member of the South Bay steering committee. She holds an M.S. in environmental management from the University of San Francisco and a B.A. in environmental economics from California State University, Chico.

Marta Polovin, Student Representative, UC Berkeley, first year graduate student, College of Environmental Design, is working toward a master of city planning (concentration in transportation). Before Berkeley, Polovin was a legal assistant/land use analyst at Harding Larmore, Santa Monica. She holds a B.A. in human biology and society from UCLA, with a minor in urban and regional planning.

Ellen Yau, Mentorship Director, is an associate planner with the city of Cupertino. She is on the host committee for APA’s 2019 National Planning Conference in San Francisco. Yau’s professional interests include community art, public health, landscape and public space design, and organizational planning. She holds a master’s in planning from USC and a bachelor’s in landscape architecture from UC Davis.

Mark Young, South Bay Regional Activity Coordinator (RAC), is a transportation security inspector (aviation) with TSA. Young has been active with the Young Planners Group as a member of the South Bay Steering Committee. He holds a master of urban planning, a bachelor of science in civil engineering, and a graduate certificate in transportation security management, all from San Jose State.

Director’s note – March 2019

James A. Castañeda, AICP

“Clarity and Focus”

That was the theme of our section board’s retreat in January, or as I call it, “The KonMari” retreat. I wanted to impress on the board the importance of making many of our policies and procedures — those that help us work on your behalf — as effective and efficient as possible. Since the board is 100 percent volunteers, it’s important to ensure that being on the board is time worth spending on giving back to the profession — and that we are passionate about doing it. I truly believe that what the section board does affects all of our 1,900 members and sparks joy in our profession.

I was excited to hear what board members at the retreat wanted to accomplish in their respective areas in the coming year, and I want to share a couple of the bigger takeaways here.

Northern News

The board took some time to discuss the future of our flagship Northern News and its value to our members. All who spoke on this matter at the retreat said the newsmagazine is iconic, and universally valued for its informative content, for its quality, and for bringing us locally based and locally authored articles and stories. We are moving toward a fully digital product this year (no more PDF), but the monthly publication schedule will remain — we agreed that was the right frequency for presenting curated articles and ICYMI planning news. So I’m lobbing you the same challenge I gave to your board members: embrace ownership in our publication by contributing to it. The Northern News has always been of, for, and by Northern Section planners, and we can continue that only if you contribute to the content.

Online Distance Education Opportunities

A topic that came up often at the retreat was offering webinar or video streaming services of some of the Northern Section events. Given the tremendous effort that goes into coordinating and hosting the many workshops, lectures, and training sessions we offer, we want to ensure that you can easily access them. That’s the main reason we created a Distance Education Coordinator position on the board last fall and appointed Shannon Hake, AICP. With the help of our immediate past director Sharon Grewal, AICP (who also serves on the Chapter board as Vice President–Professional Development), we’ll be looking to make some of our programming available online beginning in the second half of 2019.

New Board Members

Your board has appointed four new members: Danae Hall will serve as YPG Co-director alongside Veronica Flores. Della Acosta takes over as University Liaison and is already coordinating with our student representatives from UC Berkeley and San Jose State. After a phenomenal reboot of our Mentorship Program, Liz Probst, AICP, has stepped down as Mentorship Director, and Ellen Yau has been appointed to pick up where Liz left off. Mark Young is stepping into the role of South Bay Regional Activity Coordinator. (Cherise Orange moved to Planning Diversity Co-director with Cindy Ma, AICP.) All of these folks bring enthusiasm and great ideas to their respective roles and to the board. Also new to the board is first year graduate student Marta Polovin, Student Representative from UC Berkeley. We’re excited to have all of them on board.

Onward We Serve

All of us on the board are excited about what we are planning for the section in the coming months. The retreat set the tone for a great year, so keep an eye on our event calendar for future events. And if you are (as I hope) motivated to join the board, we are large enough that we almost always have positions available. Right now, we are looking for a new San Francisco Regional Activity Coordinator and a Treasurer to serve out the remaining 2019 term of Jonathan Schuppert, AICP, who is now our Section Director-elect. Make sure to check online for our latest open positions.