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AARP Livable Communities Placemaking Workshop: Speakers and Panelists

See the line-up and find links to the materials presented at the November 2019 event

Follow the links below to watch videos of the introductory speakers and panel discussions. Click here to return to the workshop's main page.

Keynote Speakers

The keynote address videos and presentation slides can be found through the following links: 

Carol Coletta, President and CEO, Memphis River Parks Partnership

Matthew Lister, Partner and Managing Director, Gehl Studio

Odetta MacLeish-White, Managing Director, TransFormation Alliance


  • Kristin Dillon, Senior Vice President, AARP State and Community Engagement

Kristin Dillon leads a team of more than 500 AARP staff members and 15,000 volunteers to carry out AARP’s social mission by advocating for issues that are important to AARP members, by working with local partners, and by equipping people age 50-plus with tools and information for living their best lives.

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Introduction and Orientation

  • Bob Murphy, State Director, AARP Colorado

Bob Murphy has an extensive private and public sector background, including 22 years serving the residents of Lakewood, Colorado, as a planning commissioner, city councilor and, from 2007 to 2015, mayor. As mayor, Murphy oversaw many transformational projects, including the opening of Lakewood’s first hospitals, the city’s first light-rail line, and the redevelopment of Belmar, which involved turning a failed regional shopping mall into a vibrant mixed-use downtown. Murphy is a past chair of the Denver Metro Mayors Caucus, where he was instrumental in regional planning in the areas of housing, transportation and economic development. He has been the state director of AARP Colorado since 2016.

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Placemaking for All 

Moderator: Will Phillips, State Director, AARP Minnesota

Will Phillips’ work building teams and strategies that empower citizens to shape their communities has spanned more than two decades and roles with multiple social impact organizations. Prior to leading AARP Minnesota, Phillips managed multi-state and national advocacy campaigns including “You’ve Earned a Say,“ AARP’s national conversation about the future of Social Security and Medicare.

  • Anthony Taylor, Founder, Slow Roll Twin Cities
    Executive Council Member, AARP Minnesota

Anthony Taylor hasn’t stopped bicycling since receiving a Schwinn Apple Krate for his birthday in 1971. He is cofounder of the Major Taylor Bicycling Club of Minnesota, which works to increase the participation of the African American community in cycling for sport, transportation and health improvement. He is also a member of the League of American Bicyclists Equity Advisory Council and the co-founder and vice president of the National Brotherhood of Cyclists.

  • Irene Aguilar, M.D., Director, Denver Economic Development and Opportunity Neighborhood Equity and Stabilization Program

Irene Aguilar works to prevent Denver’s most vulnerable residents from being displaced due to gentrification. A former Colorado state senator, Aguilar sat on the health and human services and judiciary committees. Previously, she worked for 23 years as a primary care physician for Denver Health and has served on its board since 2012.

  • Rudy Espinoza, Executive Director, Inclusive Action for the City

Inclusive Action for the City is a Los Angeles-based community development organization that designs innovations to responsibly revitalize low-income urban areas. Rudy Espinoza leads advocacy efforts in support of the working poor and micro-finance programs that support micro-entrepreneurs.

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Economic Impacts of Placemaking

Moderator: Bob Murphy, State Director, AARP Colorado 

  • Shannon Joern, Vice President, National Advancement, Artspace

Artspace is a nonprofit developer of live/work artist housing, artist studios, arts centers and arts-friendly businesses. Since joining Artspace in 2004, Shannon Joern has helped to raise more than $35 million in philanthropic and private sector funds for the organization and its projects in communities throughout the country.

  • Clark Anderson, Executive Director, Community Builders

Equal parts entrepreneur, placemaker and bridge builder, Clark Anderson helps to create healthy, equitable and prosperous communities. His work focuses on empowering local leaders and advocating for better approaches to land use planning, economic development, housing policy, transportation planning and civic engagement. He is also a small-scale developer who specializes in building “missing middle housing“ in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

  • Lindsey Wallace, Director, Strategic Projects and Design Services,
    National Main Street Center

Lindsey Wallace leads a variety of projects and partnerships, including the Historic Commercial District Revolving Fund and façade improvement grant program. As part of the technical services team, she focuses on design-related and placemaking initiatives and services.

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The Health Impacts of Placemaking

Moderator: Denise Bottcher, State Director, AARP Louisiana

Denise Bottcher’s career spans more than 25 years in the private sector, government and nonprofit arena. She leads AARP Louisiana’s staff and volunteers in service of the state’s 500,000 AARP members, their families and communities.

  • Cynthia Gibson, Executive Director, Idaho Walk Bike Alliance

Cynthia Gibson is passionate about being outdoors. Working for the Idaho Walk Bike Alliance allows her to share her love of moving more, driving less and helping to make communities safer, healthier and more livable.

  • Jared Hymowitz, Director of the Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative, City of Baton Rouge

The Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative was created as a way to address health issues on a local level. Commonly known as HealthyBR, the initiative is a nonprofit with the mission to communicate, collaborate and coordinate the activities of more than 100 partner organizations to create a healthier Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

  • Jennifer Berdugo, Associate State Director for Community Outreach, AARP California

Jennifer Berdugo serves as AARP California’s statewide lead for livable communities and is the issue lead for open spaces. Berdugo also leads AARP’s community presence efforts in Sacramento, working closely with local jurisdictions on livability and age-friendly issues.

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The Social Impacts of Placemaking

Moderator: Troy Schuster, State Director, AARP Virgin Islands

Troy Schuster leads and directs the advocacy and community outreach work of AARP and its members in the Virgin Islands. Before leading AARP Virgin Islands, he spent 12 years of his career serving the Catholic Diocese of the Virgin Islands as a seminarian and later as a priest. In addition, Schuster has served as the vice chairman and board chairman of the Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center as well as the Virgin Islands Cardiac Center.

  • Réna Bradley, Community Development Director, Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries Center

Working in Southeast Fort Wayne, Indiana, Réna Bradley uses a design-thinking approach to drive grassroots community revitalization initiatives that equip residents with the tools and confidence to be agents of change.

  • Dillon Goodson, Executive Director, Lakeview Chamber of Commerce

Dillon Goodson leads community and economic development efforts in Chicago. His work involves improving neighborhoods with initiatives that create stronger connections between people and places. He serves on the board of the International Downtown Association, which is a world leader and champion for vital and livable urban centers.

  • Emily Yetman, Co-founder and Executive Director Living Streets Alliance

The nonprofit Living Streets Alliance is working to transform Tucson, Arizona’s streets into public spaces for people. In less than a decade, LSA has grown its popular open streets event to engage 80,000 participants annually, implemented Tucson’s first tactical urbanism intersection transformations, established a thriving Safe Routes to School program, and celebrated a major advocacy win with the adoption of a strong, community-led Complete Streets policy in 2019.

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Moderator: Paula Cunningham, State Director, AARP Michigan

Prior to leading AARP Michigan, Paula Cunningham was already a distinguished community, business and education leader, having spent 25 years at Lansing Community College, where she served as president from 2000 to 2006. She later served as the president and CEO of Capitol National Bank in Lansing. Cunningham was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 2013 for her business and community service.

Small Projects, Big Impact in the Final Frontier

  • Terry Snyder, Volunteer President, AARP Alaska

Connecting the Community with Healthy Food and Physical Activity

  • Sarah Sandau, Prevention Program Supervisor, Lewis and Clark Public Health, Helena, Montana

Using Human-Centered Design in Local Government

  • Hind Ourahou, Senior Mobility Strategist, City of Detroit Office of Mobility Innovation Reclaiming and Transforming Damaged

Property for Community Use

  • Candice Roberson, Executive Director, Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association

Bronzeville Public Safety

  • Terri Worman, Associate State Director, AARP Illinois

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Moderator: Stephanie Hunsinger, State Director, AARP New Jersey

Before leading AARP New Jersey, Stephanie Hunsinger led healthcare advocacy and outreach efforts, including for the New Jersey Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the State of New Jersey’s Multiple Sclerosis Task Force.

90 Minutes to Launch

  • Darrin Wasniewski, Associate State Director for Community Outreach, AARP Wisconsin

Using Existing Assets to Create Novel Experiences

  • Elizabeth Brodek, Executive Director, The East Side Business Improvement District

Church is Just People

  • Dawaune Hayes, President, Parker Action Alliance

Local Advocacy, Big Impact

  • Maria Ramirez-Trillo, Associate State Director, AARP Arizona

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The Path Toward Placemaking

  • James Brooks, Director, Community and Field Support, AARP Office of Community Engagement

Before joining AARP to work in the AARP Virginia state office, James Brooks was the executive director of Project Compassion, a nonprofit organization in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and clinical manager for Big Bend Hospice in Tallahassee, Florida. He is the author of The Unbroken Circle: A Toolkit for Congregations Around Illness, End of Life and Grief, and other publications.

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Placemaking in Colorado

  • Mark Falcone, CEO, Continuum Partners

Mark Falcone founded Continuum Partners in 1997 with the mission “to create human habitats of extraordinary character and enduring value.“ Since its inception, Continuum has completed more than $2 billion of development and established itself as a leader in designing and building largescale, mixed-use urban projects that support walkability and promote environmental sustainability.

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Closing Remarks

  • Danielle Arigoni, Director, AARP Livable Communities

Danielle Arigoni manages the AARP Livable Communities national team and supports AARP’s 53 state offices — and the hundreds of localities enrolled in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. Arigoni is an urban planner by training and has nearly 20 years of experience contributing to federal, state and local sustainability and resiliency efforts. She has held leadership positions at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She serves on the board of the League of American Bicyclists.

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Creating Places That Pop!

Learn how to download and/or order The Pop-Up Placemaking Tool Kit, free publication by AARP and Team Better Block.

Page published November 2019

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