Man standing with bikes

Two Urban Sustainability MA Alumni Named Influential Urbanists

Ioby, a platform for organizing and funding neighborhood improvement projects nationwide, coined the term “crowd-resourcing” to describe the way in which their system works to gather volunteers and resources from the communities, for the communities.

Their blog post, 100 Most Influential Urbanists You Don’t Know About But Should, highlighted two Urban Sustainability MA alumni, Ade Neff, and Avital Aboody.

Man standing with bikesAde Neff’s Ride On! Bike Co-op in Leimert Park is a hub for South LA cyclists. The Co-op is a place where riders can go and learn to fix their bikes and be in community with other local cyclists and bike enthusiasts. The volunteers are also working to raise awareness around bike traffic safety and to improve local infrastructure to make getting around on two wheels safer and more convenient. “We’ve been conditioned to think that the road and the city belong to cars. We need to turn it around so it belongs to people. Everybody should have access to the city,” said Ade Neff.

Young woman using power drill to make somethingAvital Aboody had been working in the underserved San Diego neighborhood of Logan Heights for years and was well aware of how badly it needed green spaces and community gathering areas. She began scouting vacant lots as possible sites and after much research and digging in public records, got in touch with the owner of a lot strategically placed at the heart of the neighborhood. The owner, Derrick Gilliam, no longer lived in the area, but his family had deep roots in the neighborhood and he was enthusiastic about Aboody’s ideas so he granted BAME CDC (where Avital worked at the time) the right to use the space for community benefit. Aboody then created a steering committee for the project, H.A.C.E.R. (Helping Achieve Community Empowerment and Revitalization), and through the hard work of community residents, BAME CDC, and Space 4 Art, the Gilliam Family Community Space & Garden now has a treehouse, amphitheater, raised garden beds, and screen for outdoor movie nights.

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