top of page

Friday, January 20,  8  AM – 6  PM
Huntsman Hall Auditorium 
3730 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

2023 Conference Agenda

Breakfast & Check-in

8:00  - 9:00 am ET

Welcome & Introductions

9:00 - 9:30 am ET

Opening Keynote Remarks -
Mr. Mike Parker, EY Americas Infrastructure Leader


9:30 - 10:00 am ET

Panel I:
Cities and a Shared Challenge:
International response(s) to climate change

Cities around the world are facing the shared threat of climate change. This panel proposes a cross-cultural exchange on the greatest contemporary issue of our time. What actions are cities taking against climate change? How are the environmental and social impacts being addressed around the globe? Can cities lead and take action where nations balk? Experts from various fields will showcase international experiences to learn together. Conference-goers can participate in a global brainstorm of how we will meet today’s challenges for tomorrow’s reality.

Moderator: Eugenie Birch - Co-Director, Penn IUR, Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Education, Chair of the Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning

Daniel C. Esty  - Yale University
Jeb Brugmann-  Resilient Cities Calalyst
Felicity Spors - The Gold Standard
Mauricio Rodas - United Cities and Local Governments Organization

10:00 - 10:45 am ET

Refreshment Break

10:45 - 11:00am ET

Lighting Lecture I - Connectivity Writ Large: The Power of Civic Engagement and Partnership - John Fry, President of Drexel University 

11:00- 11:20 am ET

Panel II: Paving the Future: Streets and Integrated Infrastructure

How we use our streets is constantly evolving, but they are always used to connect us. In this panel we look to answer, how are cities adapting streetscapes to changing mobility landscape? What are winning strategies? How do we balance induced demands of many competing modes? What is happening beneath our streets to connect us? Streets can map out where our cities are headed. Our panel of leading experts and stakeholders shaping this industry will discuss how the conversation is in a constant state of flux and introduce innovative solutions being used around the world.


Shannon Mattern, Presidential Compact Professor, University of Pennsylvania



Mark Wheeler, Chief Information Officer, City of Philadelphia

Shabazz Stuart, Founder & CEO, Oonee Pod

Douglas Robbins, AICP/PP, Senior Urban Planner and Vice President, AECOM

 Camille Bogan, Program Associate, NACTO

11:25 - 12:30 pm ET

Lunch & Student Research Presentations

12:30 - 1:40 pm ET

Welcome Back

1:40 - 1:45 pm ET

Lightning Lecture II -
Charles T. Brown on Arrested Mobility


1:45 - 2:05 pm ET

Panel III:
Building a Digital World: Metaverse and Cities

Digital infrastructure, delivered through technologies including digital twin, AR and VR, will continue to shape our interactions in cities and with other citizens. Whether you are a believer or a skeptic, the construction of the digital world is taking place. The digital world should connect people more closely, offer enhanced experience, and enable smarter decisions. This panel invites industry veterans and bold disruptors who will share their experience in building, shaping, and regulating this rapidly evolving space.

Moderator: Linda Poon, Staff Writer at Bloomberg CityLab


Salla Eckhardt - SVP, OAC Services

John Cerone - Principal, SHoP architects

Dania El Hassan - Director of Product, AutoCAD, Autodesk

Dr. Ian Opperman - New South Wales Government Chief Data Scientist; Industry Professor at University of Technology, Sydney)

2:05 - 3:00 pm ET


3:00 - 3:10pm ET

Panel IV:
Ensuring Equity in Delivering Basic Services and Affordable Housing

Advancing and promoting equity in delivering basic services and affordable housing will ensure that all people feel truly connected to their communities. In this panel, we hope to gain insight into how a future city can more effectively integrate the core values of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into its policies, programs, practices, and procedures by studying the past successes and failures of project delivery and community engagement from around the world. Community leaders, community-based organizations, local and regional decision-makers, city planning scholars, and developers will be invited to this panel discussion and will discuss how cities can be made more equitable, tangible, and inclusive for all citizens.

Moderator: Akira Drake Rodriguez - Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania


Simon Kawitzky - Vice President for Portfolio Planning, NYC Housing Authority
Sarah Watson - Deputy Di
rector, Citizens Housing Planning Council

Lorraine Wilson-Drake - Founder/President, Wilson-Drake Development

3:10 - 3:55 pm ET

Lightning Lecture III -
Eric Bathras and Ryan Bouma from AECOM on the Smartest Street in America


3:55 - 4:15 pm ET


4:15 - 4:30 pm ET

Panel V:  
Financing the Future of Cities: Fuel
ing a connected future

Financing is often a bottleneck for business owners when pursuing their strategic and operational goals. Building the city of the future is not immune to this phenomenon - projects are regularly put on hold or abandoned altogether. It is vital for operators and project sponsors to ensure that funding is available for the entirety of their projects to ensure that they reach completion. This panel will convene city financiers with diverse perspectives on how to tackle this problem. The latest trends in financing the development of cities will be discussed along with ways of optimizing existing financing structures. The panelists will also discuss emerging trends in financing structures for facilitating the growth of cities of the future.

Moderator: Professor Ferreira - University of Pennsylvania


Francesca Whitehead - VP, Fifth Wall
Katherina Rosqueta - Founding Executive Director, High Impact Philanthropy Academy
Trista Miller - Partner, Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners
I-Hsing Sun - Chief Program Officer, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund

Andy Rachlin - President, Spring Garden Lending

4:30 - 5:30pm ET

Closing  Keynote Remarks:
Former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter


5:30 - 6:00pm ET

Thank you & Close Out

6:00 - 6:05pm ET

Reception at Louie Louie

6:05 - 8:30pm ET

bottom of page