Kelvin and I had a discussion the other day about people in our field that we really look up to. It’s funny, because as much as I can list off thought leaders within education, when people ask me about my role models or people who inspire me, the first people to pop into my mind have to do with cities and urban space.

Jane Jacobs. Amanda Burden. Enrique Penalosa.

What impresses me about these individuals is the way that they see cities – not simply as machines that need to balance the perspectives and desires of different stakeholders, but as living, breathing spaces that are foremost for people. I love the way that Jane Jacobs observed neighbourhoods in an effort to understand them. I love how she advocated for them unwaveringly. I love Amanda Burden’s fervent passion for public space, and her recognition of the importance of details. (I also love her eloquence and the fact that she looks so put together). I love Enrique Penalosa and the vision and follow-through he had for Bogota’s priorities.

I also love TED talks, and the way they can inspire you, and remind you of these wonderful things. Talks like this one by Amanda Burden, which I watched multiple times.


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