Darija Wiswell is the project manager for the Allegheny County Health Department’s Safe and Healthy Communities Program. This program seeks to improve land use, zoning and community design to enhance the health and safety of Allegheny County residents. Ms.Wiswell brings her experience in health and nutrition to the subject of the built environment to make healthy lifestyle choices easier. She believes strongly that improving access to non-car transportation could make some of the greatest strides in preventable chronic diseases such as heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and obesity. Ms.Wiswell strives to incorporate walking, bussing and biking into her regular routine. She has a B.S. in Nutrition from Bradley University in Illinois and is a registered dietitian.
For nearly six years, Scott Bricker has been the executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, the 1400+ member-strong, local bicycle advocacy organization whose mission is to make Pittsburgh increasingly safe, accessible, and friendly to bicycle transportation. Bike Pittsburgh has been integral in not only raising awareness about bicycling issues and but also bringing resources to bear to install necessary bike infrastructure in the city. Branching out to state and national advocacy, Mr. Bricker also sits on the board of PA Walks & Bikes, and The Alliance for Biking & Walking. He is 34 years old and lives in Friendship with his girlfriend.
Patrick Roberts is principal transportation planner for the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of City Planning. He reviews and interfaces with all transportation projects in the city. His background is in planning, design, environmental compliance, financing, operations, and maintenance and is built on an earlier career with PennDOT where he focused on local systems and revitalization projects. Mr. Roberts is a car-free project manager for the MOVEPGH multimodal transportation plan, which is about to kick off. MOVEPGH is Pittsburgh’s first attempt at a combined transportation plan and will include multimodal transportation, a bike/pedestrian plan and a street design manual.
Internationally renowned livable city advisor and social marketing strategist, Gil Peñalosa is passionate about vibrant and healthy communities. Hoping to improve the quality of life for all residents, Mr. Peñalosa promotes walking and cycling as well as the creation and use of great city parks and trails. As Executive Director of Canadian non-profit organization 8-80 Cities and former Commissioner of Parks, Sports and Recreation in Bogotá, Colombia, his commitment to fostering healthy communities remains front and centre. He also works as Senior Consultant for the renowned Danish firm Gehl Architects, and serves on the Boards of Directors of American Trails, Ciclovias of the Americas, and City Parks Alliance.
As Commissioner of Parks, Sports and Recreation for the City of Bogotá, Colombia, Mr. Peñalosa successfully led the design and development of over 200 parks of which Simón Bolívar, a 360 hectare park in Bogotá, Colombia is the best known; they created the Summer Festival, with over 100 events in 10 days and more than 3 million people attending making it the main recreational and cultural event in the country. His team initiated the Bogotá, Colombia Ciclovia event—car-free Sundays— today an internationally recognized program which sees over 1.3 million people walk, run skate and bike along 121 kilometers of Bogotá’s city roads.
Mr. Peñalosa’s leadership and advice has been sought out by many cities and organizations. A speaker in high demand, he has presented at over 150 workshops and seminars in North America and has provided consultation throughout the Americas, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of California’s Anderson School of Management.
Ralph Bangs, Ph.D., is Associate Director of the Center on Race and Social Problems in the School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh. He is also Associate Editor of the new national and international journal, Race and Social Problems, which is published by Springer Press. His areas of expertise are race relations and public policy analysis. His current research is on improving education for African Americans, the Pittsburgh Promise, increasing local government contracting with minority and women-owned businesses, and reducing homicides and youth violence. His Ph.D. is from the University of Pittsburgh in public policy research and analysis.
Carey Harris is the Executive Director of A+ Schools, an independent advocate for improvement in public education. Under her leadership the organization has grown to reach and mobilize tens of thousands through its publications, events and community discussions. Some of the more visible programs and publications include the “Report to the Community on Public School Progress,” the nationally recognized Board Watch program and School Works action research program. A+ Schools also runs Students Engaged in Leadership and conducts research for the purposes of defining the issues the community can act upon.
Prior to joining A+ Schools in 2003, Ms. Harris was the executive director of South Side Local Development Company and a community organizer at the Mon Valley Initiative. She serves on the board of the Birmingham Foundation and resides on the South Side with her husband John Werling and their three children Audrey, Lillian, and James – all of whom are students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
De’Sean Woods is a 2009 graduate of Cornell University. During his time at Cornell, De’Sean began to strengthen his firm belief in building communities. De’Sean has honed his interests through several experiences, including interning at the US Capital and creating events aimed at increasing diversity at Cornell. After Coro, De’Sean hopes to pursue a MPP and eventually a JD to further bolster his undersanding of law, policy and public affairs.