[Past Event] Urb-Innovation: Can Cities Rise to the Challenge?
Flight from American downtowns has more than doubled since the onset of the pandemic. While crime, homelessness and environmentalism constitute several reasons for this trend, the story is more complex. Moving forward, how we work, play, produce and exchange ideas will reflect the disjuncture caused by COVID. Cities that embrace innovation and change will thrive, while ones that ignore this inflection point and simply return to “normal” will see destructive trends continue. Given the current anti-urban movement, how can we leverage COVID’s lessons to create new opportunities and jumpstart a more sustainable and equitable urban future? Where are the critical pockets for new investment and partnerships in this post-pandemic moment?
Panelists: Josh Sirefman, Senior Advisor and Cofounder at Sidewalk Labs
Moderator: Emily Cegielski, Editorial Director, Worth
In case you missed the last Worth Live, you can watch the highlight of the latest session below:
- Tuesday, August 31 at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT
- A Virtual Experience
Joshua Sirefman co-founded and served as President of Sidewalk Labs, a leading urban innovation company, and key investment area for Alphabet, and remains active as Co-Founder and Senior Advisor for the company. Josh has helped build and guide the growth of a groundbreaking company bridging technology and urbanism to radically improve quality of life in cities, and also led the closely followed effort by Sidewalk Labs to transform Toronto’s waterfront into a new model for technology-enabled, sustainable and affordable development.
Prior to Sidewalk Labs, Josh founded Sirefman Ventures, a development services firm focused on the management of transformative development strategies and projects, and played a leading role in numerous initiatives, including with Cornell University in the creation and development of Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island, the redevelopment of Hyde Park in Chicago with the University of Chicago, the redirection of the Central Library Plan with the New York Public Library, and the expansion of the High Line to Hudson Yards.
Before creating Sirefman Ventures, Josh served as Senior Vice President for Development in the US at Brookfield Properties, and was a senior member of the first five years of the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Josh served as Chief of Staff for the Deputy Mayor of Economic Development and Rebuilding, Interim President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), and Chief Operating Officer of EDC. Josh was one of the architects of the administrations five borough economic development strategy, and played a leading role in many critical projects, including the redevelopment of the World Trade Center and Lower Manhattan, Governors Island, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Coney Island, and Downtown Brooklyn.
Josh holds a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan (1996) and a Bachelor’s Degree from Wesleyan University (1989). He has been a guest lecturer at Columbia University, the University of Michigan and New York University, and sits on the boards of the New York Restoration Project, Fist and Heel Performance Group, the Jerusalem Cultural Fellows, as well as the advisory board of the University of Michigan’s Taubman College.
Emily Cegielski is an award-winning multimedia journalist and editor based in New York City, who is the Editorial Director at Worth Media.
Prior to joining the Worth team, she worked as a Senior Editor at the New York Observer, where she built out its Business, Tech and Innovation vertical—refining beats, recruiting expert contributors and leading a team of staff reporters and freelancers. Previously, she worked as Director of Digital Media at High Times, where she drove creation of cannabis-related stories; programmed content; managed social media; planned and executed marketing campaigns for High Times events; covered breaking news; edited content; and led a site redesign.
In the past, she has worked as a staff writer, photographer, designer, copy editor, fact-checker, section editor, managing editor and senior editor for a wide array of newspapers, magazines and websites.