past event
Community Development

SOF Digital Discussion: Built for Everyone: Reimagining the Urban Experience

Join us for an SOF Digital Discussion featuring featuring leading experts Kimberly Dowdell, Principal at HOK and President of NOMA; Eric Klinenberg, Helen Gould Shepard Professor in the Social Sciences at New York University; and Amy Liu, Vice President and Director at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program; in conversation with Sommer Mathis, Editor-in-Chief of City Monitor. The esteemed panel will address ways to reimagine cities with equity at the center of the design process. They will discuss the role of design and urban planners, city government, and the citizenry in improving the lives of all individuals living in cities, as well as important policy and process changes that could ensure a more equitable day-to-day experience.

*If you are not currently a member of the Society of Fellows, and are interested in joining, please contact the SOF team at or (970) 544-7980. You may also learn more about the Society of Fellows on our website.


Kimberly Dowdell is an architect with a passion for cities. Her story began in Detroit, where she was born and raised. Having studied architecture at Cornell and public administration at Harvard, Kimberly’s career has spanned from design to real estate development, public service, project management and teaching graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Michigan. She spent her early career in Washington, D.C. and New York, focusing now on the sustainable growth and development of the Midwest as a Principal in the Chicago studio of HOK, a global design firm. Kimberly was named a Crain’s Chicago Business 40 Under 40 honoree in 2020 and a Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40 honoree in 2018. She is currently serving as the 2019-2020 National President of NOMA, the National Organization of Minority Architects, where she has more than doubled the membership of the 49-year old professional organization during her two-year term.

Eric Klinenberg is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author, whose recent books include Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life, and Modern Romance (with Aziz Ansari). He contributes to the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and This American Life.

Amy Liu is Vice President and director of the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings and the Adeline M. and Alfred I. Johnson Chair in Urban and Metropolitan Policy. She is a national expert on cities and metropolitan areas adept at translating research and insights into action on the ground. As Director of the Metropolitan Policy Program, which Liu co-founded in 1996, she pioneered the program’s signature approach to state and local engagements, which uses rigorous research to inform strategies for economic growth and opportunity. Liu holds a degree in Social Policy and Urban Studies from Northwestern University. In 2015, she completed the High Impact Leadership Program at Columbia Business School.

Sommer Mathis is editor-in-chief of City Monitor from New Statesman Media Group. Before joining NSMG, she served as the founding editor of CityLab, editor-in-chief of Atlas Obscura, and editor-in-chief of Her writing on cities has also appeared in the Atlantic, The Washington Post, Architect magazine and the Guardian. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Event information
Fri Nov 20, 2020
3:00pm - 3:45pm EDT
Digital Discussion