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Building a Culture of Inquiry

Updated: Jan 22, 2020


As a firm, we place curiosity, dialogue, and inquiry firmly at the heart of our work to keep our pulse on an evolving city and bring fresh eyes to complex urban issues. Most recently, Senior Consultant Ali Sutherland-Brown and Analyst Tania Marinos were certified in design thinking and equipped with groundbreaking tools to bring ideas to action through leaders in the field IDEO U.

For the next nine months, Ali will continue to explore policy and systems change across sectors as a member of the Coro Leadership New York 30 cohort! We are, as always, immensely proud of her commitment to equity in city planning. Congratulations, Ali!

We’d like to extend a special congratulations to Melanie Pettit (Citibike), Challey Comer (Capalino+Company), Amy Diehl-Crader (AKRF), Elizabeth Ginsburg (Enterprise), and Beth Wolfowitz (Hatch) for their Coro acceptance!


WHERE IN THE USA IS KARP STRATEGIES? In the coming months, you’ll be able to catch up with Karp Strategies as we zip across the country sharing what we’ve learned from our work on transformative city projects and learning from our peers…have we mentioned that we love what we do?

Brooklyn, NY | September 13 This week, catch Rebecca Karp at theFrom Day One conference presenting to a gathering of 250 Principals and CEOs on “What a Business Owes Its Neighbors.” See you in Brooklyn?  

Atlanta, GA | September 27- October 3 Then we’re off to Atlanta, GA where Rebecca and Tania are presenting creative community engagement strategies at theIEDC Annual Conference.

Brooklyn, NY | October 3 Come say hello a little closer to home at the Center for Urban Pedagogy Annual Benefit – we’re thrilled to support ten incredible years of CUP’s Making Policy Public program. Join us!

San Antonio, TX | October 23-26 Then we’re off to Austin, TX where we’ll be facilitating a panel with the Union Square Partnership and leading BIDs from around the country at the 64th Annual International Downtown Association Conference.

That’s not all! There are more opportunities than ever to think critically with us – we’re proud members of the New York Building Congress and CoreNet. In true Karp Strategies fashion, we can’t wait to get involved in NYBC’s robust committees and attend upcoming CoreNet events. 

Want to continue the conversation? In the past, we’ve welcomed the opportunity to present at, facilitate, and plan dialogues, conferences, and trainings around the country.  If you’d like to see more of Rebecca or the Karp Strategies team at your event, please don’t hesitate to reach out here!



What do the urban planners, policy wonks, and mapping enthusiasts of Karp Strategies do in their free time?  Think about planning, of course!  We’ve compiled a special list of what we’re reading this fall.  

Rebecca’s Pick: The New Geography of Jobs, Jonathan Rothwell  Enrico Moretti, an Economist at UC Berkeley, writes about how geography and industry shapes the economic vitality of metropolitan areas.  Spoiler alert – Moretti posits that the innovation sector shapes gains for all sectors within cities and that supporting the growth of innovation clusters while staying the decline in others and alleviating inequalities will be the macro-economic challenge of the coming century.

Beatriz’s Pick: Affordable Housing in New York: The People, Places, and Policies That Transformed a City, edited by Nicholas Dagen Bloom and Matthew Gordon Lasner The need for high-quality affordable housing is arguably one of New York City’s most pressing issues. The authors of this must-read book examine the forces that have shaped housing in the city, from early experiments by housing reformers and the innovative public-private solutions of the 1970s and 1980s to today’s professionalized affordable housing industry. 

Ali’s Pick: Widow Basquiat, Jenifer Clement Karp Strategies' recent work with the SoHo Broadway Initiative reignited Ali’s adolescent preoccupation with the 1980s downtown art scene. Clement's book traces the love story between Jean-Michel Basquiat and his muse, Suzanne Mallouk, in parallel with the ways in which notions of art, race, and New York City were transforming. A quick and poetic read that captures how culture shapes neighborhoods - and vice versa.

Joseph’s Pick: $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, Kathryn Edin and Luke Schaefer 1.5 million U.S. households live on less than $2.00 a day. This book has changed the way we view extreme poverty and the job market for low-income people in the U.S. as it follows the lives of a set of families in Chicago, Tennessee, and West Virginia who are trapped in extreme poverty. Edin and Schaefer weave between the stories of these families and the complex web of history and policies that contribute to their circumstances.

Tania’s Pick: Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities, Mindy Thompson Fullilove, Hon. AIA, MD Is it science or is it magic that brings joy to our sorted-out neighborhoods? This series of essays connects moments of shared community prosperity and tragedy to tangible public health metrics, highlighting examples of leaders, neighborhood groups, and ideas that have brought life back to their communities. 

Alex’s Pick: Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World, Wade Graham How have ideas - about how we should live, work, and play- become the blueprint for the cities we live in today? Wade Graham, a landscape designer and historian, describes how these visionary concepts were adopted and became fundamental building blocks of cities around the world. The book details the original plans, historical context, and modern day presence of seven "dreams"-  Castles, Monuments, Slabs, Homesteads, Corals, Malls, and Habitats. Alex has named this field guide a must-read for all young urbanists! 

Jen’s Pick: The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape, James Howard Kunstler The book that inspired Jen to study urban planning holds up almost 20 years later, still striking in its portrayal of the simple mistakes we’ve made that have led to immensely complex urban problems. While some cities have started to find solutions since the book was first published, it’s clear we still have so much to do to restore our varied landscapes.

Cheryl's Pick: The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs A timeless classic that challenged planners to consider the ecosystem of the city block by block.  Jacobs studies the web of relationships, from neighbors to grocers, that makes cities vibrant places and warns us of the pitfalls of designing without communities in mind. Absolutely worth revisiting from time to time as we define our ever-changing work as urban planners.

Want to share ideas? Talk about what we're reading? Dig deep into projects or attend an event together?  Drop us a line!


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