Three F&ES alumni have received the Jane Jacobs Medal for New Technology and Innovation for creating a nonprofit organization that encourages people to participate in environmental projects in their own neighborhood.
The Jane Jacobs Medal is awarded each year by the Rockefeller Foundation to recipients whose work “creates new ways of seeing and understanding New York City, challenges traditional assumptions and creatively uses the urban environment to make New York City a place of hope and expectation.”
The organization, called ioby for “in our backyard,” was founded by F&ES Class of 2007 members Cassie Flynn, Erin Barnes and Brandon Whitney. It channels donations to local projects that encourage the preservation of open space, provide fresh produce to communities, create gardens and farms, establish recreation programs, and more.
To date, ioby has funded 162 projects with a total of $383,000. Donors live an average of two miles from their projects, which are designed and run by neighbors, ensuring community buy-in and their long-term survival.
Along with the medal, ioby received $25,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation for “making New York City a more dynamic and attractive place for current and future New Yorkers.”
Others receiving the Jane Jacobs Medal were Ronald Shiffman, who developed the model for community development corporations; Rosanne Haggerty, founder of the Brownsville Partnership and an international leader in developing innovative strategies to end homelessness and strengthen communities; and Carl Skelton, who integrates the arts, design and technology with an open-source multiplayer environment for real cities called Betaville.
The Jane Jacobs Medal was created in 2007 to honor the author and activist who died in April 2006 at the age of 89. Jacobs’ book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961, proposed radically new principles for rebuilding cities.