EcoDistricts Welcomes Two New Board Members

EcoDistricts is excited to announce two new Board members – Julian Agyeman, Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University and William Carson, Vice President of The infUSe Group at the US Bancorp Community Development Corporation. Get to know them below! They are joining a diverse group of leaders from across the county who represent affordable housing, placemaking, and social justice organizations, developers, city sustainability departments, CDCs and universities. Learn more about all of our Board members.


Q + A with Julian Agyeman, PhD

mug_julian_agyeman_2Home town(s): I’m a cosmopolitan. Where is ‘home’?

Where do you currently live? Cambridge, MA

Geographic stops from birth to now: Born in Beverley, East Yorkshire, England. Lived in Cottingham, East Yorkshire, England; Durham, England; Newcastle on Tyne, England; Carlisle, England; London, England; Pittsburgh, PA; Somerville, MA; Cambridge, MA Educational stops along the way: University of Durham, UK; University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; Middlesex University, UK; University of London.

Pet and hobby: I have a share in my cat Brixton; I enjoy listening to jazz and watching tennis

Last book you completed: One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Book you would highly recommend: On the Road, by Jack Kerouac

Book(s) on you nightstand or e-reader: Waging Heavy Peace, by Neil Young

Musician that would come up most on your playlist: There’s not one, but the one I’m listening to right now, as I type this, is The Michael Petrucciani Trio in Tokyo

Career choices and your “why and what ” for each and every significant or important
I’ve been a high school geography teacher, worked as an environmental policy person in local government, an environmental/sustainability consultant and finally, since 1998 I’ve been an academic. What has connected these changes and given me the breadth of my experience for the past 30 something years? A conviction that sustainable development means using our unlimited mental resources, not our limited natural resources. We need to develop more constructive ways to unleash these phenomenal mental and creative resources, and quickly. Currently, around the globe we waste human potential as wantonly and comprehensively as we lay waste to our environmental potential, and this is no surprise, as both actions are directly related. We need to understand that while there is growing human inequality, there will never be environmental quality


Q+A with William Carson

mug_bill_carsonHome town(s): I was born in Bronx, NY and lived in Raleigh, NC as a preschooler. I went through K-12 schools in Allentown PA and, with the exception of college, lived there until my early 20s.

Where you currently live: I have lived in St. Louis, MO for 21+ years.

Geographic stops from birth to now: Bronx, NY; Raleigh, NC; Allentown, PA, St. Louis, MO. My parents live in Baltimore, MD, and White Plains, NY, respectively, so those are certainly second homes.

Educational stops along the way: Cornell University, Washington University

Pet and hobby: My wife and I have 5 kids ages 3 to 21, so we are deeply engaged in their lives. I am the de facto caretaker of one of my sons’ tropical fishes, which seem to expire even more perennially than I’d care to admit. Another of my sons and I enjoy taking cello lessons together. I love cooking for my family and we love exploring St. Louis’s many arts and cultural assets.

Last book you completed: Four Fish: the Future of the Last Wild Food by Paul Greenberg. Our household maintains a pollo-pescetarian diet, and the issues of overfishing and waterway contamination are very important to me.

Book you would highly recommend: Anything by Theodor S. Geisel. His books are a primer for how I was raised and the values that I am trying to instill in my kids as well.

Book(s) on you nightstand or e-reader: I have a shamefully large stack of Fast Company, Architectural Digest and NY Times articles that have been piling up over the past few busy months. I’m playing catch-up….

Musician that would come up most on your play list: Musician-Wynton Marsalis and Group- Fishbone

Career choices and your “why and what ” for each and every significant or important change: I’ve always tried to make a meaningful connection between my day-to-day work and improving outcomes for people and the planet. It was a privilege as a young engineer to work with companies across many industries—glass, food, aerospace, consumer goods, metals, and electronics—who wanted to improve their operating costs and environmental impact. When I decided to leave Air Products in 2001 to seek a new challenge, I simply needed to make my live-work-play experience more coherent. I was made aware of an opportunity to lead a public-private-civic school reform effort being supported by the Danforth Foundation, McCormack Baron, and the broader corporate/foundation community. Having come from a family of urban educators, I had intended to seek such a position as a retirement career. We got a lot of meaningful work done despite a politically charged environment and rampant turmoil in the St. Louis Public Schools at the time. When we closed the organization after 5 years of surprisingly positive results, one of my board chairs, Richard Baron, asked me to join his company to continue working behind the scenes in urban revitalization by helping MBS to launch the company’s green building program and assist in operational efficiency and strategic planning across the family of companies. Dream job. Over 8 years our team created an impressive portfolio of neighborhood-scale green projects and accomplished several “firsts.” I was happily in an expansion mode when I received a phone call from USBCDC expressing interest in a more-holistic/less-transactional approach to their community investments. At MBS, I learned that the availability of funding is the hurdle that stops many transformative projects, so the opportunity to help re-craft the business strategy and increase the social impact of one of the largest financial institutions was quite compelling… so I moved.