Who is Co-City Baton Rouge?
The Co-City Baton Rouge project started with Professor Foster speaking with the Build Baton Rouge President/CEO Chris Tyson for many hours over the course of 2-3 months with Chris Tyson and his team. As ideas began to percolate, Professor Iaione was looped in then Professor Gillette before formalizing the project. During these calls we learned about the community, its history, what Chris was trying to do down there and how we could effectively intervene. The project then hired me to be the Co-City Fellow and Project Manager in April 2019. During our visit in May 2019 BBR officially kicked off its Co-Cities partnership with the Marron Institute for Urban Management at New York University and the LabGov Project at Georgetown University during a luncheon held at East Baton Rouge Parish Library Main Branch. After the event local stakeholders and residents wanted to know more about us and our interests. So, who is the Co-City Baton Rouge Project team?
Sheila R. Foster is a Professor of Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University. Foster writes in the areas of property, environmental policy, land use law, and state and local government. Foster co directs LabGov, an international applied research project working with cities here and abroad. Over the last decade, she and her LabGov colleagues have developed the idea of the Co-City through their body of scholarship and applying its protocol in European, Latin American and now American cities. Foster oversees the Co-City Baton Rouge project, working closely with the Co-City Fellow and the Director of Marron on project scope, protocol adaptation to local conditions, development of project prototypes, and evaluation mechanisms. A more in-depth bio can be found here.
Professor Clayton Gillette is the Director of the Marron Institute of Urban Management and the Max E. Greenberg Professor of Contract Law at the New York University School of Law. The Marron Institute of Urban Management is an applied research unit of New York University. Faculty and researchers from Marron work directly with cities and other governments to improve the delivery of municipal services. Gillette has served as a consultant to municipalities on matters of finance and litigation. He headed the Marron Institute’s work with the Emergency Financial Manager of Detroit concerning the effects of city institutions on fiscal stability. A more in-depth bio can be found here.
Manohar “Manny” Patole is the Co-City Fellow and Project Manager for the Co-City BBR project and is responsible for day to day operations, community engagement, and portfolio management. He is a former Excelsior Fellow with the Office of the Governor of the State of New York as a Data and Policy Analyst with the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Division of Planning. His research interests include localization and innovation to better serve their communities, urban water and sanitation management, and data for development. He holds a Master of Urban Planning degree from NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and UNESCO’s Institute for Water Education and University of Dundee’s Centre for Energy, Petroleum and Mineral Law and Policy with a LLm ME specializing in Water Governance and Conflict Resolution and Water Conflict Management.
We are not in this alone. In addition to the various stakeholders and residents we have engaged (who you will get to know soon enough) we could not forget about our local partner, Build Baton Rouge. Formerly known as East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority, BBR was created by the 2007 Louisiana Legislature, governed by a five-member Board of Commissioners and appointed by the Mayor-President, Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and Baton Rouge Area Chamber. Their mission is to transform the quality of life for all citizens who live, work and play in East Baton Rouge Parish by returning blighted properties to productive use, fostering redevelopment through facilitating partnerships, and creating a vibrant, globally competitive community while preserving character of place. To learn more about BBR visit their website.
Our project staff and principals work with the entire team but work closely with BBR’s President/CEO Chris Tyson and Community Engagement Specialist Walter “Geno” McLaughlin to oversee a highly localized, diverse array of public engagement activities and tools that are essential for the planning effort and to address widespread suspicion and distrust of top-down planning processes in a historically African American community. A core commitment of the project is to incorporate equitable principles into the planning effort by engaging local community members as consultants and partners in whatever planning and revitalization efforts will take place, including at every step of the Co-City process.
Christopher J. Tyson is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Build Baton Rouge, which works to bring people and resources together to promote equitable investment, innovative development, and thriving communities across all of Baton Rouge. Chris is currently on leave from his position as the Newman Trowbridge Distinguished Professor of Law at the LSU Law Center. He has published numerous academic and editorial works that have appeared in the New York Times and the Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice. He holds degrees from Howard University, the Harvard Kennedy School, and the Georgetown University Law Center.
Geno McLaughlin is the Community Engagement Specialist of Build Baton Rouge. He has been an invaluable partner, helping me and the rest of the Co-City team to establish local relationships, understand the local landscape, and provide valuable insight that is not found in any social media or text book. He has worked with BBR for just over a year but has been a local activist on equality issues for many years. He holds a degree from Southern University and A & M College, (Baton Rouge, LA) and was recently recognized as a member of 2019’s Greater Baton Rouge Business Report Forty Under 40 class!
The success of the project is based on the interconnectivity with the local community. In addition to our primary project partner, Build Baton Rouge, Co-City BR is partnering with public authorities, civic organizations, and universities regionally and nationally with experts in the fields of our project concepts. In so doing, we aim to create a network of collaborators who can be called upon as the project is scaled up as well as applied in other cities. In future posts we will feature our partners and their stories.
Next: My Plank Road, A Year in Review