The Urban Activist is a publication centering its reporting on actions in cities that embody courage and create human progress.

 

Independent, apolitical and nonpartisan, our work manifests in an open archive of grassroots solutions, social innovations and movements in cities around the globe.

 

Articles are delivered with purpose by a worldwide network of non-journalist activists, artists, scientists, researchers, urban farmers and more, who add multidisciplinary perspectives to the stories.

 

OUR MISSION

Our mission is to spark new ways of thinking and progressive action in cities. When diverse voices are excluded, it limits the discussion and reinforces the mainstream views. We represent the desires and actions of ordinary city people who have the courage to try something unconventional in their cities.

 

OUR VISION

We believe that a story out of New York can inspire action in Nairobi. What is effective in Buenos Aires could also work in Berlin. Local innovation is key in finding answers to the world’s most pressing challenges and advancing progress.

 

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE POLICY

We operate as a non-profit retaining full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic interests of our organisation. To keep our publication free of ads, and to avoid charging you for our content, this growing platform relies on grants and partnerships with non-profit organisations for our funding. But we will cede no right of review, influence or unauthorised distribution of editorial content.

We are grateful to the foundations and people who make our work possible, especially 1014 NYC, and readers like you.


Susana Fernández Molina is the founder and Editor-at-Large of The Urban Activist. In 2019, after a long international exposure in the corporate finance world, she launched The Urban Activist to energize creative approaches to pressing urban issues.

Visual storytelling and original urban activism reporting engage the public in what it means to be human in a city.

Contributors

Abdallah Tawfic

Abdallah Tawfic

Tawfic is an architect but he sees himself more as an environmentalist and urban farmer. He graduated from Cairo University and has  a master degree in Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning (REAP) from HafenCity University in Hamburg.

See more...

Abdallah Tawfic

Tawfic is an architect but he sees himself more as an environmentalist and urban farmer. He graduated from Cairo University and has  a master degree in Resource Efficiency in Architecture and Planning (REAP) from HafenCity University in Hamburg. His Master thesis, entitled “Retrofitting Green Roofs to the Urban Morphology of Informal Settlements”, was awarded the “HOLCIM student prize for Sustainability”. He has led several research experiments on different techniques of soilless agriculture like hydroponics and aquaponics.

Tawfic is currently working as a Technical Professional at the German International Cooperation (GIZ), supporting the implementation of medium scale, technical and social infrastructure projects in informal settlements in the Greater Cairo region, under the Participatory Infrastructure Project (PIP) in Urban areas, funded by the European Union and the German Government. He is also the Cofounder and Head of Research & Development of Urban Greens Egypt, a startup aiming to promote the concept of Urban Agriculture in Cairo. He is also a freelance Consultant for the United States Forest Service (USFS) International Program, working to support the Forest Service in urban forestry projects implemented in Egypt and the MENA region. He is also a frequent writer for the online magazine The Nature of Cities.

Elise Fields

Elise Fields

Elise Fields is a writer, blogger, and photographer from Baltimore. She graduated from Goucher College with a degree in Art History. Elise loves the spirit of Baltimore and all of its complexity.      

See more...

Elise Fields

Elise Fields is a writer, blogger, and photographer from Baltimore. She graduated from Goucher College with a degree in Art History. She currently writes a blog with her father about their love of music and is the photographer for a Baltimore based clay artist. She is currently working on a YA novel. Elise loves the spirit of Baltimore and all of its complexity.      

Ian Kilpatrick

Ian Kilpatrick

Ian works full time in the nonprofit space advocating for folks impacted by mass incarceration through the power of health and fitness. He has an MBA in Nonprofit Management.

See more...

Ian Kilpatrick

Ian works full time in the nonprofit space advocating for folks impacted by mass incarceration through the power of health and fitness. He earned his MBA in Nonprofit Management focused on Community Impact from the Heller School for Social and Management at Brandeis University. Ian grew up in, and still resides in the Greater Boston area with his young daughter, wife and hounddog.

Jennifer Hope Davy

Jennifer Hope Davy is an artist, editor and writer based in Berlin. She is currently working on a novel based in Oklahoma, playing with Franz Kafka’s Nature Theatre of Oklahoma (Amerika) and the modern history of Oklahoma as a reflective microcosm for contemporary “America,” which she began as a Tulsa Artist Fellow (2017-2019). Davy received her BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and her PhD from the European Graduate School|EGS. Working across disciplines, her practice centers on the politics and potentiality of perception and interruption, mediating between cognition and visibility. Recently she had the privilege to assist editing After 1921: Notes from Tulsa’s Black Wall Street and Beyond edited by Crystal Z Campbell and her book, Staging Aporia: putting together impossible things, critical encounters with art and theory, was just published by Passagen Verlag.

Laura Scherling, Ed.D.

Laura Scherling is a senior interactive designer, researcher, and educator––working and teaching design and data visualization at Columbia University. Scherling holds a doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College. She is the co-editor of the recently published book Ethics in Design and Communication: New Critical Perspectives (Bloomsbury Academic UK). Scherling is also the co-founder of GreenspaceNYC, a nonprofit sustainability and design collective. Her work has been published in Brookings Metro, Design and Culture, Spark Journal, Interiors: Design/Architecture/Culture, and the Futures Worth Preserving Cultural Constructions of Nostalgia and Sustainability.

Lucas Snaije

Lucas Snaije

Lucas Snaije is an urbanist and DJ, currently based out of Amsterdam. With an academic background in Anthropology and Urban Geography, a lot of his research focuses on the role of grassroots movements in bringing about urban change.

See more...

Lucas Snaije

Lucas Snaije is an urbanist and DJ, currently based out of Amsterdam. With an academic background in Anthropology and Urban Geography, a lot of his research focuses on the role of grassroots movements in bringing about urban change. Currently, he works at the cycling advocacy NGO bycs.org as research manager and is a resident on Radio Echobox

Maha Sano

Maha Sano

Maha Sano is Producer and Entrepreneur in Cultural and Creative industries with over fifteen years experience in delivering Moroccan theatre, street art and photography projects.

See more...

Maha Sano

Maha Sano is Producer and Entrepreneur in Cultural and Creative industries with over fifteen years experience in delivering Moroccan theatre, street art and photography projects. She is the author of the play “Dialy” who challenges the taboo of female sexuality.
She is also the founder of Association Badira CCD for preserving and digitizing moroccan cultural heritage, and co-founder of Marocopedia, a digital platform that presents shorts documentary about Moroccan cultural heritage.
Maha is quadrilingual (Arabic, Japanese, French and English) and is committed to the cultural development of Morocco and inclusive access to education and information.

Max Sano

Max Sano

Max Sano is an interdisciplinary communicator and storyteller from New York City. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a B.A. in Government and Environmental Studies with a minor in Arabic Language and Middle Eastern Culture at Franklin & Marshall College.

See more...

Max Sano

Max Sano is an interdisciplinary communicator and storyteller from New York City. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a B.A. in Government and Environmental Studies with a minor in Arabic Language and Middle Eastern Culture at Franklin & Marshall College. He is pursuing a M.A. in Food Studies at New York University  to better understand how we can transition towards sustainable and ethical food systems in local, national and international contexts.

Max is the founder and editor-in-chief of the grassroots, youth-led media collective called The Greenzine (TGZ). TGZ produces interdisciplinary, intersectional and multimedia content by youth, for people and the planet. He is also a freelance writer for Gen-Z led platform Thred Media.

Mikheil Kandaurishvili

Mikheil Kandaurishvili

Mikheil is from Georgia, pursued a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and graduated from University of Pompeu Fabra with a Master’s degree in Communications.

See more...

Mikheil Kandaurishvili

Mikheil is from Georgia, pursued a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and graduated from University of Pompeu Fabra with a Master’s degree in Communications.  His research focused on digital literacy and on implementing technologies in learning environments. He works as a freelance writer. He is enthusiastic about urbanism, arts and politics.

Natalia Bazaiou

Natalia Bazaiou architect and researcher. Her research interests focus on cities as learning and playful environments, through various narrative techniques. She lives and practices architecture in Athens. On 2015 she co-founded with Anastasia Noukaki and a team of architects, artists, educators, engineers the studio Athensuperscript that creates architectural workshops for kids, participatory design projects & public space interventions. 

Paige Emery

Paige Emery

Paige Emery is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the ecological body and its interaction with the Earth. She is Co-Director at activist and theory group, The Future Left and she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Laguna College of Art & Design.

See more...

Paige Emery

Paige Emery is a multidisciplinary artist exploring the ecological body and its interaction with the Earth. An embodied gardener and environmental activist, she has a daily practice of working with plants and nonhumans.

She is Co-Director at activist and theory group, The Future Left, Researcher at New Centre for Research & Practice, and she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Laguna College of Art & Design.

She currently inhabits Tongva Land in Los Angeles, California.

Sara Grossman

Sara Grossman

Based between London and Berlin, Sara Grossman attended UC Berkeley, majoring in Political Economy. Currently she works with policy think tanks, arts & culture institutions, and the organization Othering & Belonging Institute on equity and justice issues.

See more...

Sara Grossman

I’m the proud product of LA public schools, where I discovered my love of writing, politics, and current affairs. After graduating high school, I attended UC Berkeley, majoring in Political Economy (officially) and journalism (non-officially, but after spending 10 hours a day / six days a week in the newsroom, I think it counts!). Although I planned to become a journalist after graduating (and was lucky to hone my skills as an intern at major media outlets like CNN), my plans changed during senior year when I joined the Othering & Belonging Institute, a then-newly inaugurated think tank at the University of California working on equity and justice issues. Although I started as a student editorial fellow, I have continued to grow with the Institute from my new home(s) in Europe, and now manage major digital campaigns and long-term comms projects for OBI.

In addition to my work with the Institute, I have produced editorial projects for a number of cause-driven organisations in Europe and the UK. During my time in Berlin, I also co-founded Angles, a collective of artists and writers who told stories about the many ways life is lived in the city today. You can still view our work on Instagram.

Valeria Schiller

Valeria Schiller

Valeria Schiller is a Ukrainian curator, art historian and art critic living now in Berlin. Before the war in Ukraine, she taught art history at the Kyiv Academy of Media Arts. Currently, she works at artslooker.com as an editor-in-chief, an online media about contemporary art.

See more...

Valeria Schiller

Valeria Schiller — born 1994. Art historian, curator, author and editor of texts. From 2016 to 2018 she had been working in the archive of the PinchukArtCentre`s Research Platform, in 2019 — as a Junior Curator of the PinchukArtCentre and a Curatorial Team Member at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre. Since 2019 she has been teaching art history at the Kyiv Academy of Media Arts. Currently, she works at the online media about contemporary art artslooker.com as an editor-in-chief.

Vivienne Marquart

Vivienne Marquart

Vivienne Marquart is a social and cultural anthropologist interested in urbanity, migration, and the various forms of memory and remembrance. She gained her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology.

See more...

Vivienne Marquart

Vivienne Marquart is a social and cultural anthropologist interested in urbanity, migration, and the various forms of memory and remembrance. She gained her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, doing research in Istanbul (Turkey) on the construction and contestation of cultural heritage, focusing especially on UNESCO World Heritage.

Yannik Mieruch

Yannik Mieruch

Originally from Germany Yannik Mieruch has been living in Thailand since 2015. He has graduated from Thammasat University with a MA in Social Innovation and Sustainability.

See more...

Yannik Mieruch

Originally from Germany Yannik Mieruch has been living in Thailand since 2015. Graduated from Thammasat University with a MA in Social Innovation and Sustainability, he is interested in critically examining international development and changing labour relations with a particular focus on the impact of digital technology in these areas.

Yasmeen Abdallah

Yasmeen Abdallah

Yasmeen Abdallah is an interdisciplinary artist, independent curator, educator, and activist. Her work is featured in public, private, and traveling collections in the U.S. and abroad. She works with several nonprofits and educational institutions in the arts, education and curatorial sectors.

See more...

Yasmeen Abdallah

Yasmeen Abdallah is an interdisciplinary artist, independent curator, educator, and activist. Her work is featured in public, private, and traveling collections in the U.S. and abroad. Her approach compounds the political and personal, exploring socially-engaged issues and unpacking the complexities entangled within humanity. She works with several nonprofits and educational institutions in the arts, education and curatorial sectors. She graduated magna cum laude with honors from University of Massachusetts in 2013, and received an MFA with distinction from Pratt Institute in 2015. Abdallah has been a visiting artist, guest critic, lecturer, and panelist at Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University Teaching College, Parsons School for Design, Pratt Institute, Fairleigh Dickinson University, University of Massachusetts, Free City Radio, El Barrio Artspace PS109, Art Uncovered, Talking Pictures, Bust Magazine, and Transborder Art.