Opening Ceremony and Welcome – “The Story of Place” (8:00am-9:00am)

Today we face challenges in how we design and use our cities to support safe mobility, thriving economies, and the physical, mental and social well-being of all community members. This panel will look at some of the ways we can design our public space, engage our communities, and prepare for the towns of tomorrow.

About our Speakers

Urban Designer Mukul Malhotra develops innovative solutions for the new American City.  As a Principal at MIG, Inc., his award-winning designs have created thriving downtowns and historic districts as well as livable new communities and university campuses. His work has inspired urban revitalization, multimodal connectivity, sustainability, community inclusivity, and preservation of historic and neighborhood character. He is co-author of Streets Reconsidered: Inclusive Design for the Public Realm. He currently serves as President of America Walks – a national organization that is committed to increasing walking and walkability in America.

Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika W. Roberts leads Columbus Public Health and a team of nearly 500 public health professionals who are focused on neighborhood-based approaches that address the social determinants of health,  from safe, affordable housing and education to jobs and violent crime, in order to decrease the health disparities that exist.

Dr. Roberts has a prolific 18-year public health background at the local, state and national levels. Prior to her appointment as Health Commissioner in December 2017, she was the Medical Director and Assistant Health Commissioner at Columbus Public Health. She also built a solid foundation in public health early in her career by investigating outbreaks in Ohio for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and leading an STD clinic and hepatitis prevention efforts at the Baltimore City Health Department.

Dr. Roberts extends her service to the community beyond the walls of Columbus Public Health where she is active on several boards, including the Columbus Medical Association Foundation, YWCA of Columbus and the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, as well as the Lifeline of Ohio Minority Advisory Group and OhioHealth’s Faith, Culture and Community Benefit Committee. She also serves as a mentor in OhioHealth’s Physician Diversity Scholars Program.

She earned her MD from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and her MPH from the University of Michigan.

A native of Los Angeles, she now calls Columbus home and enjoys spending down time with her husband Edward and their dogs Cosby and Rudy.

Jim Sweeney, a lifelong Columbus resident, became Executive Director of the Franklinton Development Association Community Development Corporation in 2002, one year before the completion of the Franklinton floodwall. In his 14 years in that role Jim led the effort to revitalize Franklinton through creation of over 150 affordable housing units, various community building activities including founding the Franklinton Arts District, and aggressive neighborhood advocacy on all levels. Jim moved Franklinton, aka “The Bottoms”, to the center of the discussion about central-Ohio development. He built consensus around the revitalization of East Franklinton as an arts destination, an initiative which gained support of city hall and has now begun the path to reality.  Jim is active on several boards including the Columbus Landmarks Foundation and the Franklinton Arts District.

He current operates as Sweeney & Associates, a neighborhood revitalization/creative community consultancy. The firm draws on the talents that established Franklinton as an arts destination. Services include revitalization planning, creative placemaking, and “making” a makerspace.