Places for People

There’s nothing better than seeing people enjoy their public spaces. Community activities of all types can be used to encourage physical activity, social engagement, and mental well-being.


About the Panel

Dr. Tom Schmid is Senior Advisor in the Physical Activity and Health Branch in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, CDC. He serves as the CDC technical advisor to America Walks the nation’s premiere walking advocacy and action organization, to PAPREN, a consortium of university-based policy researchers and as a consultant to the Physical Activity Research Center (PARC), a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded effort to identify effective strategies to promote physical activity in poor and underserved minority youth in rural and other communities.

Mark Vogl is a project manager for planning at Great Rivers Greenway where he collaborates with district staff to expand the River Ring, a planned 600-mile system of parks, trails and greenways that will interconnect the St. Louis region. With a background in urban planning and landscape architecture, Mark is responsible for overseeing the planning and design of greenway projects within the District’s master plan. Prior to joining the district in 2013, Mark spent nearly twenty years with HOK and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama. He studied Urban Design at Washington University and received a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University.

Aaron Williams is a community developer and organizer in The Ville neighborhood of St. Louis where he serves on the board of the neighborhood community development corporation Northside Community Housing, Inc. and as a co-founder of 4theVille, a community-based tourism and arts organization. Through these organizations, he has developed several initiatives that emphasize community empowerment and community ownership of public spaces. Two of the more popular initiatives include Northside Trap Run, a hip-hop themed 5K that promotes healthy lifestyles and a healthy north St. Louis, and, The Heart of The Ville walking tours, historic tours that educate attendees about the legacy of the neighborhood while promoting more foot traffic.