City Systems, Fringes and a New Blogger
Jonna McKone, the newest full-time blogger for TheCityFix, started the Yellow Bike Club bikesharing program at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

Jonna McKone, the newest full-time blogger for TheCityFix, started the Yellow Bike Club bikesharing program at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

As TheCityFix’s newest full-time blogger, I’m excited to have the opportunity to write about transportation and city issues. I became interested in sustainability growing up in the Washington, D.C. area, where I advocated for climate change policy as a high school student.  And I’ve been involved in sustainable development issues since then.

During my undergraduate career at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, I started a bike share program and worked with campus dining services to improve sourcing of local and fair trade foods.  I also held a summer position with the Town Planning Department in Brunswick to map greenspace and conduct surveys for the development of a rural bus route.  When I returned from studying abroad in 2006 in Kalimpong, a small city in the northwestern corner of India, I was increasingly interested in food systems and food access as well as how planning applies in megacities. My particular focus for an independent study was India: migration issues, untouchables, slums and public space. I plan to write about these issues more.

Following the bike rules in downtown Washington, DC.

Jonna McKone, following the bike rules in downtown Washington, D.C.

Following graduation, I worked in New York City for City Harvest, a food rescue and advocacy organization, where I developed an assessment focusing on food access and nutrition in a low-income neighborhood in Staten Island.  Much of my research was centered on urban planning, as the community consists of extremely dense public housing projects and a large refugee and immigrant population, surrounded by suburbs – an urban community within a suburban landscape. The area also has limited bus transportation that made access to grocery stores and services limited for residents. (Check out a previous posts on TheCityFix about these so-called “food deserts.”)  Seeing how poor planning affects public health, nutrition and overall quality of life through research and in-depth conversations with residents furthered my interest in inclusive planning and transportation.

Before working with EMBARQ, the producer of this blog, I worked with the local NPR affiliate in Washington, D.C. , WAMU 88.5, blogging, posting and publishing multimedia content.   My interests and skills are in communications, journalism and research. My focus is on food systems (and systems-level issues, in general), transportation, urban design that incorporates city fringes and low-income populations, and engaging a broad spectrum of people in a dialogue on these issues. For the blog, I’d like to write about cities in this country, particularly border cities and New Orleans (where I’ve done some volunteer work), but I am also excited to focus on international areas. I plan to write about cities in flux, slums, migration, and how regional transportation systems impact quality of life and access to goods and services. I’ve spent time in cities in India, Peru, Turkey, Israel, Bulgaria and rural Northern Mexico and am excited to explore new urban initiatives in these regions and beyond, hopefully giving voice to a diversity of issues.

Also, if you have any ideas or suggestions for topics, especially those that are under-represented , please send me an email or contact me through TheCityFix Social. I look forward to hearing your feedback and sharing my insights and perspectives.

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