CNU MIDWEST Welcomes New Board Members
CNU Midwest recently elected five new board members: Arin Blair, Phil Holoubek, Matt Ireton, Miranda Micire, and Max Upton.
Our board is now the most regionally representative it’s ever been. Since ours is an all-volunteer organization, board members work hard to communicate and invigorate all year long. We are all passionate urbanists with diverse professional and personal backgrounds.
We asked our new board members why they were interested in becoming members of the CNU Midwest Board. Here are two of their stories.
Arin Blair, AICP is a certified urban and regional planner currently serving as Chief Planner for the City of Sandusky, Ohio. In her previous role as a consultant in landscape architecture, urban design, and planning practice, Arin led the planning, urban design, and community engagement projects across Ohio and the Midwest. Her speaking experience includes the conferences of APA National, APA Ohio, APA Central Ohio, SORP National Outdoor Recreation, Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, and MORPC Bike Week. Arin holds a Bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in Anthropology and a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from The Ohio State University.
Arin’s CNU Story
I am very excited to join the board of CNU Midwest and take part in expanding the membership and messages of CNU in the Midwest. The Principles of New Urbanism have always guided my work as a planning professional but this is the first time I will have the opportunity to get involved in the organization. As a frequent organizer and attendee of American Planning Association (APA) activities (and former board member of Central Ohio APA), I believe the networks of new urbanist planners and thinkers in the Midwest are more connected than we realize. I hope I can help CNU Midwest tap into and unite these networks to strengthen conversations across audiences, increase the knowledge of individual practitioners, and expand the positive impact of our work across the Midwest.
Planning policy and the design of the built environment have crucial parts to play in ensuring the best possible outcomes in our communities. Today, more than ever, Americans are asking tough questions:
· What are the components of a sustainable and resilient community?
· What are contributing factors to individual physical, mental, and emotional health—and how do they interplay to impact broader public health?
· How do we work together to create a policy that reaches Americans equitability and dismantles systems of oppression?
· Who is responsible for combating global phenomena such as climate change that affect all of us in different ways?
At its core, CNU promotes walkable, affordable, resilient, connected communities. These are the spaces and places capable of nurturing the individuals and conversations that will lead us to solutions for these complex problems. I am pleased to be part of an organization taking on such important work.
Miranda Micire graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a dual Masters in Social Work focused on Community Organizing and Social Action and Masters in Public Administration with a focus on Public Administration in 2019. She graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2016.
Miranda currently works at the Urban Redevelopment Authority as the Neighborhood Business District Outreach Analyst. Through this role, Miranda supports neighborhood business districts
through outreach, grant funding, and facade improvements. Miranda believes neighborhood business districts are the backbone of communities and is passionate about building a sense of community and vitality in these spaces. In 2020, Miranda started a small-scale, community-focused real estate development company, HeyDay Development, LLC. HeyDay is focused on real estate for the greater good and incorporates sustainability, affordability, and community in all its efforts.
Miranda also serves as the Board Chair of Civically, Inc, a non-profit focused on community development located in Wilkinsburg, PA. In her free time, Miranda enjoys spending time with her two rescue dogs, Bandit and Lulu, and exploring different neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.
Miranda’s CNU Story
I came across CNU in Graduate School and was motivated by the charter and the values. As I was
starting developing an idea for starting a small-scale development company, focusing on renovating
vacant and underutilized multi-family housing in Pittsburgh, I decided I wanted to get more involved
with CNU. I strongly believe in the mission and values of the Congress for the New Urbanism organization and am thrilled to be a part of it. I am in the early stages of my career, and I am excited to grow as a professional and as an urbanist. I have since started my company, HeyDay Development, and last year we purchased and renovated a duplex and triplex.
I work for my citys economic development authority focusing on main street and neighborhood
business districts and I truly value the connections and community being a part of CNU provides.
Max Upton is an experienced Urban Planning and Economic Development practitioner holding various positions in the Federal, County, Local, Private and Non-Profit sectors in addition to being a combat veteran of the Afghanistan war. He currently serves as the Director of Building, Housing, and Planning for the City of Lorain, the 9th Largest City in the State of Ohio, where he oversees all of the Planning, Community, and Economic Development activities of the City. Prior to that, he served as the Director of Economic Development for MidTown Cleveland Inc., a community and economic development non-profit in Cleveland, Ohio.
Throughout his career, Max has amassed a real estate and economic development portfolio in excess of $250 million dollars consisting of office, industrial and multi-family assets. In addition to his professional full-time roles, Max served as an Adjunct Professor at Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. He has taught courses related to economic development, finance, and issues local economic development practitioner wrestle with. He also serves on the Board of the Valor Home, a transitional housing non-profit serving homeless Veterans, and he was recently nominated to serve on the Executive Board of the Ohio Conference of Community Development.
Max’s CNU Story
I was very humbled and excited to join the CNU Midwest board. As an economic development practitioner and urbanist, there are often competing interests in project proposals and having a group of dedicated urbanists to share best practices and thought partnership is very exciting. In the context of shrinking cities and the Rust Belt (generally speaking) places matter. As the workplace has changed during the pandemic it is becoming more apparent that the workforce is fluid and increasingly remote. This presents an incredible opportunity for legacy Cities of the Midwest to assert their positions as the authentic, connected places that they are.
As part of the “new” generation of planning and development, we are tasked with questioning existing power dynamics that have created an inherently inequitable society. The mission and vision of CNU are immersed in this work, asking questions about what makes an equitable community? How do current practices uphold oppressive and racist patterns of development? How can we ensure that the levers of power, for the first time, bend in ways that aren’t just about wealth creation but also take into account sustainability, equity, access, and opportunities for all of us?