Staff & Board


Our organization is staffed by a core team of professionals supported by a number of dedicated volunteer experts. We often work on projects with other organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area and internationally through our extensive worldwide network of ecocity practitioners.

kirstinnantesKirstin Miller, Executive Director

Kirstin Miller leads the organization’s program development, global initiatives and activities. She works locally and internationally to help cities access ecocity knowledge.  Kirstin works closely in the development of the organization’s “toolbox” of strategies, such as car-free by contract housing, environmental restoration transfer of development rights, centers oriented development, ecological demonstration projects and ecological zoning overlay mapping.

Kirstin specializes in integrating city-based experiences from a diverse range of perspectives. She is an international speaker and presenter on ecocity design, technology, development and citizen participation. Kirstin is also a Board Member of the International Ecocity Conference Series Committee and a jurist for the Katerva Awards.

ac4875fe6f32e0b5fa1ea711291be5ef_largeAshoka Finley, Urbinsight Platform Developer, Projects Facilitator

Ashoka is a creative and dynamic project leader with diverse project management experience and media expertise in developing online presence and visibility through social media platforms. He is successful at innovative technological approaches to community driven engagement related to sustainability and implementation at the local level. He is involved with Urban Tilth as a co-project manager and works with schools and community-based organizations to build a more sustainable, healthy and just food system. Ashoka has a degree in Political Economy from the University of California, Berkeley.

SydneyPhotoSydney Moss, Community Planning 

After completing her bachelor degree in Environmental Science, Sydney moved to Costa Rica to study tropical ecology and complete conservation research on reintroduced Scarlet Macaws. She returned to the U.S. to serve as a community organizer for the 2008 Campaign for Change. Once the elections were over, Sydney shifted her focus back to the environment, working in habitat restoration and environmental education in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2012, Sydney completed a Green Roof Certification course at Yestermorrow Design/Build School. Directly after that program she attended UC Berkeley’s [IN]Land Landscape Architecture Program where she was introduced to Walter Hood and Hypahae Design Lab. Sydney worked as an Assistant to Walter Hood and worked on many exciting landscape designs and art installations at Hood Design before joining the Hypae Design team where she holds the role of Project & Operations Director. She met Kirstin Miller back in her days at Hood Design through the exciting Center Street project and recently joined the Ecocity Builders team as a Project Manager for the Latin American Urbinsight projects.

Dave Ron, PIT Programs Manager

Dave brings expertise drawing from over seven years of project management and research experience in sustainability consulting and energy engineering. He has worked with municipalities, universities, community organizations, and commercial enterprises in renewable energy system deployment, assets and constraints mapping, climate change adaptation, green buildings, district energy planning, energy modelling and analytics. Dave is supporting the pilot city teams in developing strategies and tools for citizen engagement and knowledge transfer through participatory information technologies (PIT).

sven-bike-mural-selfieSven Eberlein, Communications & Community Liaison

Sven is a writer and whole systems thinker whose work has been published in YES! Magazine, Shareable, Alternet, and many others. As a member of Ecocity Builders’ communications team and the IEFS core advisory committee, he has been intimately involved in the advancement of ecologically healthy cities for quite some time. His natural affinity for car-free living, however, dates all the way back to his first tricycle ride down the middle of a city street in his native Germany. When he’s not cooking up new stories for Ecocities Emerging or fine-tuning the Ecocitizen World Map Project‘s website, Sven can be found wandering around his multicultural San Francisco neighborhood in search of new murals, tasty street food, and unicyclists in leotards. He blogs and tweets as if life didn’t depend on it.

Holly en San TelmoHolly Pearson, City Planning 

Holly Pearson is an urban planner specializing in local strategies to promote sustainability, with an interest in cities in the U.S. as well as in the global south. She has worked for the City of Vancouver, BC on both land use planning and the creation of a city-wide plan for social development. In 2005 Holly was awarded a grant to work for six months with Fundación Biosfera, an environmental organization in Argentina, on the devlopment of a municipal climate action program in the city of La Plata.  At home in the Bay Area, Holly has worked as a planner for the Cities of Oakland and San Francisco, California. She holds a master’s degree in Planning and a professional certificate in International Development from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Naomi Grunditz, Outreachnaomi

Naomi along with Sven Eberlein manages Ecocity Builders’ online and print media. She is a submission reviewer and planner for the Ecocity World Summits. Naomi has a degree in Sociology and Urban Studies from Yale University. She previously interned with SPUR. In the private sector Naomi has been involved with the development of online curriculum to support mental health and wellness. She is interested in the intersection of the built and social environments and experiential aspects of the city.

marcoMarco Vangelisti, Ecocity Economics

Marco studied theoretical math (algebra, logic and topology) and applied math (statistics, operations research and theory of programming language design) at the University of Padova in Italy. He obtained an MBA from the school “Enrico Mattei” in Milan. He was a Fulbright scholar in mathematics and economics at the University of California in Berkeley. Marco worked for 11 years at BARRA in Berkeley – a think tank developing statistical risk models for equity and fixed income markets around the world. He worked as visual artist on a full-time basis for 5 years. Marco obtained a MFA focusing on the intersection between public art and ecology. He later worked for 6 years managing investment equity portfolios primarily on behalf of large foundations and endowments. Marco left the corporate world in April 2009 and is currently studying permaculture design and system theory. He is a Soil Trust Advisor and founding member of Slow Money.

smith_final_1Richard Smith, Project Associate, Researcher

Rick is an assistant professor at the Wayne State University School of Social Work where he teaches community building and development and social policy. He does research on poverty, inequality, migration, and the impact of sustainable community development initiatives. The Association for Community Organization and Social Administration awarded him the 2013 Emerging Scholar Award. Prior to his involvement with Ecocity Builders, he served as a Presidential Management Intern at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and US Agency for International Development. Smith also served in Peace Corps Mongolia, managed the Spring Institute English Language Center and consulted with the World Bank, UNDP and UNICEF. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, University of Michigan and Western Michigan University.

Scott Allen, GISPscott_allen, GIS Specialist  

Scott brings over seven years of combined experience managing projects, developing enterprise geographic information systems and producing maps for government agencies and NGOs. His works have been published by the American Geophysical Union, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, and the Journal of Archaeological Science. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Urban Regional Planning at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Scott has supported the Ecocitizen World Map Project by helping design and manage the enterprise geographic information system which houses geospatial data provided by municipalities and collected in the field. He has also
been involved with creating webmaps to display this data in an open, online environment.

Rania R. Ahmed, Urban Planning and GIS Associate

Rania holds a B.Sc. in Urban Planning from Cairo University and is an alumnus of Wellesley College 2012 summer institute of the Women in Public Service. Currently she is completing her Master of Arts in Urban Affairs from the University of San Francisco with a focus on Urban Food Policy. She has worked as a planner at the Ministry of Housing in Egypt and the Institut De Recherché Pour le Développement (IRD). Rania has consulted for international organizations (UN-Habitat) and served on the Board of the Village Residents’ Association in the UC Berkeley Family Students Housing. Rania is joining the EcoCitizen World Map Project team to work on data management/GIS workflow.

ecocity bioPetra Katona, Ecocity Research Group Intern

Petra is a Hungarian master student living in the Netherlands. Since she studies in a highly flood prone country which is largely under sea level, she is quite aware of environmental concerns in big cities. She has a degree in Engineering Management and Regional and Environmental Economic Studies. She currently studies Water Science and Management at graduate level at one of the most prominent Dutch universities, her focus is mainly on urban water cycle management. Due to an Ecocity Builders workshop, she recently works as an intern to support the EcoCompass Wiki research group.

10440691_732212923498743_1533253263364791786_nSiqi Huang, Ecocity Intern

I am currently a junior at University of California, Berkeley. I am double majoring in Environmental Economics and Society & Environment. Meanwhile, I am very interested in sustainable city planning. I grew up in a city called Hangzhou in China, and I came to the United States to study since high school. I enjoy interning at NGOs and I will continue doing it for the next two years.

max-heimMax Heim, Webmaster

Max Heim developed the original design identity for Ecocity Builders’ including the website for Ecocity World Summit 2008, and Green City Visions (Ecocity Builders’ 2005 conference for World Environment Day). Max is a Principal with Studio L’Image, a collaborative creative studio.


Board of Directors

Steven f30130ecdc91418d953d487ecc894242Bercu, Esq., Board President and Secretary

Mr Bercu is a practicing attorney and CEO of Lime, llc., lawyers for interactive media. He is a Director of the Helen and William Mazer Foundation and a former Director for Business and Legal Affairs for Atari, Inc. Steve is an enthusiastic bicyclist and does pro bono legal work through Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and Creative Capital specializing in intellectual property rights. His foundation has been important in supporting Ecocity Builders’ major San Francisco 7th International Ecocity Conference, redesign of Berkeley’s major downtown street link from the regional transit system to the University of California and the Ecocity Builders’ International Framework and Standards currently in development for assessing and helping guide cities’ progress toward higher levels of accomplishment in the quest for urban sustainability, health and cultural vitality.

RickRick Pruetz, FAICP, Vice President

Mr Pruetz is former Planning Director of Burbank, California. He is the foremost national expert on transfer of development rights (TDR) and is a planning consultant specializing in TDR and author of “Saved by Development – Preserving Environmental Areas, Farmlands and Historic Landmarks with Transfer of Development Rights.” Background for his new book, “Lasting Value – Open Space Planning and Preservation’s Successes” and motivation for his efforts to transform the cities and rural areas he works with is to prevent what he calls “country-cide,” as more than one million acres of United States rural land is paved and built upon for development.  His website at dedicated to open space preservation news is a respected source in the field.

3a8f5b4Kirstin Miller

Kirstin is Executive Director for Ecocity Builders, where she leads the organization’s program development, global initiatives and activities. She is an international speaker and presenter on ecocity design, technology, development and citizen participation. Kirstin is a Board Member of the International Ecocity Conference Series Committee and a jurist for the Katerva Awards. Her specialties include international project design and development, speaking, teaching, facilitation, organization, concept development, and innovation.

stein_blogJeff Stein, AIA

Mr Stein is former Dean of Architecture at the Boston Architecture College and before that a professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology. He also taught at Technicum Winterthur, Zurich, and Ecole d’Architecture Languedoc-Rousillon, Montpellier, France. Mr. Stein is currently President of the Cosanti Foundation, building Arcosanti, Arizona, and keeper of Paolo Soleri’s architectural and philosophical legacy. Mr. Stein lectures internationally and presents on special invitations such as Keynote at the 100th Anniversary Conference celebrating the founding of Tel-Aviv, Israel. Jeff lives and works at Arcosanti.


Joan Bokaer
Jose Campos
Clifford Bowman
Fritjof Capra
Jorge Gonsalez-Claveran
John Cobb
Serigne Mbaye Diene
Paul Downton
Len Duhl
Sven Eberlien
Gil Friend
Peter Harnik
Paul Hawken
Hazel Henderson
Cherie Hoyle
Huey Johnson
Andy Likuski
Jan Lundberg
V. Setty Pendakur
Deborah and Frank Popper
Roger Pritchard
Gar Smith
Georgi Stoilov
David Suzuki
Brian Swimme
Mary Evelyn Tucker
Sim Van der Ryn