"Poverty simulation can start a mind shift that allows us to find holistic solutions from a place of understanding rather than good-intentioned assumptions."

Future 50 Class of 2020

Kerstin Carr

Director, planning and sustainability, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

About: Kerstin Carr helped develop the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s Insight2050 initiative, stoking a regional conversation across sectors about how communities should be built as population grows and needs shift dramatically.

Carr also led an effort called Central Ohio Greenways. Over a two-year period, the Greenways board met with every jurisdiction in a seven-county area to identify existing trails and map proposed trails. This resulted in a Regional Trail Vision to expand the existing 230-mile network to more than 700 miles in the next few decades.

Carr’s more recent endeavor is to identify solutions to the affordable housing crisis with innovative policy and investment strategies.

Outside of work: Carr is a 2019 Leadership Columbus graduate and chair of the Neighborhood Design Center and Scenario Planning Consortium. She is co-founder of Think Outside Boxes, a program to get more kids outside and away from screens.

50 ideas to move the region forward. Here's who else is in the Future 50 Class of 2020.

What does Columbus need to thrive? “We were rated as one of the most economically segregated cities in the U.S. with a 16 percent poverty rate in Franklin County. That accounts for the most vulnerable population, but not the many more residents who are underemployed and/or underpaid. To thrive, we need to make sure we take care of those who don’t have the time and resources to fight for better schools, transportation options or more connected neighborhoods.”

Carr’s idea: “To work with United Way to take their poverty simulation training on the road to public and corporate leaders, including the Columbus Partnership. High-level executives likely won’t have the time for full immersion, but the short two-hour poverty simulation can start a mind shift that allows us to find holistic solutions from a place of understanding rather than good-intentioned assumptions.”

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