Building communities that get better with age

10:30-11:30 am. Day 2


Panelists:  Jeff Schnurr, John Leroux,  Taeyon Kim, Charles Marohn


Facilitator:  Gracen Johnson

Picture your neighbourhood in 50 years. Has it improved or hollowed out and deteriorated? Why? What are the actions, principles, and attitudes we can adopt to create regenerative communities that are constantly abounding with new life? In this panel, we'll be discussing the underlying approach of towns and cities that are built to last.


Gracen Johnson is a communications designer living in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Though she finished her MPhil in Planning, Growth, and Regeneration in 2013 at the University of Cambridge, she has never stopped studying the city.


Gracen thinks of her day-to-day as participatory action research, diving into the question of how the efforts of good neighbours can transform a city. She wears many hats trying to crack that nut herself, including as the designer and coordinator of an accelerator for small businesses that build community. She also freelances around the vision of "Projects for Places we Love" and has a video blog called Another Place for Me.


Gracen Johnson

Charles Marohn

Charles Marohn - known as "Chuck" to friends and colleagues - is a Professional Engineer (PE) licensed in the State of Minnesota and a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). He has a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology and a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute.

He is the author of Thoughts on Building Strong Towns (Volume 1), the primary author of the Strong Towns Blog and the host of the Strong Towns Podcast and See it Differently TV.

Chuck grew up on a small farm in Central Minnesota. The oldest of three sons of two elementary school teachers, he graduated from Brainerd High School in 1991. Chuck joined the Minnesota National Guard on his 17th birthday during his junior year of high school and served for nine years. Besides being passionate about planning and small towns, he loves playing music, is an obsessive reader and is a season ticket holder of the Minnesota Twins.

Chuck and his wife live with their two daughters and two Samoyeds just north of Baxter, Minnesota

John Leroux

Architect, artist and art historian John Leroux takes a holistic view of his profession, seeing beyond buildings themselves into the cultural, intellectual and physical landscapes to which they contribute. Born in Fredericton, Leroux graduated from the McGill School of Architecture in 1994 and completed a Masters degree in Canadian Art History at Concordia University in 2002. Over the past two decades, he has worked at several award-winning architecture firms in Toronto, Atlanta and Fredericton. In 2012 he was a team member whose work was selected to represent Canada at the prestigious Venice Biennale in Architecture in Venice, Italy.


He has won many awards for architectural and public art projects throughout Canada, he has worked on set design for Theatre New Brunswick, and has taught at UNB, St. Thomas University and the New Brunswick College of Craft & Design. A contributing architecture columnist for the Telegraph-Journal and Canadian Architect magazine, he is also the author of six books on New Brunswick architecture, including Building New Brunswick: an architectural history, St. Andrews Architecture: 1604-1966 and most recently Glorious Light: the stained glass of Fredericton. John has been honoured with grants and awards from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the New Brunswick Arts Board, and the City of Toronto Public Art Commission. In 2008 he curated and designed the landmark exhibition “Building New Brunswick” at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Jeff Schnurr is a social entrepreneur that works to help rural communities achieve economic prosperity through sustainable innovation. As the founder and Executive Director of Community Forests International, Jeff has empowered rural communities in Tanzania to plant over a million trees, grow food, harvest rainwater and power households through solar energy. In New Brunswick, Jeff is developing a rural “hacker space” for farming, forestry and alternative energy.

In addition to his work at CFI, Jeff is the founder of CFC Inc, a sustainable forestry company and Jaza Energy Inc, a solar energy outfit. Jeff has been named one of Canada’s top ten volunteers by the CBC and Manulife, and was named one of Explore Magazine’s Top 30 under 30.

Jeff Schnurr

Taeyon has spent the last ten years working on various community projects in her neighborhood and beyond. She strives to create public spaces that are people-centered, child-friendly, and community-engaging; her primary motivation has been the desire to create a place and a community where her children can play freely, openly and safely.


She is Constituency Coordinator for David Coon, MLA for Fredericton South. She hopes that through the Constituency Office and with David's collaboration and guidance, these community-building and engaging projects can move to a new, larger and more inclusive level.


Taeyon Kim

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