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“The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it.”

— Richard Bach

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This is our third annual installment of our gratitude post - one of our favorite posts of the year where all of our team members say thanks for place, places, and other things they cherish in their lives. We just want to take this time to thank YOU all for your support, enthusiasm, and openness to a fun, geeky way of creating awesome places people love! We hope to help many more of you in 2019 and spotlight you here! Please SHARE what PLACE you are grateful for below in the comments!! :)

Mariela, here!

All. The. Places.

 Shanghai, my home base from where I get to see SO many places!

Shanghai, my home base from where I get to see SO many places!

Wow, SO much to be grateful for this year! Having logged 104,398 miles on Delta this year (with two more trips left this year and some 15K miles begotten with other airlines - the horror!), I’ve had the fortunate pleasure of visiting a LOT of places this year, both for pleasure and work…24 by my count, and several of those I visited multiple times! Sometimes, I have to pinch myself that I get to help shape places for a living and have the opportunity to be inspired by so many places globally! It’s still heartwarming and humbling to think about where this journey toward State of Place started…As a carless teengager raging against car-dominated places like my hometown of Miami, I’m pretty sure I never thought I’d end up as a global citizen, traveling the world, advocating for better places in my self-deprecatingly, nerdy way. But here I am, 20 years later, with an amazing team (see for yourself below), having helped 23 cities and developers and counting (which cover even more cities than that), use data to make awesome places people LOVE - and are thankful for daily. So thank you to Houston (2X!), West Palm Beach, Metro DC (2X! and covering over 95 places!), Iowa, Metro Boston (covering over 10 places), Tigard, Irvine, Peoria, Westmoreland, Oakland, Stavanger, Oslo, Durham, Zurich, Charlotte (2X!), Sacramento, Northwest Arkansas, Fargo, North Virginia, and Madison County. We have LOVED working with all of you and are so blessed you believed in us and our data-driven citymaking approach to help you get awesome places DONE! We look forward to continuing to grow our Citymaking family and invite any of you interested in joining us on this crazy journey to use data to make places better for all, to share your gratitude for your place and let us know how we can help make it even better! :)

From Michelle, our COO:

Istanbul, Turkey

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Thanksgiving is bittersweet for me because it marks the high of my anniversary with my husband David and the low of the passing of my anneanne (grandmother) Hurrem. Although she hasn’t been with us for the last eight years, I’m grateful for the many fond memories I have of her. As the matriarch of our family, she was the reason I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey many times throughout my life. As I think about the many beautiful memories I have of her, I’m also grateful for her ability to remain independent during her life around her home in the town of Bakirkoy in Istanbul. Although she was functionally illiterate and couldn’t drive a car, she could easily get around Istanbul on foot. Whether she was popping down for fresh simit when she heard the “simitci” calling out that he had Turkish bagels or walking to the bank, hospital, many shops, and restaurants by foot - I’m so grateful for this place. As a tourist, I always enjoy visiting incredible, historical people magnets like Sultanahmet and Taksim and restaurants with views of the Bosphorus dividing Europe and Asia Minor. This week, I’m grateful for this incredible place that will irrevocably be linked to my memories of my anneanne.

From Andy, our CTO:

Europe

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This Thanksgiving I’m truly grateful for the cities of Europe, who have not only opened their arms wide to State of Place but also to me personally. State of Place participated in the Katapult Accelerator in Oslo last spring, and since then I’ve had the delight of spending much of my year in Oslo with a good sprinkling of trips around Norway, twice to Copenhagen, and last week to Paris and Barcelona. I love all of these cities for their rich history but also for their accelerating efforts and successes at being model sustainable and walkable cities. Throughout my career I’ve been able to advocate vastly better urbanism in the US because of my experiences in Europe. As I dedicate more of my years to European—and yes celebrate my first European Thanksgiving—I’m grateful for this ongoing foreign exchange program!

From Kelliann, our Operations Manager & Urban Data Geeks Lab Director:

Walking & State of Place

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for the opportunity to help make it safer for people to walk in the world. In my work as an urban planner, I have had the opportunity to develop multiple visions and plans to enable a better future. While I value the process of visioning, one distinction I am truly grateful for about State of Place is its executability and its capacity to get real, fast - impactfully expediting actual improvements in walkability based on data and evidence. I am especially grateful for this opportunity to shape real places, given my two nephews - 5-1/2 months and 2 years old, with whom I am celebrating Thanksgiving this year. When I look at the world as I walk in it and envision their future on foot, I feel more hopeful as a result of State of Place. The environment in which they will walk can be tailored to cultivate more safety and higher quality experiences where cars are not prioritized over people. I have been a part of a lot of forward-thinking groups who want to create change and improve the walkability of cities in the last 15 years. This year, I feel particularly lucky to be a part of State of Place- a team which I feel has the potential to genuinely change the world and the way people walk in it. As I prepare to travel to my first home city of Houston, from Las Vegas, my current home city, I observe the challenges of walking for all but especially vulnerable populations. I feel very heartened to be working for a team that can enable urban design changes that offer an alternative future - one where walking in the world is as natural, easeful, and safe as it once was.

Walking . . . is how the body measures itself against the earth.

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking

From Devin, our Business Development Intern

Experiencing new walkable places

This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for my experience with State of Place. It marks almost a year since I’ve joined the team, and I’m so lucky to be able to work with such inspiring and passionate people to improve placemaking. Growing up on a busy street without sidewalks, I wasn’t able to easily do a lot of activities that I wanted to, like ride bikes or go for quick stress-relieving jogs. It was difficult to explore the community that I was a part of until I got my license, and even then only had limited use of a family-owned vehicle. Since I’ve left my home for college in Durham (Duke), I’ve been able to enjoy the difference that a walkable place makes on quality of life, which I hope to continue to enjoy wherever I live after graduation. I’m grateful to work on helping to make these great places available to everyone.

Kaustubh, our Visual Machine Learning Specialist & Research Intern

Global communities

This Thanksgiving I am thankful to be a part of this inspiring team, spread across the globe. I get my weekly dose of motivation every Monday morning when I hear them support each other, exchange ideas, and share personal experiences. Even though everyone is in different time zone, they share one driving (ahem, walking) force which is to improve the way of living. I am thankful that I got this opportunity to align my passion for technology with theirs, to make this world a better place. :)