Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Hire the Urbanophile

I’m taking a brief departure from my normal routine of providing absolutely free urbanist analysis for a brief commercial message. If you are interested in supporting the mission of the Urbanophile and keeping it a viable platform for serious urbanist discussion in a way that also adds a lot of value to your organization, there are a number of ways you can do so.

1. Book me to speak at your event. Unlike many speakers, I don’t like to do the same canned presentation I do for everyone else. I like to first be sure I can contribute something very compelling to your audience, then work with you to craft something that is very directly addressed to the core concerns of your organization or event. As you know from this site, I go far beyond the conventional wisdom in search of unique, innovative, and compelling insights I can deliver to you.

2. Hire me for a consulting project. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an urban planner. And I’m not a substitute for a prime consultant on complicated undertakings. However, I am able to provide analysis and insight that you are just not going to be able to get from more traditional firms. This is especially true in the areas of brand positioning, articulating a public policy rationale or narrative to help anchor particular projects into a larger framework to help position them with the public, and various competitive or comparative analytics.

3. Sponsor this site. I’m evaluating sponsorship models for the site, so if your organization might be interested in a sponsorship, I’d love to talk with you to discuss what that might look like.

4. Hire me into a full time position. I mentioned before I plan to move to NYC. This has been a slower process than I’d like thanks to the real estate market in Chicago. But I am open to and interested in potentially going back to a full time staff position on making the move there. And if the right position were there I would make the move even before selling my Chicago place. So please reach out if you might be interested in hiring me into an NYC based position. Beyond my urbanism work which you know through this site, I’m also a top flight technologist and manager of technology. (I have a heavily tech oriented resume available for download).

For any and all of these (or other ideas you yourself might have about how I might be able to help you), please email me at For those who would like to know more about me and haven’t read it, you can check out my online bio.

Thank you for your readership and support.


11 Responses to “Hire the Urbanophile”

  1. the urban politician says:


    I’m sorry but I have to come right out and say it:

    I’m pretty disappointed that you are moving to New York City. Frankly, I think this says a lot about you. Instead of the “innovative thinker” about cities, you are on a path towards being “more of the same”. The last thing we are going to need is yet another New Yorker analyzing the rest of America, all the while praising their (usually adopted) hometown. You already seem to have gotten the bug, judging by the tone of many of your recent posts.

    And here I was hoping you were actually different from the crowd.

  2. For Aaron, how is moving to NYC any different than living in Chicago? He isn’t from Chicago – he is from a small small town along the Ohio River close to Louisville. There is absolutely nothing wrong with living in a place that you are inspired by. Best of luck Aaron. Lets meet up sometime once you have your feet on the ground on the east coast.

  3. the urban politician says:

    It’s different because the focus of his blog has often been on ‘the oft overlooked cities of the midwest’.

    It’s kind of hard to do that from Manhattan.

    I know, I lived there. It is very tempting to look down one’s nose at other places when living in New York, often unwittingly. Chicago is different–it is still tied in many ways to the midwest. You still somehow keep a sense of your roots in Chicago. In New York it’s a different feeling–you feel like you’ve joined a global community and that you’ve shed any sort of parochial identity you once had.

    It’s interesting, because some of the best observations about America & its culture have come from Chicago, not New York. We’ll see if Aaron can keep his perspective in tune.

  4. TUP, I’m moving to New York for three basic reasons:

    1. I’ve been in Chicago on and off since 1992. Moving here was a hugely transformational event in my life, but at this point, I’ve basically “done Chicago” and am a bit stale here. I am in need of new experiences to keep growing.

    2. The intellectual networks and engagement, especially around urbanism, are vastly higher in NYC than in Chicago. I really don’t get to have that many conversations locally that stimulate me or give me new perspectives on cities. I have to get that from out of town. (This is true in many fields).

    3. There aren’t many engaging professional (or even non-professional) opportunities at hand in Chicago other than basic IT work. I already do almost all of my work out of town. And I don’t see that changing. I could perhaps change thing with some effort, but if I’m going to invest that effort, I’m going to do it in America’s #1 city, not here.

    Having said that, I’m not so wedded to the idea of moving to NYC that if interesting opportunities arose in Chicago or elsewhere I wouldn’t be open to them. So who knows?

  5. the urban politician says:

    “I really don’t get to have that many conversations locally that stimulate me or give me new perspectives on cities.”

    ^ Funny that you mention that, because you started and established this successful and far-reaching urbanist blog living in a condo in Lakeview, not some pad in Greenwich Village. And to be honest, for all we know if you had lived in New York this whole time, you may never have started “the urbanophile”.

    With condescending statements like the above, looks like you’ve already settled into your new home (now you just need a job and an apartment).

    Listen, I think it’s great to grow and move to new places, and there are a million reasons to move to New York. I loved living there, and I wish you the best. I just hope you don’t turn around and start diminishing the places you came from once you get established there, because you’ll meet a lot of shallow and forgettable tools in New York doing things like that..

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m an urban planner by training but not by practice – sort of the inverse of you, Aaron! I’ve always enjoyed the fact that you focused on the Midwest, since I’m from the other region of the country that’s unfairly maligned by the coastal set – i.e., the Deep South. So I’m a bit saddened as well to hear of your plans to move to NYC, partly because I worry about a shift in focus, and partly because I think Chicago is a more livable city in many ways. But best of luck to you regardless of where you may go.

  7. Chris Barnett says:

    TUP, funny. Those in the Midwest metros NOT named Chicago may get the sense that folks from Chicago are looking down their noses at us.

    Aaron runs with a world-citizen crowd these days. I, for one, earnestly and honestly wish him well. It is always nice to see a friend become well-known and maximize his opportunities.

  8. Chris says:

    Geez, tough crowd!

    The added perspective afforded by relocating will only enrich Aaron’s work and this site, and make it even better for those of us who enjoy reading it.

  9. JeffG says:

    For a guy who lived in Indianapolis, IN (now Muncie IN where I was recently hired by the hospital) the early days of the blog were eye-opening with its perspective on two cities (Indy & Chicago) that are in very different leagues on the national and world stage separated by only <200 miles. The writing has evolved considerably since and probalby has become more relevant to those in policy making, business, and activism on a national scene.

    It's a bit prejudice to assume Urbanophile's writing will become "more of the same" by merely living in New York City. The work certainly supports urbanism but honestly challenges contemporary urbanist ideas that threaten economic growth. Agree or disagree much of it is interesting.

    Living recently in a small (80 – 90k) struggling rust belt city, there is a need for those who can speak to a those in traditionally conservative community on how to avoid becoming exinct and obsolete. I wish the money and wisdom existed in my new adopted city to pay someone of Renn's cut on how to generate new cultural and economic growth.

  10. Bill says:

    Hi Aaron,

    Consider renting your Chicago place (if your association allows it). My wife and I recently relocated to Vancouver and we’re renting out our River West loft. We found renters in one day on Craigslist. With luck maybe they’ll even want to buy it from us in a few years, but in the meantime the mortgage is covered..

    And thank you for this amazing thought-provoking blog!

The Urban State of Mind: Meditations on the City is the first Urbanophile e-book, featuring provocative essays on the key issues facing our cities, including innovation, talent attraction and brain drain, global soft power, sustainability, economic development, and localism. Included are 28 carefully curated essays out of nearly 1,200 posts in the first seven years of the Urbanophile, plus 9 original pieces. It's great for anyone who cares about our cities.

About the Urbanophile


Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.

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