Center for a Sustainable Environment | Illinois


Majora Carter


Home(town) Security
Majora Carter

Thursday, April 19th
NCSA Auditorium




Majora Carter redefined the field of environmental equality, starting in the South Bronx at the turn of the century.  Now she is leading the local economic development movement across the USA.  Home(town) Security is Majora's latest endeavor to disrupt the status quo. 

She is producer and host of the Peabody Award winning public radio series, The Promised Land – heard on over 120 station across America, and serves on the Boards of the US Green Building Council and The Wilderness Society. From 2001 to 2008 she was Executive Director of the non-profit she founded: Sustainable South Bronx – where she pioneered green-collar job training and placement systems in one of the most environmentally and economically challenged parts of the US. This MacArthur “genius” Fellow is now president of her own economic consulting firm.

Majora is the  visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens, coining the term: "Green the ghetto."  The South Bronx native draws a direct connection between ecological, economic and social degradation. Hence her motto: 

With her inspired ideas and persistence, Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first open-waterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Then she scored $1.25 million in federal planning funds for the South Bronx Greenway which went on to secure $50M in first phase construction projects now underway.  This project brings green-infrastructure for storm water management, more open space, pedestrian and bike paths, and space for mixed-use economic development.

Her success is no surprise to anyone who's seen her speak; Carter's confidence, energy and intensely emotional delivery make her talks themselves a force of nature. (The release of her TEDTalk in 2006 prompted Guy Kawasaki to wonder on his blog whether she wasn't "every bit as good as [Apple CEO] Steve Jobs," a legendary presenter.)

Carter, who was awarded a 2005 MacArthur "genius" grant, served as executive director of Sustainable South Bronx for 7 years, where she demonstrated both for eco-friendly practices (such as green and cool roofs) and job training and green-related economic development for her vibrant neighborhood on the rise.  These efforts were leveraged to pass policies and legislation that fueled demand for those jobs and improved the lives of  all New Yorkers.

Since leaving SSBx in 2008, Carter has led the economic consulting and planning firm the Majora Carter Group, to bring her pioneering approach to foundations, universities, municipalities and economically underperforming communities far outside the South Bronx. 


Sponsored by:
Office of Sustainability, Department of Architecture, Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Systems Program (CEE), Action Research Illinois, Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Department of Geography, School of Earth, Society and the Environment, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Social Dimensions of Environmental Policy, College of Business, Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Office of the Provost, I-TOPP Project, College of Engineering, College of ACES, Students for Environmental Concerns (SECS), Student Organization Resource Fee (SORF), Equal Opportunity and Access, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) , Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL), College of LAS, Center for Advanced Study, Prairie Research Institute, and ICHASS.

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