Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban sustainability strategist and writer. As publisher of The Urbanophile, a leading national urban affairs blog focused on the Midwest, he has honed a critical eye toward the how Midwestern and American cities thrive and find sustainable success in a 21st century that will be very different from the 20th.
On his blog and elsewhere, he offers innovative, focused strategies for urban sustainability found nowhere else on the web in areas including architecture and design, arts and culture, civic branding, demographic analysis, economic development, globalism, historic preservation, land use, public policy, regionalism, strategic planning, talent attraction, technology, tourism, transportation, and urban culture. His ideas have been featured numerous times in Midwestern and national news media.
In March 2009, he was honored in a front-page story by the Chicago Tribune for winning first-prize in a Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce-sponsored contest to identify ways of increasing transit Chicago transit ridership to 1 billion while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
No stranger to the Internet or urban issues, in 1998 he launched one of the nation's first blogs, The Weekly Breakdown, to monitor Chicago Transit Authority service. He is also a longtime supporter of free and open-source software, and co-founded the GNU Classpath project that created the first open source Java runtime library and the gzip Recovery Toolkit, a package for recovering data from corrupted gzip archives.
A native of Laconia, Indiana, a town of 29 people along the Ohio River, he grew up fascinated by those larger places known as cities, and made it his life's preoccupation to learn what makes them tick. He currently resides in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. Beyond urbanism and technology, his interests include travel, reading, opera, running, quality food and beverages, independent film (especially Asian) and music, classic men's tailored clothing, and good conversation with smart, passionate people.