Kadence Novak (they/them/theirs) is a Senior Planner based in the Minneapolis office with over five years of advocacy and planning experience. They are interested in active transportation, sustainable community development, and inclusive community engagement processes. Kadence completed their master’s degree in urban and regional planning at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 2014 and has since worked in a variety of non-profit, public, and private sector roles, primarily facilitating outreach and engagement efforts around transit lines, bicycle and pedestrian projects, and comprehensive plan updates. Originally from Austin, they received their B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from St. Edward’s University and is especially passionate about the intersections between regional equity, environmental justice, and meaningful community-driven engagement strategies. Outside of their professional work, Kadence is an avid year round bicycle commuter, races both track and cyclocross, and volunteers with a local chapter of Little Bellas to support young girls in reaching their goals through mountain biking and mentorship.
What’s your favorite type of community engagement activity?
Hands-on, gamified exercises with real world constraints that require groups of people work together to creatively and democratically solve a design problem to increase understanding of planning processes.
Where do you get design inspiration from?
Wrapping myself with stories shared by communities as I experience a space.
If you had a superpower to make a bigger impact on communities/ cities/ or environments what superpower would you have?
I would have the power of “Freaky Friday” to switch people from opposing viewpoints on a project to increase empathy among stakeholders, such as switching people who primarily drive with people who rely on bicycles or public transit for transportation, and encourage understanding of why and how a particular project can improve livability for everyone.