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Natural Resources Defense Council


Justin Horner's Blog



I came to NRDC after 8 years in city politics in Oakland, California, working first for our Mayor and then for our City Council, focusing on land use, zoning, redevelopment, and housing policy. So, I’ve experienced first hand what it takes to make development happen and the many, many interests that need to be balanced to make our cities and communities work. The good news is I’m optimistic we can build the communities NRDC strives for: convenient, enriching, energy-efficient and fun for everyone.

Before my adventures in Oakland, I worked in refugee resettlement, both here in the Bay Area and in Hungary, where I led a program assisting refugees from the civil war in Yugoslavia. I also lived in Budapest for two years prior, which was really the birthplace of my love of cities, public transportation and urbanism. Unlike most environmentalists, my favorite places are filled with buildings and people.

I live in the Rockridge neighborhood in beautiful Oakland, California, 300 feet from a BART station, surrounded by local businesses I can walk to, with a single hybrid that’s parked 99.99% of the time. My wife is an advocate for children and youth in foster care, and we have a daughter, Violet, who really likes busses.

Roots in:
Columbus, Ohio (pre-Kindergarten), Santa Monica (up to High School), Bay Area (since then), with a three-year stop in Hungary. I’m also gradually taking root in the soils of my wife’s family’s 400 acre farm in southern Iowa.
Favorite place:
Arriving on the BART platform right when the train arrives; life doesn’t get much better than that. Or, maybe getting barreled bodysurfing in warm, clear water -- that’s good, too.
Why "environmentalism" matters:
As Bruce Babbitt says “Development should enlarge the possibilities for human progress, creativity, and quality of life, which it cannot accomplish by continually eroding the beauty and productivity of the natural world.” “Environmentalism” and urban development have been seen as inextricably at odds, but we now know that the way we develop can pay big dividends for the environment and give us great places to live, rest, play, raise our families and be with our friends. And, of course, I love polar bears, too.

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