Partner Organizations

EDDIT is a partnership between the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Toronto, and TheCaseMade. EDDIT is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The School of Cities

The School of Cities is a world-leading, interdisciplinary center for urban research, education, and engagement at the University of Toronto, dedicated to uncovering new ways for cities and their residents to thrive.

Center for Community Innovation

The mission of the Center for Community Innovation (CCI) at the University of California, Berkeley is to nurture effective solutions that expand economic opportunity, diversify housing options, and strengthen connection to place. CCI works toward more equitable, resilient futures for communities.


TheCaseMade helps everyday heroes emerge as leaders through the power of storytelling, or Strategic Case Making™. They train leaders how to persuade stakeholders and the public to throw their support behind deeply transformational systems change.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

This project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

RWJF works with others to identify, understand, confront, and remove the structural barriers to health and well-being, including racism, powerlessness, discrimination, and their consequences. RWJF supports research, programs, policies, and practices aimed at bringing about meaningful change and improving the lives of everyone in our nation now and for generations to come.

The EDDIT Team

Project Leads

Karen Chapple

Faculty Director

Karen Chapple, Ph.D., is the Director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto, where she also serves as Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning. She is Professor Emerita of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she served as department chair and held the Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. Chapple studies inequalities in the planning, development, and governance of regions in the U.S. and Latin America, with a focus on economic development and housing.

Dr. Tiffany Manuel

Urban Change Coach

DrT (as she prefers to be called) (she/her) is a dynamic speaker, bestselling author and the President and CEO of TheCaseMade, an organization dedicated to helping leaders powerfully and intentionally make the case for systems change. In her role at TheCaseMade, DrT works with hundreds of passionate social changemakers, innovators and adaptive leaders around the United States who are building better, stronger communities that are diverse, equitable and inclusive. By aligning their community stakeholders around the kind of deep systems changes that can improve population outcomes, these leaders are able to grow their impact, scale their programs, and harness the investments they need to improve their communities.

Evelyne St-Louis

Project Manager

Evelyne St-Louis (she/her) is an urban planning professional passionate about advancing equitable urban policy & development. She is especially interested in affordable housing, land use, and transportation issues. In prior roles, Evelyne has worked as a planner for the City of Hartford, CT, and as a consultant with Strategic Economics, an urban economics firm based in Berkeley, CA. Evelyne St-Louis holds a Master of City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Geography from McGill University.

Michelle Zhang

Project Coordinator

Michelle Zhang holds a Master of Science in Planning and a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies; Peace, Conflict and Justice; and Human Geography from the University of Toronto. To bring together her interests in both global and local scales, Michelle is particularly invested in exploring how collaborative governance and partnerships can support the development of community spaces and places.

Jeff Allen

Senior Data Lead

Jeff Allen is a cartographer and urban data scientist. He has an MA and PhD in Geography from the University of Toronto focusing on neighbourhood change, suburbanization of poverty, and transit accessibility in Canadian cities. He additionally holds a BASc in civil engineering, has worked as a data science and visualization consultant for public and non-profit organizations, and has published several academic journal articles and public reports. He has also taught courses and workshops in GIS, spatial analysis, urban geography, and transportation planning. 

Julia Greenberg

Data Lead

Julia Greenberg is interested in using geospatial and data analysis to understand the impacts of land use, housing policy, and climate change on housing vulnerability and displacement. Julia is committed to collaborating with community-based organizations, governments, and other stakeholders to promote strategies that increase equitable access to affordable housing.

Sara O’Connor

Postdoctoral Fellow, Curriculum Lead

Sara O’Connor, Ph.D., a postdoctoral scholar in the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley, holds a Ph.D. in Planning, Policy and Design from the University of California, Irvine, a Masters of Urban Planning from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with a concentration in Peace and Conflict Studies from Bryn Mawr College. O’Connor studies urban political participation, civic activism, and governance focusing on achieving representation in development.

Paul Boniface Akaabre

Postdoctoral Fellow, Curriculum Lead

Paul holds a Ph.D. in Planning from the School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) at the University of British Columbia. He is interested in comprehensive community development planning with a particular focus on housing development and financing models as well as decolonization and redevelopment of aging, unjust, and racialized communities. Other areas of interest include property rights and institutional studies, socioeconomic development and spatial justice (fair and equitable distribution in space of socially and economically valued resources and opportunities), impacts of climate change and migration on cities, indigenous and reconciliation-based planning, community engagement and partnership, and project planning and implementation management (appraisals, design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation), among other areas.

Jennifer Rich

Curriculum Lead, TheCaseMade

Jen (she/her) has more than 20 years of communications expertise related to broad social change issues. Before joining TheCaseMade, she spent five years as Director of Communications at the US Interagency Council on Homelessness and the five years before that as the Director of the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth. Jen’s a journalist by training, having spent the early part of her career in Brazil, reporting for the New York Times, MSNBC, and others. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband and three musical theater-loving kids and is proudly a Gallup-certified Strengths coach.

Lindsay Knotts

Curriculum Lead, TheCaseMade

Lindsay (she/her) has more than a decade of subject matter expertise on ending homelessness and advancing housing justice. She is an expert in building consensus toward a shared vision, developing teams and partnerships, strategic planning, and communication. Before joining TheCaseMade, Lindsay served as a policy and content expert for The Housing Playbook Project for the Biden Administration. She also formerly served as policy director for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, where she led the Council in developing Home Together: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, a roadmap for federal agencies, national partners, and communities. Lindsay is a trained social worker who started her career on the ground in rural West Virginia. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from West Virginia University and resides in Appalachia with her family.

Mariel Ferreiro

Curriculum Lead, TheCaseMade

Mariel (she/her/ella) has extensive experience in financial and business management in both the nonprofit and private sectors and over a decade of work in community grassroots organizing around immigration and housing/homeless justice. Her expertise in collaborative efforts around policy building, community conflict navigation, and transformative justice has supported Kansas’s local and statewide social justice movement. Mariel’s previous work focused on financial health and sustainability for local housing authorities. Her academic background is in music theory and composition, focusing on violin performance. She resides in Lawrence, Kansas, with her incredibly supportive community and family.

Samara Crawford Herrera

Curriculum Lead, TheCaseMade

Samara (she/her/ella) has spent her career working to convene, connect, leverage, and drive communities to support and demand opportunities that lead to the liberation of marginalized members by centering equity and self-defined success. She believes that a robust, engaged and broad constituency of stakeholders, positioned as a constant and unyielding voice for practical, system-wide changes, can foster sustained and widespread improvement. Before joining the team at TheCaseMade, Samara launched and led Kansas City Action Fund, a 501c4 public education policy and advocacy organization utilizing a collective impact model to (re)vision the promise of public education. Previous professional endeavors have found Samara engaging in everything from leading the strategic and operational planning of family and community outreach efforts at a local school district to building trust-based community grantmaking at a philanthropic organization. A social worker and early education specialist by training, Samara has a Master of Social Work from the University of Oklahoma, a Master of Education from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts from Spelman College. She is a U.S. Navy veteran, a wife, and a mother to a ‘spirited’ teenage daughter. On Saturday mornings, you can find Samara curled up on the couch in her Kansas City home; a good book in one hand, coffee in the other and a trashy Lifetime movie on the TV.

Student & Admin Team

Nima Ashtari

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Nima Ashtari is an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto who is currently studying political science and urban planning. He will complete his Bachelor’s degree in 2024. Although his interests span law, public policy, and civil rights, Nima is especially passionate about harnessing the power of municipal government to create more affordable and equitable housing and transportation.

Jenny Holland

Administrative Assistant

Jenny Holland has a Bachelor’s degree from University of California, Davis and began working for UC Berkeley in 2012 with the English Department. After a somewhat brief hiatus in 2019, she is thrilled to be back with UCB supporting the EDDIT team! She has a deep appreciation for higher education and admiration for the research her colleagues are pursuing.

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