An award-winning writer, popular speaker, veteran communications specialist and authority on vital communities, Jay Walljasper shares stories and strategies that inspire us to make changes in our lives, our hometowns and the world. Even in the age of big data, storytelling is still the best way to grab people's attention and activate their imaginations.
He can help your organization, business, publication or community discover new opportunities and capacities — and then make things happen using the following tools:
- Articles, reports + documentation
- Speaking, workshops + residencies
- Communications + messaging strategies
- Editing + coaching on projects
- Community + tourism consulting
Walljasper is the author of The Great Neighborhood Book (2007), All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons (2011), How to Design Our World for Happiness (2013) and America’s Walking Renaissance (2016). He is Urban Writer-in-Residence at Augsburg College in Minneapolis and Senior Fellow at Project for Public Spaces.
Editor of Utne Reader magazine for 15 years, Jay was also contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler, executive editor at Netherlands-based Ode magazine and travel editor at Better Homes & Gardens. Utne Reader was nominated for the National Magazine Award in the General Excellence category three times during his years as editor. He has been quoted on current issues in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and NPR.
His articles have been published by National Geographic Traveler, Christian Science Monitor, The New Statesman (London), San Francisco Chronicle, AARP, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, Notre Dame Magazine, Yes! magazine, Toronto Star, Mother Earth News, Planning magazine, Chicago Magazine, The McKnight Foundation, Australian Financial Review, Common Dreams, Midwest Living, The Nation, Triple Pundit.com, Rock & Rap Confidential and many others.
The many audiences Jay has addressed include:
• UNESCO International Conference on Creative Tourism (Santa Fe)
• Great Places Conference sponsored by the state of Iowa (Iowa City)
• International Winter Cities conference (Edmonton)
• Trinity Cathedral Forum lecture series (Cleveland)
• Mayor's Symposium on Sustainability (Winnipeg)
• Bioneers conference on green solutions (SF Bay Area)
• Chicago Architectural Foundation Lecture Series
• The annual Meredith Lecture on Communications at Drake University (& more than 25 other campus lectures or residencies).
Walljasper was Director of Strategic Communications at Project for Public Spaces and has been involved in developing messaging or publicity campaigns for People for Bikes, Blue Mountain Center Arts Community, Rail~Volution, On the Commons and America Walks.
He’s chronicled and documented the work of the Kresge Foundation, Kaiser-Permanente, Local Initiative Support Corporation, CEOs for Cities, Mayor’s Institute for City Design, Trust for Public Land, People for Bikes, the Democracy Collaborative, Alta Planning + Design, the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation and many others.
Jay taps the power of people's own experiences and best practices from around the world to spark creative transformation. He helps communities imagine and then move toward brighter futures. Among the places he’s worked is Portland, Boston, St. Paul, Boise, Iowa City, Waterloo, Ontario, and Winona, Minnesota.
Jay also offers editing services and coaches individuals and organizations on communications and storytelling, including the National Geographic Society, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, community revitalization guru Dan Burden and PlaceHolder, a design consultancy.
Communications & Community Consultant
Project for Public Spaces
"A lot of what I think about how cities grow comes out of reading, and talking with, Jay."
— R.T. Rybak, Mayor of Minneapolis, 2002-2014
The Great Neighborhood Book
Jay Walljasper performs the greatest of services with this book. It is—choose your metaphor—a bracing slap across the face or the kiss that breaks an enchantment. In either case, after reading it you will be much more alive to the world as it actually is.
— Bill McKibben,
best selling author