As Project Manager for the NYC Climate Justice Hub, Forrest Sparks is designing systems to facilitate and manage the collaborative partnerships between CUNY and the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA). Additionally, he is leading the CUNY participatory budgeting climate assembly processes.

Forrest is a participatory design practitioner with a focus on galvanizing our democratic systems for regenerative civic, economic, and ecological transitions. He was the Lead Process Designer for the NYC Civic Engagement Commission’s first city-wide Deliberative Participatory Budgeting Process. He is the Co-Founder of The Assembly Project, an advocacy and design collective upgrading our democratic systems via citizens’ assemblies and other democratic innovations. Forrest’s work in climate justice started by serving communities along the Texas-Mexico border at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. This included the inter-departmental co-design of a sustainable food system and solidarity economic infrastructure, facilitating a participatory curriculum design process with immigrant communities and university faculty, and managing a portfolio of sustainability research focused on UNSDGs. Other works have included developing a strategy for global community health worker programs with the International Rescue Committee, Co-organizing and curating TEDxMcAllen, conducting design research with The Brooklyn Public Library’s Justice Initiative, and serving as an educator from university to middle school students. In his free time, Forrest is a proud sourdough dad, overly enthusiastic about spike ball and urban cycling, and learning to play folk music on the guitar.

Forrest’s excitement for this work is fueled by its potential to subvert unbalanced power dynamics and establish reciprocal relationships between anchor institutions and the diverse communities they serve. In doing so, NYC-EJA and CUNY have the opportunity to catalyze climate policies serving BIPOC communities across NYC and generate a model to amplify grassroots climate movements across the US.