Charles T. Brown
Founder & CEO
Charles T. Brown is the founder and principal of Equitable Cities, a minority- and veteran-owned urban planning, public policy and research firm focused at the intersection of transportation, health and equity. He is also an adjunct professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.
Charles is an award-winning expert in planning and policy and has been interviewed by several notable outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, VICE and Bloomberg CityLab. He is highly regarded as a keynote speaker and leads workshops on transportation, health and equity for audiences worldwide.
Charles previously served as a senior researcher with the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University, where he authored several groundbreaking national and local studies that redefined how experts analyze the role of race and racism in transportation and mobility. In 2020, Charles was part of the inaugural class of the Public Voices Fellowship on the Climate Crisis, which is managed by the Yale School of the Environment.
Charles is a military veteran and a recipient of the Mississippi Commendation Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He has a Master of Public Administration degree and graduate certificate in urban and regional planning from the University of Central Florida, where he received the 2020 Alumni Achievement Award for Public Administration. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Management degree from Belhaven College, where he received the James W. Park Academic Achievement Award. He is a certified instructor with the League of American Bicyclists, received a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Professional Designation (CPD) from the National Institute on Crime Prevention and is also a proud and active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated.
Priyanshu is an urban planner and designer at Equitable Cities who specializes in transportation planning, design, data analysis, and visualization. He holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Planning from CEPT University, India. His work and research primarily focus on transportation planning and design, land use, spatial analysis, and data analysis and visualization. Moreover, his academic and professional experience in the planning profession has also inculcated the art value of good communication, which is not limited to maps, visuals, and interactive platforms, but also persuasive and engaging storytelling for our communities. Formerly, he worked with the NYC Ferry team within the Planning Division at the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). Earlier, he worked for Bloomberg Associates, where he provided technical support for the NewarkGO Bike Share Program’s implementation. Prior to this, he brought more than 3 years of work experience in the realms of planning and design from India, where he worked in various capacities with social entrepreneurs, planning organizations, and academic research institutes.
Policy Analyst/Social Justice Fellow
Jay Arzu, a graduate of Marist College, began his Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design in Fall 2021. Jay is the Co-Founder of the Collective Form, a walkable urbanism and community engagement platform, where he handles Strategic Initiatives, Equity Management, and Community Engagement.
From 2017 to 2018, Mr. Arzu was a Transportation and Equity Research Fellow for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF). He was responsible for data collection and the production of policy analysis and research with specific attention to best practices to promote integrated and comprehensive policy impacts in black communities nationwide.
In 2016, Jay was awarded a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to attend the Scuola di Direzione Aziendale (SDA) Bocconi where he earned a Master of Public Administration (MPA). In 2015, Jay served as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) intern at the U.S House of Representatives.
Jay hopes to contribute to Equitable Cities by working to improve the safety of BIPOC bicyclists and collaborate with communities to enhance equity and multi-modality.
Policy Analyst/Social Justice Fellow
J’lin Rose knew from a young age his passion for helping people, which stemmed from his grandma’s love towards bringing people together and helping them succeed.
He is serving as Policy Analyst and Fellow at Equitable Cities. Currently completing a Master’s in Public Administration along with a Certificate in Social Justice in Public Service from the University of Central Florida, his experience includes community engagement, strategic planning, project/team management, and technology. Furthermore, he previously completed an apprenticeship with AmeriCorp’s Public Allies, a program that develops diverse leadership to help create a just and equitable society.
J’lin has also had roles working in the Central Florida community with the University of Central Florida’s and Valencia College’s Downtown Student Life as well as Heart of Florida United Way as coordinator.
Carmen Kuan, a Senior Planner at Equitable Cities, has over 7 years of professional experience working in the public and private sectors with an interdisciplinary background in environmental science and city planning. Her wide range of experience from research to equitable public engagement to local government informs her critical, thoughtful approach to her work as a Senior Planner. At Equitable Cities, Carmen focuses on planning, policy, and design. Previously, she assisted with policy development, community engagement, and data analysis at the City of Raleigh. Carmen is based in Durham, NC where she serves as a Board Member and Committee Chair of a local non-profit organization.
Project Coordinator/Social Justice Fellow
(open pronouns: anything with respect)
Aliaa takes their personal experience and professional experience as a researcher into all of their social justice work. Aliaa has a background in social psychology and public health; she focuses on intersectional, racial, environmental, and mobility justice perspectives and approaches. Their first major research projects used intersectionality to examine the differences in behavior towards Black and white women in sex work and sexual assault. Their research revealed disparities in helping and punishing behavior between helping Black women versus White women in instances of sexual assault. People who scored higher in “benevolent sexism”, or viewing women as weak and incompetent yet deserving of protection, were more likely to help White women than Black women. In addition, her published research found that sex work was possibly so strong of a violation of the women’s “purity norm” that punitive behavior towards women were equal between Black women and White women.
Prior to joining Equitable Cities, Aliaa was an Environmental Justice and Climate Equity fellow with MobilizeGreen, where she researched, interviewed, and met with grassroots activists and homeless persons of color in Oakland, CA to recommend community-based environmental justice projects and policies. Aliaa also has experience with equity metrics development, facilitating a racial justice community and leadership equity program, and organizational strategic planning through her previous work with Well-Being and Equity in the World.
Aliaa grounds themselves within their own community by volunteering with Proviso Partners for Health to alleviate food apartheid and promote food justice through community gardens and low-cost fresh produce markets in predominantly Black communities. When Aliaa takes time to rest, she’s dancing to their favorite music, watching live theater, reading, frolicking in the woods, and performing spoken word poetry.