Aaron M. Renn is The Urbanophile, an opinion-leading urban success strategist and writer. He is on a mission to help Americaâ€™s cities thrive in the 21st century global economy by discarding old stereotypes and adopting new strategies based in progressive planning, economics, and branding principles aimed at creating sustainable, everyday places for the majority of Americans to live, work, and visit on an ongoing basis. His particular focus is the oft-overlooked cities of the Midwest.
Renn offers innovative strategies for urban success found nowhere else on the web, in areas including architecture and design, art and culture, civic branding, demographic analysis, economic development, the global economy, historic preservation, land use, public policy, regionalism, strategic planning, talent attraction, technology, tourism, transportation, and urban culture. His insights are rooted in a 15 year career in management and IT consulting, where he was a partner at Accenture.
He has been featured numerous times in Midwestern and national news media (see Awards/Press). In March 2009, Renn was honored in a front-page story by the Chicago Tribune for winning first-prize in a Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce-sponsored contest to identify ways of increasing transit Chicago transit ridership to 1 billion annually while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
No stranger to the Internet or urban issues, in 1999 Renn launched one of the nationâ€™s first blogs, The Weekly Breakdown, to monitor Chicago Transit Authority service.
In the technology field, Renn served as Director of IT Strategy for both Accenture and Focal Communications. He has also personally led several multi-million dollar technology-enabled business change programs. Renn is also a longtime supporter of free and open-source software. He co-founded the GNU Classpath project that created the first open source Java runtime library and authored the gzip Recovery Toolkit, the only tool for recovering data from corrupted gzip archives, among other projects.
A native of Laconia, Indiana, a town of 29 people along the Ohio River, Renn grew up fascinated by those larger places known as cities, and made it his lifeâ€™s preoccupation to learn what makes them tick. He currently resides in Chicago.