A popular speaker, award-winning writer, veteran communications specialist and leading authority on community issues, Jay Walljasper shares strategies and stories that inspire people to make a difference.
Jay taps the power of storytelling, people's own experiences, and best practices from around the world to spark creative transformation.
He can guide your project, organization or community to discover new possibilities for the future — and then help make them happen with the following tools:
- Articles, reports + documentation
- Speaking, workshops + residencies
- Communications strategy + messaging
- Editing, coaching + writing collaboration
- Community + tourism consulting
Walljasper is the author of All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons (2011), The Great Neighborhood Book (2007) and Visionaries: People and Ideas to Change Your Life (2001) along with the e-book How to Design Our World for Happiness (2013).
Besides consulting, writing and speaking, Jay is Urban Writer-in-Residence at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Senior Fellow at Project for Public Spaces, and editor of the online Commons magazine.
Writing + Editing
Jay served as editor of Utne Reader magazine for many years and also as travel editor at Better Homes & Gardens, executive editor at Netherlands-based Ode magazine, and contributing editor at National Geographic Traveler.
Utne Reader was nominated for the National Magazine Award for general excellence three times during his years as editor. He's written three cover stories on sustainable tourism for National Geographic Traveler. The Kresge Foundation tapped him for a year-long project documenting and publicizing inner city revitalization in Detroit. Savannah State University awarded Jay the Robert S. Abbot Award for Meritorious Service in Mass Communications.
Jay has been quoted on current issues in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and NPR. His article about the revitalization of Romanian villages was picked as the Idea of the Day in the New York Times Online.
His articles have been published in AARP, Christian Science Monitor, The New Statesman (London), Huffington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Mother Jones, Notre Dame Magazine, Yes! magazine, Toronto Star, Planning magazine, Chicago Magazine, Australian Financial Review, The Nation, Citiscope, Shareable.net and Rock & Rap Confidential.
Speaking + Workshops
The many audiences Jay has addressed include:
*UNESCO International Conference on Creative Tourism
*Great Places Conference sponsored by the state of Iowa
*Trinity Cathedral Forum lecture series in Cleveland
*International Winter Cities conference in Edmonton
* Mayor's Symposium on Sustainability in Winnipeg
*Community Convergences in Portland & Boston
*Bioneers conference on green solutions
* The annual Meredith Lecture on Communications at Drake University--and more than 25 other campus lectures or residencies
Through workshops, residencies and on-going partnerships, Jay helps communities and organizations imagine and move toward brighter futures. Among the places he’s worked is Portland, Boston, St. Paul, Boise, Iowa City, and Waterloo, Ontario.
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, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Blue Mountain Center, On the Commons and America Walks.
He’s chronicled and documented the work of the Kresge Foundation, Local Initiative Support Corporation, Central Indiana Community Foundation,CEOs for Cities, Railvolution, the St. Paul Riverfront Corporation, People for Bikes, Coalition for a Livable Future and Fresh Energy.
Jay also offers editing services and coaches individuals and organizations on communications and storytelling skills, including 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