American Cities Rebuilding

The WNET Group Examines the Future of American Cities with American Cities Rebuilding 2021 Virtual Conversation Series October 18-22

Air date: 10/18/2021

The WNET Group Examines the Future of American Cities with American Cities Rebuilding 2021 Virtual Conversation Series October 18-22


Livestream conversations with thought leaders to explore the bold steps required to redesign and redevelop urban cores


Visit to learn more and register to attend


(New York, NY – September 23, 2021) The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and amplified social, economic and political challenges in cities across America. Now, The WNET Group, home to New York’s PBS stations THIRTEEN and WLIW21, and operator of New Jersey’s statewide public television network NJ PBS and NPR station WLIW-FM, has set out to examine these challenges and explore solutions for recovery and growth with a five-day virtual conversation series, American Cities Rebuilding 2021.

Thought leaders from around the country will share ideas about ways our cities can address issues of economics, healthcare, technology, education, criminal and social justice, arts and culture, housing, immigration, and climate change to emerge as sustainable, more livable, and economically sound. American Cities Rebuilding panel discussions will take place daily, October 18-22, 12-3pm ET. The virtual events are open to the public. Registration is required. Click here to register.

“We are proud to present conversations about the most pressing issues facing our cities and our country today,” said Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of The WNET Group. “The in-depth and solutions-oriented approach to American Cities Rebuilding 2021 is a hallmark of public media journalism. These events will enable our audiences to hear from diverse and dynamic voices and to think critically about the future of our nation.”

American Cities Rebuilding 2021 is an extension of the successful American Cities Rebuilding three-day conference in 2020, which was launched by NJ PBS’ news division, NJ Spotlight News, and focused on the New Jersey and New York region. The 2021 events will include expanded coverage to cities in the Midwest, the southwest and the west coast and will feature partnerships with public media stations WTTW/Chicago, Houston Public Media and KCTS 9/Seattle.

Participants include (subject to change):

Art Acevedo, Chief of Police, City of Miami; Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent for CNN and host of PBS’s Amanpour and Company; Lauren Anderson, Associate Director, Education & Community Engagement, Houston Ballet; Mayor Ras J. Baraka, City of Newark, NJ; Dr. Philip B. Bedient, Herman Brown Professor of Engineering in the Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University; Soren Bjorn, President, Driscoll’s; Marylou and Jerome Bongiorno, Emmy-nominated filmmakers, Bongiorno Productions; Sen. Cory Booker, New Jersey; Kyra Buckley, energy reporter, Houston Public Media; Barbara J. Burger, PhD., President, Chevron Technology Ventures; Phil Chan, co-founder, Final Bow for Yellowface; Dr. Amy Clement, professor, Department of Atmospheric Science, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami; former Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, president and CEO, Chicago Urban League; Brandis Friedman, co-anchor and correspondent, Chicago Tonight and host, Chicago Tonight, Black Voices; Wendy Guillies, president and CEO, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Brett J. Hart, President United Airlines; Walter Isaacson, author, journalist, contributor to PBS’ Amanpour and Company and professor of history, Tulane University; Dr. Tara Karimi, co-founder and CTO, Cemvita Factory, Inc.; Walter Kim, President, National Association of Evangelicals, pastor, scholar and thought leader; Lourdes Lopez, Artistic Director, Miami City Ballet; Katie Mehnert, founder & CEO, Ally by Pink Petro; Ali Noorani, President and CEO, National Immigration Forum, author and host of Only in America podcast; Marcus Samuelsson, award-winning chef, restaurateur and author; Kathleen Sebelius, CEO, Sebelius Resources LLC; Neal Shapiro, President and CEO, The WNET Group; Hari Sreenivasan, anchor of PBS NewsHour Weekend and contributor to PBS’ Amanpour and Company; Aaron Thomas, President & CEO, Accelerator for America; and Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston, Texas.

American Cities Rebuilding 2021 is a production of The WNET Group.

Major funding for American Cities Rebuilding 2021 is provided by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and United Airlines. Additional support is provided by PSEG and PwC.




About The WNET Group 

The WNET Group creates inspiring media content and meaningful experiences for diverse audiences nationwide. It is the community-supported home of New York’s THIRTEEN – America’s flagship PBS station – WLIW21, THIRTEEN PBSKids, WLIW World and Create; NJ PBS, New Jersey’s statewide public television network; Long Island’s only NPR station WLIW-FM; ALL ARTS, the arts and culture media provider; and newsroom NJ Spotlight News. Through these channels and streaming platforms, The WNET Group brings arts, culture, education, news, documentary, entertainment and DIY programming to more than five million viewers each month. The WNET Group’s award-winning productions include signature PBS series NatureGreat PerformancesAmerican MastersPBS NewsHour Weekend and Amanpour and Company and trusted local news programs MetroFocus and NJ Spotlight News with Briana Vannozzi. Inspiring curiosity and nurturing dreams, The WNET Group’s award-winning Kids’ Media and Education team produces the PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, interactive Mission US history games, and resources for families, teachers and caregivers. A leading nonprofit public media producer for nearly 60 years, The WNET Group presents and distributes content that fosters lifelong learning, including multiplatform initiatives addressing poverty, jobs, economic opportunity, social justice, understanding and the environment. Through Passport, station members can stream new and archival programming anytime, anywhere. The WNET Group represents the best in public media. Join us.