Podcast: People Behind the Plans

Josina Morita

The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world's supply of surface freshwater. When urban planner Josina Morita moved from California, where a mentality of scarcity around water dominates, to Chicago, where the opposite is true, it got her thinking: How can we be good stewards of the Great Lakes, one of our most precious natural resources? How can we keep ourselves accountable to the rest of the country and the world?

"The last thing anybody thinks about is drinking their own sewer water, but the technology is there, and water is becoming its own renewable resource."

—Commissioner Josina Morita

Josina now serves as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), which manages stormwater and sewer water for Cook County, Illinois. But as she explains to host Courtney Kashima, AICP, the organization also sees themselves as an environmental agency, and they pilot exciting new green technologies at many of their plants. Josina describes several of them in the episode and the promising ways they're advancing the industry.

She and Courtney also discuss how budgets are a reflection of a community's values and why taxes make all the difference in a community's infrastructure, as well as Josina's passion for racial equity and making sure everyone has a seat at the table.

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