Rida. Image: Drew Dempsey

In 2017, Salam Rida moved from Detroit to Jackson with her partner to work on the Ecoshed, a sustainability demonstration space that serves as an incubator for entrepreneurs and nonprofits interested in green industry and green infrastructure.

Salam’s work on the Ecoshed led to helping create a Long Range Planning Division within the City of Jackson’s Planning Department.

“My work aims to inspire and imagine what a future sustainable Jackson can look like through urban design,” she says. “Jackson faces challenges that require creative, out-of-the-box thinking. Jackson has been an incredible space to pilot experiment urban design concepts.”

Within a two-year period, Salam and others have managed to secure several million dollars in grant funding to
realize visionary projects through the city’s Long Range Planning design team.

“This creative and experimental design team tackles major issues within the city such as the future of food access, mobility and transit, stormwater flooding and the creation of public space,” explains Salam. Three notable projects include the Fertile Ground Project, the Congress Street Parklet and the Oneline Project.

“Jackson has been an incredible city to experiment with creative urban design ideas. I’ve worked mostly within the research and academia setting for most of my career and being able to bring big ideas to a place that really needs them is fulfilling.”

Rida is featured in the 2020 Visit Jackson Tour Guide