Socially Connected Communities: Solutions for Social Isolation

Date: August 18, 2021 | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET

Speakers: Risa Wilkerson and Amanda O'Rourke 

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Social isolation rates were soaring across the world even before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the gathering places that brought us together. However, the rise of social isolation is not a personal choice or individual problem, but one that is rooted in community design, social norms, and long-standing system injustices.

Join Healthy Places by Design and 8 80 Cities as they discuss the systemic drivers of social isolation and community-level recommendations for action. Community examples from the Wintermission project will share how three cities redefined their harsh winter months to combat social isolation and increase physical activity during winter for all residents, no matter their age, ability, socio-economic, or ethnocultural backgrounds. Participants will then explore ideas for innovative, community-level strategies that will help them to create socially connected communities where all people can thrive.



Risa Wilkerson

Risa (2)

Risa is the Executive Director of Healthy Places by Design, a consulting group serving philanthropy, nonprofit, and community-based organizations across the United States. She provides overarching guidance and strategic vision to fulfill the organization’s mission of advancing community-led action and proven, place-based strategies to ensure health and well-being for all. Risa has nearly 20 years of proven leadership in the healthy communities field, with a focus on equity, integrity, and collaboration. She has extensive experience coaching and providing technical assistance to multidisciplinary community-based partnerships across the country. Risa is an action-driven optimist, abundance thinker, and simplicity seeker.

Amanda O'Rourke


Amanda is the Executive Director of 8 80 Cities. Over 13 years she has driven the successful growth of the international non-profit through strategic planning, partnership development, and team building. Amanda has led diverse equitable mobility and public space projects in cities and towns across North America, Europe, and Australia. She enjoys working collaboratively with city governments and community partners to make it easier for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to walk, bike, take transit, and build social connections and a sense of belonging in public spaces.


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