Curtis Witek is an Associate at the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) in Chicago, IL, a national non-profit organization which he describes as an “urban sustainability think and do tank”. Curtis works for RainReady, an initiative of CNT that helps communities become more resilient in the face of a changing climate.
Each month Y.E.C.A. is recognizing a young Christian in this country who is striving to live out what Jesus said was most important: loving God fully and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Climate change is already impacting our neighbors and God’s creation here in the United States and around the world, and we believe God is calling us to faithful action and witness in the midst of the current climate crisis.
Curtis Witek is an Associate at the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) in Chicago, IL, a national non-profit organization which he describes as an “urban sustainability think and do tank”. Curtis works for RainReady, an initiative of CNT that helps communities become more resilient in the face of a changing climate. Prior to joining CNT’s staff, Curtis worked as a Mayoral Fellow for the City of Chicago where he helped develop an application for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience Competition.
Regarding the need for cities to become more resilient, Curtis says, “When we fail to adapt to climate change, both big and small storms become more costly. Climate change is already creating more uncertain and variable conditions that our infrastructure systems simply were not designed to manage. These new conditions also exacerbate existing stresses and inequities, disproportionately impacting disadvantaged communities. The challenge that urban planners face now is how to transform these systems and the communities they serve in the midst of fiscal and other constraints.”
A graduate of Wheaton College (’12) and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Master’s of Urban Planning and Policy program (’15), Curtis is particularly drawn to the role of cities, both in modern society and in the Bible. He uses Revelation 21:2 as a model for how cities ought to coexist with the environment. He says, “The image we are given of a New Jerusalem is a city in harmony with the new earth. We live in an urban world where cities shape the environment both globally and locally. If we are concerned about caring for God’s creation, we need to understand the processes through which they influence the rest of the world. People living in cities are often disconnected from the natural environment, so it’s critical that we start with restoring the relationship between people and the natural surroundings in their own backyards.”
Curtis served on the Y.E.C.A. Steering Committee from 2012-2014.
If you would like to nominate someone you know for the YECA Faithful Neighbor Award for Climate Stewardship, visit our nomination page here.