Michael Davidson is the senior program officer for The Chicago Community Trust in sustainable development. Davidson leads grant making for community and regional planning organizations, focusing on the confluence of environmental, economic and social sustainability—the sustainability “triple bottom line”—as the optimal framework for policy planning and development practice.
Prior to joining the Trust, Davidson was Midwest Director for ICLEI—Local Governments for Sustainability USA, where he provided in-depth technical support to 90 innovative Midwest member local governments with climate, energy and sustainability initiatives. He has also worked as a program officer at the Great Lakes Protection Fund and manager of the Campaign for Sensible Growth. At the Campaign, Davidson worked with municipal officials, elected leaders and community groups in the Chicago region on efforts ranging from hands-on technical assistance in communities grappling with specific development challenges to high-level support for regional planning policy, including helping to establish the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning as the region’s planning authority. Davidson spent the first nine years of his career in the research department of the American Planning Association (APA), where he provided planning practitioners with best practices in urban and regional planning. He also served as APA’s co-editor of Zoning Practice, a serial publication on zoning provision and land use policy, and produced over 100 issues. He is the founder of the Prairie State Local Government Sustainability Network and a founding member of the Sustainable Communities Division of the American Planning Association. He earned a graduate degree from DePaul University’s School of Public Service and has authored and produced over 30 articles and technical reports on contemporary planning issues.