Silicon Valley Summit 2015: a day of learning, creativity, and collaboration

Chris Lepe Headshot

 James RojasOur third annual Let’s Get Moving, Silicon Valley Summit may have been our best one yet!

Last Saturday, 200 people (advocates, planners, policy makers, students, and other community members) came together at De Anza College (my alma mater) for a day that was productive, informative, and truly inspiring. Here’s a run-down of what was truly an action-packed day.

Before hearing from the Mayor of Cupertino, Rod Sinks, and the County of Santa Clara’s Public Health Director, Daniel Peddycord, we enjoyed breakfast set to live music from the John Clarke Trio. Our all-star opening plenary featured Policy Link’s Vice President of Research, Victor Rubin, Working Partnerships USA’s Executive Director, Dereka Mehrens, the City of San Jose’s Department of Housing Acting Division Manager, Wayne Chen, and San Mateo County Health System’s Senior Manager for Policy, Planning and Equity, Shireen Malekafzali. The rich discussion on inequality set the table for six diverse and thought-provoking break-out sessions on a variety of transportation, housing policy, and land use planning topics to complete the morning.

After lunch  (enlivened by performances by De Anza students, faculty, and alumni including DJ Beno Fficial, Yiann Chou, and Mc Tate Stroman), we headed off to another round of sessions. James Rojas, urban planner, community activist, and artist, led the workshop “Reimagining our Communities through Play”. Mr. Rojas reported that participants enjoyed his interactive session and were engaged throughout:  

“The session teams developed a variety of simple to elaborate solutions. What all these solutions had in common was a detailed understanding of Silicon Valley’s built environment, social and cultural patterns that most transportation planners would never know if they were not from the area or the same gender, or ethnic make up. The participants went beyond the typical bike lanes, crosswalks, and tapped their imagination and their community’s assets to imaged inspirational ideas.  Rather than focus on mobility problems, many participants developed never-before-seen solutions which gave everyone hope for the future of mobility in Silicon Valley.”  

As if all the thought-provoking sessions weren’t enough, I was proud to premier a short documentary on the campaign for great transit on El Camino Real, one of our biggest efforts in Silicon Valley over the last two years.

San Jose Councilmember Ash Kalra closed the day by urging us to work together to make our communities healthier, our cities more accessible, and our region more equitable.

Throughout the rest of the month, we’ll be uploading photos, presentations, and an interactive map of land use and transportation plans in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties on our website. If you haven’t looked at and tagged yourself in our photos from the day, check out our Facebook page.

On behalf of TransForm, thank you to everyone who helped to make the Summit a success this year, in particular this year’s co-sponsors: the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; Microsoft Bay Area; De Anza College’s Institute for Community and Civic Engagement; the Santa Clara County Public Health Department; San Jose State University’s Urban and Regional Planning Department; the Mineta Transportation Institute; Working Partnerships USA; the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA); Outreach; SIREN; and Urban Habitat.

TransForm would also like to thank all of the amazing speakers and volunteers, our interns Karla Navarro and Henry Pan, this year’s performers, and the graphic designer of the Summit flyer Eric Wong.

I’m already excited about next year’s Summit and the passion of our Silicon Valley community to make the changes we need to achieve a better quality of life for us all.  We have lots of work to do – but with the energy I witnessed last Saturday, I believe that we’ve got what we need to achieve better health, mobility, and fairness in Silicon Valley.


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TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit