Marie Law Adams
Lecturer, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Founding Partner, Landing Studio
Marie Law Adams is a lecturer in urban design and planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, and co-founding partner of Landing Studio, an architecture and urban design practice based in Boston. The work of Landing Studio is focused on the design of industrial and infrastructural systems in cities through shared-use landscapes, buildings, light installations, festivals, exhibitions, tours, and industry/community operations agreements. Landing Studio's work has been recognized with multiple AIA National Honor Awards, a Progressive Architecture Award, the American Planning Association Gold Achievement Award, Waterfront Center Awards, and the Architectural League Prize and has been exhibited at institutions including MIT, RISD, Parsons, and the City College of New York. Adams is a registered architect, and holds a BSArch degree from the University of Michigan and an MArch from MIT, where she was a Presidential Fellow and recipient of the AIA Medal.
President, Friends of the Malden River
Resident of Malden
Karen Buck’s early involvement with urban waters began on New York’s Hudson River and its tributary, the Rondout Creek in 1987. She volunteered with the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater initiatives and worked with the Rondout Creek business community. When Karen Buck moved to Malden, MA in 2004 she continued to engage in environmental activism. She taught in Malden Public School’s afterschool clubs and programs (grades 3-8), incorporating environmental education, gardening, and green team projects with youth from 2009-2015. She has been volunteering with Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) for the past ten years as well. Her consistent participation has included invasive species removal, monthly water quality sampling, seasonal herring and American eel counting, and community outreach. In 2012, MyRWA and Tri-City Community Action Program founded the Friends of the Malden River (FoMR). Karen was an early and active FoMR member. She currently is the acting FoMR President and the project manager of FoMR’s recently awarded Massachusetts Environmental Trust grant, the “Trash Free Malden River Initiative.”
Mayor, City of Malden
Mayor Gary Christenson has dedicated himself toward serving the public since high school when he was elected class president in his junior and senior years. After graduating from Malden High School, he went on to Suffolk University where he achieved a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in public administration, and later earned a juris doctorate at Suffolk University’s Law School.
During that time, Gary Christenson worked at the State House where he served as a Budget Analyst and later as the Budget Director for the Middlesex Sheriff's Office. He also devoted a combined 13 years of elected service to the Malden School Committee and City Council.
Since becoming Mayor in January 2012, Gary Christenson has worked in unison with residents and businesses to tackle the many challenges facing the City. He embodies the belief that we are in this together to make our community the best it can be.
Gary Christenson also believes that communication is critical to a better Malden. He can regularly be found on social media sharing the great things happening throughout the city. Finally, he has been committed to fostering an inclusive environment for Malden’s vibrant and diverse community by encouraging citizen engagement and enhancing the delivery of services for all residents.
The Mayor’s philosophy in life is summed up in one line: “What you put in is what you get out.”
His political career began with working for the Massachusetts House Ways and Means committee from 1994-1997. Reporting to Tom Finneran (who later in his career was found guilty of using his influence unjustly), he was a budget analyst, revenue director, and special assistant. He then worked at the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office where he assumed the role of budget director from 1998 to 2011. He managed a $60 million annual budget during his tenure. He also worked with other Sheriff's Office managers to ensure the efficient operation of the Middlesex Jail in Cambridge and Middlesex House of Correction in Billerica. He achieved national acclaim in spring 2019 for his habit of picking up trash every day while walking to the office.
Gary Christenson was appointed to the Malden School Committee by then-Mayor Richard Howard, the man he would eventually replace as Mayor of Malden. He was encouraged to join the school committee by his mentor, James DiPaola, a Malden resident, and former head of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Department, where Gary had worked for him. Gary Christenson served as a city councillor of Ward 1 in Malden for seven years after taking office in January 2004. In 2006, he was elevated to Chairman of the Finance Committee and in 2008 he was voted unanimously by his peers as City Council President. Gary Christenson was elected mayor of Malden in 2011 and took office on January 2, 2012.
Greenways Director, Mystic River Watershed Association
Amber Christoffersen is the Greenways Director at the Mystic River Watershed Association. She is a designer and urban planner who has worked on open space, active transportation, and affordable housing projects in the Boston area and around the country. She is leading the participatory planning process for dozens of waterfront park and path projects across the watershed. She holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of William and Mary. As an avid long distance runner, she is constantly exploring the region's many waterfronts and parklands, looking for opportunities to make them more beautiful and accessible.
Steering Committee Lead
Resident of Malden
Marcia Manong’s first participation in civic action occurred in Mississippi during the summer of 1964, when as a high school student, she volunteered in National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) voter registration campaign effort. This experience sparked her passion for social justice. As a social worker at the Dimock Street Preschool in Roxbury, MA, Manong produced a documentary about the school and this film led her to complete a master of arts at Goddard College, VT in 1977. When Manong moved to South Africa in 1994, she again became directly engaged in social justice as the Regional Manager for a non-profit called Operation Hunger that assisted rural communities in combating food insecurity through communal cultivation. This work led to other major leadership positions, including an appointment with the Board of the National Development Agency and to serving as a National Mediation Panelist. Upon returning to Malden, MA, Manong continued her civic work participating as a citizen journalist and board member of Malden Access TV (MATV). She is a member of Malden’s Community Organizing for Racial Equality (Malden CORE) and Mass Senior Action Council as well. Manong presently works an office manager at Bread of Life in Malden, which organizes and provides community food services to Malden and to numerous surrounding cities.
Malden City Advocate
Senior Planner, Malden Redevelopment Authority
Evan Spetrini is the Senior Planner and Policy Manager at the Malden Redevelopment Authority. Evan joined the MRA in February of 2019 and has worked on multiple projects, including land use and economic development plans, waterfront placemaking initiatives, affordable housing strategies, and comprehensive zoning reviews. He also serves as Project Manager for the Mystic Valley Development Commission, a partnership between the cities of Malden, Everett, and Medford to remediate and redevelop blighted and polluted land along the Malden River. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Northeastern University and a master’s degree in city planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, his work focused on urban design and land use regulations that support the development and preservation of creative workspace. His thesis was entitled, Keeping Somerville Weird by Zoning for Artist Workspace.
Kathleen M. Vandiver
Director, Community Engagement, MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences
Dr. Kathleen Vandiver earned her Ph.D. in 1982 from the Tufts University School of Medicine from the Anatomy & Cellular Biology Department and joined the research team at OPTRA, Inc. an optics instrumentation startup. Later in a career shift, she obtained a M.Ed. from Harvard University and taught science in the Lexington Public Schools (Lexington, MA) for 16 years. Vandiver received the ‘Educator of the Year Award’ in 2009 and was inducted into the Massachusetts Science Educators Hall of Fame in 2011 by the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers (MAST).
In 2006 Vandiver joined the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences. As the Director of Community Outreach Education & Engagement Core for the MIT center, she partners with communities to improve environmental public health through science education and community engagement. For environmental justice in Malden for example, Vandiver is an active member of Friends of the Malden River and the Mystic River Watershed Association. Her MIT role also includes working with the MIT Superfund Research Program (SRP) with tribal communities in Maine. Vandiver is the recipient of the Office of the Vice President of Research 2019 MIT Infinite Mile Award.