James Johnson-Piett

Principal & CEO
Urbane Development

James is Principal and CEO of Urbane, a community development firm with offices in NYC and Philadelphia; his work focuses on strengthening small businesses and community anchor institutions operating in urban communities through an integrated approach that includes research, consulting, and place-based investing. James has worked in 50+ communities across North America and the Caribbean, with over 1,000 small businesses, representing over 1.1 million SF of commercial and community facility space. James helped raise over $60 million for small business and community development initiatives in low-income areas with the goal of promoting community wealth generation.

Currently, James spearheads Urbane’s co-development platform, which includes Caton Flats, the $135M mixed-use development project featuring the redevelopment of Flatbush Caton Market, a historic Caribbean vendor marketplace, and 256 units of affordable housing in Brooklyn. James is also a cohort member of the Boston Impact Initiative's blended capital fund accelerator targeting place-based investments solutions to close the racial wealth gap in 12 US communities; James will lead the Philadelphia and Brooklyn fund development, respectively.

Currently, James serves as a board director of The Merchants Fund in Philadelphia and Community Solutions, Inc. in NYC. James was named an Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar in 2019, 40 under 40 Rising Star by Hunter College Food Policy Center in 2017 and one of the 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture by Brooklyn Magazine in Spring 2016. James is an alumnus of Swarthmore College and MIT’s Center for Real Estate, Professional Development Institute.

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