The Impressive Story of Florida's 15-Year-Old Citizen Planner

Dylan Gentile, a 15-year-old resident of DeFuniak Springs, Florida, offers inspiration in the form of proactive, positive engagement with the built environment, and already an impressive resume of accomplishments.

Read Time: 1 minute

March 7, 2015, 1:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Dylan Gentile is the founder of Bike Walk DeFuniak, an organization spearheading projects to deliver safe pedestrian access to the local school, adding shade trees, and developing wayfinding signage for his hometown of DeFuniak Springs, Florida.

Gentile is only 15, but as Sarah Goodyear describes in an article for CityLab, he is already fluent in the unique qualities of DeFuniak Springs as well as its role in the larger economic and environmental context of Florida.

DeFuniak Spring City councilmember Mac Carpenter, who is also planning manager for the county of Walton, vouches for Gentile's knowledge and expertise. Carpenter is quoted directly: "I was quite impressed with the depth of his knowledge of city planning, and his familiarity with the principles of New Urbanism. Being a certified planner myself, he was speaking the words I wanted to hear. Dylan Gentile gets it. He really gets it."

He's also optimistic that he is working to improve his town. According to Goodyear, "[while] he knows that he can’t change everything all at once, Gentile believes that he is already making a difference in his small corner of the world. 'I think a significant number of people who weren’t paying attention to these things before are now,' he says."

Saturday, March 7, 2015 in CityLab

Chicago Commute

The Right to Mobility

As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.

January 26, 2023 - Angie Schmitt

Sharrow bike markings on black asphalt two-lane road with snowy trees

Early Sharrow Booster: ‘I Was Wrong’

The lane marking was meant to raise awareness and instill shared respect among drivers and cyclists. But their inefficiency has led supporters to denounce sharrows, pushing instead for more robust bike infrastructure that truly protects riders.

January 26, 2023 - Streetsblog USA

View of stone-paved street with pedestrians and "Farmers Market" neon sign on left and old buildings on right in Seattle, Washington

Push and Pull: The Link Between Walkability and Affordability

The increased demand for walkable urban spaces could make them more and more exclusionary if cities don’t pursue policies to limit displacement and boost affordability.

January 27, 2023 - Smart Cities Dive

Aerial view from directly overhead of buses parked in large asphalt lot

U.S. Transit Agencies Face a Financial Crisis

Transit providers around the country are scrambling to find new sources of revenue to replace lagging ridership and reorienting their systems to a future less dependent on daily commuters.

6 hours ago - Smart Cities Dive

Water SUpply

California Rejects Six-State Colorado River Plan, Proposes Its Own

State officials claim a proposal agreed upon by the other six states using Colorado River water disproportionately impacts California farmers.

7 hours ago - Los Angeles Times

Pedestrians in zebra crosswalk with green bike lane in downtown Seattle, Washington with three-story brick building in background

Washington Focuses Road Safety Efforts on Individuals, Neglecting Design

Legislative efforts to reduce traffic deaths could move the needle toward Vision Zero, but state leaders failed to commit infrastructure funds to making structural improvements.

February 1 - The Urbanist