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.
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."
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