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Christopher Tyler Burks , Founding Principal

Christopher Tyler Burks, Founding Principal

Researcher and practitioner of public administration and policy. Urbanist and proponent of interdisciplinary, community-oriented problem solving.

You can review my CV for details.

Honored to be a Founders’ Fellow for the American Society for Public Administration. Continuing my research at American University in the doctoral program for public administration and policy and through the interdisciplinary Metropolitan Policy Center.

Improving mobility for freedom is the focus of my recent work. I have advanced the cause of mobility in Birmingham through the gamut of public policy, urban planning, and project management. As a partner in Smart Growth America's National Complete Streets Coalition, I advocate for infrastructure that serves all modes of transportation and people of all abilities. With Principal Planner Tim Gambrel, I drafted the City of Birmingham’s complete streets ordinance which was adopted by the City Council on March 6, 2018. Then I worked with the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the implementation and grant writing for complete street projects (10th Ave S & 13th St S). Finally, I worked with Birmingham City Councilor Darrell O’Quinn to introduce new transportation options such as shared micromobility (dockless bikes, e-scooters, and trikes), on-demand microtransit (public van pooling), and bus rapid transit (Birmingham Xpress).

I’m inspired by the Charter of the New Urbanism and guided by the public service ethics of ASPA, APA, and ICMA. I'm grateful to a wide network of public, civic, and academic mentors for supporting me. They give me the confidence to find smart, sustainable, and equitable improvements for any problem.

Summa cum laude graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Master of Public Administration and specialization in public management and planning. This rewarding program enlarged my scope as a practitioner and sharpened my questions and techniques as a researcher.

Receiving the Morris Award for Leadership, Generosity, & Service from the Graduate Student Government

Receiving the Morris Award for Leadership, Generosity, & Service from the Graduate Student Government

I anticipate needs and take initiative in delivery. I developed this style of servant leadership as president of the International City/County Management Association, and again as vice president of the Graduate Student Government where I was selected for the Morris Award in recognition of my service to the university. Proud to have built new traditions and capacities in both organizations.

I serve on the Board of Directors for the UAB MPA Alumni Society where I developed the MPA Alumni Mentor Program and chair the scholarships committee for investing in tomorrow’s public and nonprofit leaders. I also serve on the Board of Trustees for the Awesome Foundation - Birmingham awarding monthly mini-grants of $1,000 to people and small organizations with ideas for how to make our city and community more awesome!

Receiving the Gaston Award for Excellence in Mentoring from the UAB Department of Political Science and Public Administration

Receiving the Gaston Award for Excellence in Mentoring from the UAB Department of Political Science and Public Administration

 
 
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President of UAB chapter of the International City/County Management Association 2017-18 with ICMA Leadership Team & Mentor, Sam Gaston, City Manager of Mountain Brook and Past President of ICMA

President of UAB chapter of the International City/County Management Association 2017-18 with ICMA Leadership Team & Mentor, Sam Gaston, City Manager of Mountain Brook and Past President of ICMA

 

 
Complete Street Project: 10th Ave & 14th St S Image Credit: Brad Davis, Alta Planning + Design

Complete Street Project: 10th Ave & 14th St S
Image Credit: Brad Davis, Alta Planning + Design

UAB: Building a Multimodal Urban Campus

I coordinated over $3 million in intergovernmental funds for the University of Alabama at Birmingham including projects for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) and Advanced Planning, Programming, and Logical Engineering (APPLE) planning grants. Further, I wrote our proposal for the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). We are building a multimodal campus network with green bike lanes and improved pedestrian facilities. Our work achieved the Bronze Bicycle Friendly University award from The League of American Bicyclists.

 
The Complete Street Paradigm Shift

The Complete Street Paradigm Shift

City of Birmingham: Complete Streets Ordinance

I worked with Principal Planner Tim Gambrel to develop the City of Birmingham's complete streets ordinance which was adopted by the City Council on March 6, 2018. This ordinance ensures that new street work includes designs that accommodate all modes of transportation. My policy analysis mitigated political and engineering concerns about the impact of complete street design on traffic. Further, I quantified the positive effects of complete streets on public safety, public health, sustainability, and economic development. My report includes strategic placemaking projects for pedestrian, bicycle, and bus rapid transit corridors, and concludes with policy recommendations for increasing return on investment; namely, mixed-use zoning, form-based codes, and shared mobility.

 
Public Service with U.S. Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell

Public Service with U.S. Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell

Congresswoman Sewell: Housing Resources

As a Public Policy Fellow, I developed the comprehensive Housing Resources Guide so Alabamians can find needed assistance. This guide includes all federal and state programs in addition to all housing authorities, local resources, and nonprofit services in Alabama's 7th Congressional District. Serving on Congresswoman Sewell's staff was a great honor. I provided constituent services and case management in her Birmingham office.

 
Birmingham District 5 Team—Join the Symphony of Service

Birmingham District 5 Team—Join the Symphony of Service

Birmingham Councilor O’Quinn: Expanding Mobility

As public policy analyst, I served as the Councilor’s research lead for urban innovation in smart cities, sustainability, and mobility. I developed the City of Birmingham’s request for proposals for a unique on-demand microtransit system (public van pooling). With this new tier of public transportation, we aim to eliminate the economic barrier of car ownership, reduce single-occupancy vehicles, and lay the groundwork for a mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) platform that integrates bus rapid transit (Birmingham Xpress), bike-share (Zyp), and micromobility providers (e-scooters, trikes, etc.). Finally, I developed the Councilor’s website to improve communication about our progress with the public (BhamD5.com).