The Liveable City Board and Advisory Council include academics, businesspeople, and seasoned community leaders. Their know-how and legacies of community involvement span a diverse spectrum of important quality-of-life issues, including the environment, the economy, equity, healthcare, education, housing, transportation, neighborhoods and culture.
Mark Yznaga, Chair
Mark Yznaga, Chair, combines a broad background in public policy development with expertise in community organizing. With over 16 years experience managing successful issue and candidate campaigns in Austin, Yznaga is a leader in policy development on a wide range of issues including transportation, energy and housing. His current areas of study include comparative planning, regionalism, public participation, and community decision-making. Yznaga co-founded and managed the Save Our Springs Coalition, the community organization responsible for passing the groundbreaking city ordnance to protect the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer. He has been involved in numerous community initiatives; from founding the Trans Texas Alliance, to serving as a Regional Co-Chair for the Central Texas Smart Growth Conference, and sitting on the board of the Central Texas Sustainability Indicators Project. Most recently, Yznaga was instrumental in bringing together community leaders to form HousingWorks, Austin's new affordable housing coalition.
Kevin Foster, Vice Chair
Dr. Kevin Michael Foster is a tenured Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, with appointments in African and African Diaspora Studies, and Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to teaching, Dr. Foster directs the Institute for Community, University and School Partnerships, and is the Executive Producer of the PBS program Blackademics TV. He serves as a member of the City of Austin’s School and Family Policy Working Group, and has received many professional honors, including UT Austin’s Paredez Endowed Teaching Award and the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity Champion Award. Dr. Foster is particularly passionate about education and quality of life for minorities, low-income persons, and other disenfranchised populations.
Jeff Smith, Vice Chair
Jeff Smith is a fifty-year resident of Austin. After completing his Ph.D. in Government at the University of Texas, he founded Opinion Analysts, Inc. and began a long career of polling and political consulting for progressive campaigns and issues in Texas. He has worked with city council members and other elected officials and in support of campaigns for the SOS ordinance, affordable housing bonds and many more. He is currently serving on the city’s Parkland Events Task Force.
David Foster, Secretary
David Foster is State Director for Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund, where he coordinates public outreach to Texas communities, elected officials and regulatory agencies on clean-water issues. Previously, David was Executive Director of Trans-Texas Alliance, a statewide transportation reform group, where he successfully implemented a TxDOT pedestrian safety grant. David served on Austin’s All Systems Go steering committee to pass Capital Metro’s 2004 rail referendum, and, as an avid bicyclist, he co-founded the Austin Political Pedal, an annual bicycle ride of elected officials expressing support for bicycle transportation. David and his wife, Virginia, live in Austin’s Southwood neighborhood.
Donna Taylor, Treasurer
Donna Taylor has been a successful owner, operator or manager of a small business in Austin for over 20 years. From 1993 to 2011, Donna owned and operated Little City Espresso Bar and Café, and Little City Roasting Company in downtown Austin; currently, she is operations manager of Whetstone Audio, a locally owned hi-fi business. Donna has vested interest and earned expertise in the areas of urban development, transit-oriented development, and small-business development to preserve Austin’s character. In addition to serving as a board member for Liveable City, she is a member of the Congress for the New Urbanism Central Texas Chapter, and of the stakeholders advisory board for the City of Austin’s South Central Waterfront Plan.
Dr. Catharine Echols is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas. After obtaining a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, she conducted research at Stanford University prior to joining the UT faculty. After being active in neighborhood-related advocacy, including on the Triangle redevelopment, she currently is focusing her advocacy efforts on affordable housing and education. She is on the board of HousingWorks, a local non-profit that provides research, education and advocacy on affordable housing. She served on the City of Austin Affordable Housing Incentives Task Force, and two working groups of the City of Austin, Travis County and Austin ISD joint subcommittee, one focusing on student mobility and one on the intersection between housing and schools.
Hannah Frankel is a social worker by profession with a background in clinical mental health, domestic violence, and immigrant/refugee populations. She currently works with an acute psychiatric population at Cross Creek Hospital and with private clients as part of Austin Counseling Connection. She is the Vice President of the Wooten Neighborhood Association and active on the Wooten Park Committee, where she plans the park’s future development and organizes community volunteer labor on the neighborhood park. In 2013 she co-founded La Reunion Cooperative, a 20-unit apartment style housing cooperative which has preserved and democratically organized a low-income community in North Central Austin. She presently serves as La Reunion’s Outreach Coordinator helping to organize free educational and social opportunities for the co-op members and broader community. Prior to forming La Reunion, she had been active within the cooperative movement in Austin since 2007.
Hannah is originally from the frozen northland of rural Maine, but considers Texas home after ten years of residence. She is a commuter cyclist and an enthusiastic member of the Capital Area Master Naturalists.
Susan Moffat is a longtime community activist, and former journalist and legislative researcher. In addition to serving as Liveable City’s Education Chair, she is a board officer for Austin Voices for Education & Youth, board chair for Austin Creative Classroom Fund, and a co-founder of Save Texas Schools, a statewide coalition working to ensure a high-quality public education for all Texas students. Focused primarily on issues related to education, equity and the local economy, Susan led the successful effort to designate arts education as a key element of AISD’s Strategic Plan; played a key role in passing city and county ordinances to ensure public dollars aren’t used to support sweatshop practices; and helped pass the “Big Box” ordinance requiring public hearings for massive retail developments that can impact neighboring businesses and residents. A former member of the city's Charter Revision Committee, she currently serves on the CodeNext Advisory Group.
Dr. Elizabeth Mueller is an Associate Professor in Community and Regional Planning at The University of Texas at Austin’s School of Architecture. Dr. Mueller is involved in ensuring low-income renters can stay in neighborhoods throughout Austin as the city grows – especially in Central Austin, where she is working to preserve and “green” existing affordable housing. Dr. Mueller serves as a member of the City of Austin’s Land Development Code Advisory Group and Housing Bond Review Committee, and was formerly a member of the Community Development Commission. She serves on the board of the Texas Low-Income Housing Information Service and the steering committee of UT’s Opportunity Forum. She is two-time recipient of the School of Architecture’s Outstanding Service Award.
Dr. Michael Oden is an Associate Professor of Community and Regional Planning, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin. Michael's teaching and research areas include local and regional economic development, regional growth dynamics, program evaluation methodologies, and affordable housing policy. Oden has been recognized for his excellence in teaching, winning the Texas Excellence Teaching Award in 1998 and the Outstanding Teacher Award for the School of Architecture in 2001 and 2015. Oden's current research interests include urban economic development dynamics and policies, evaluation methods for economic development and environmental projects, and urban planning interventions to address climate change. Over the last decade, Oden has published a number of reports and articles on economic development, income inequality, and program evaluation.
Chad Williams is a 20+-year professional in the high-tech industry, currently working as IBM’s Marketing Manager of Social Media. A community advocate on the issues of telecommunications, growth and affordability, and public education, Chad has served as the Chair of the City of Austin’s Community Technology and Telecommunications Commission, as Vice Chair of the City’s Charter Revision Committee, and as a member of AISD’s Facility Master Plan Task Force. He has also written or co-written op-ed articles for the Austin American- Statesman regarding the deregulation of Texas’ telecom industry and the Austin City Council’s switch to single-member districts.