Public Assembly Starts May 11

Metro Ideas Project and the Aspen Institute Socrates Program will host a two-day conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that focuses on bridging divisions among urban, suburban, and rural communities.

Public Assembly is a gathering of politicians, journalists, and thinkers who are tackling tough national challenges in unique and innovative ways. The event will be held May 11–12 at Chattanooga Whiskey and the Edney Innovation Center.

The speaker lineup includes:

  • Sandhya Dirks and Devin Katayama, reporters for KQED
  • Justin Gest, assistance professor of public policy at George Mason University
  • Gabriel Metcalf, president and CEO of SPUR
  • Robinson Meyer, staff writer for The Atlantic
  • Mark Stodola, mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas

Register Now

The inaugural summit will focus on a single theme, “Bridging the Urban-Suburban-Rural Divide.” Many of the divisions among these communities are intertwined with important policy and political debates currently shaping the national landscape. Instead of exacerbating conflicts, we want to host a conversation that can begin to bridge them.

Event registration includes a limited open bar and hors d’oeuvres Friday and Saturday evenings. Breakfast and lunch will be provided Saturday.

Student and educator discounts are available. See the registration page for details.

Visit for more information on speakers, participating vendors, and conference schedule.

Julia Bursch

Project manager

Julia Bursch runs operations and project management for Metro Ideas Project. She has a background in tech startups, previously working for Bellhops, a nationally recognized and rapidly growing moving startup headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee.