Gracen Johnson is the textbook case of a self-starter, a skill she uses professionally to help others get projects and businesses off the ground. In the realm of city-building, Johnson most often faces two questions. From institutions she is asked, “How do we bring our beautiful city plans to life?”; and from citizens she is asked, “I want to make a difference in my neighborhood - how do I get started?” Johnson’s lifetime experience as a community organizer combined with academic accolades have led to the same conclusion: small, makeshift improvements. Through stories of her own makeshift initiatives, Johnson explores the value in the messy process of going from idea to outcome when you’re forced to be swift and resourceful. Her philosophy on city-building revolves around the concept of homebudding - the handiwork of people who make a place feel cared-for and lived-in. Through her presentation, Johnson reveals how it is good neighbors - homebuddies, she calls them - who bring a city’s visions to life through their small actions and affection for the place they live. Furthermore, the makeshift process of homebudding conditions citizens to take on more responsibility (such as small scale real estate development) with the benefit of their neighbors’ trust and appreciation already established. Johnson’s presentations combine deep community values with light-hearted anecdote, built on hard-won experience and a strong intellectual foundation.