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I’m an urban planner, researcher, and nonprofit strategist dedicated to a community-based approach. I have provided technical assistance for NYC communities and CBOs for over a decade, especially collaborating with organizations in low-income communities of color and environmental justice areas. I teach at Parsons/New School and SUNY. I am currently working with New York communities to develop offshore wind projects at Equinor.

My work intersects human ecology, climate change, public space, social determinants of health, and the arts. I’m a Faculty Fellow at the Urban Systems Lab, The New School and an Urban Design Forum Fellow. My work has been covered by World Architecture, The Grist, Resilience.org, and The Wave.

Featured Work        

Community Visioning following Managed Retreat Proposal Selected by The Nature Conservancy 



Partners: RISE, CCCE, Edgemere Community Civic Association, Edgemere Coalition Community Garden, and others

Funder: The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy awards our team’s proposal for an inclusive, equitable community visioning process for vacant land following managed retreat in Edgemere, Queens. The highly competitive NYS-focused program selected only two projects in the state.  The project—which will be led by  Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability & Equity  with technical assistance by the Collective for Community, Culture, and Environment—will initiate a co-creation process for socially and ecologically equitable use of vacant, flood prone areas with local partners. The project seeks to strengthen relationships within the community and to city agencies; grow awareness about “living with water” and community involvement in land stewardship; provide a forum for deeply community-driven visioning and a wide variety of voices; and align community priorities around a community land trust model. 

Images couresy of RISE. Photos by Benjamin P. Martin, Giles Ashford, and the Rockaway Field Guide.  
Winning $372,000 for the Rockaway Dune Enhancement Plan


Client: Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability & Equity

Partners: NYCParks, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, US Army Corps

Secured $372K from the NFWF’s National Coastal Resilience Fund to complete a site assessment and preliminary design to strengthen 7-miles of Rockaway’s dune system, the community’s first line of defense against storm surge. The project will align multiple state, federal and local projects and prioritize biodiversity and community voices in the process.

Image courtesy of RISE. Photo by Giles Ashford.

Mapping & Building Capacity of Rockaway’s Arts & Cultural Ecology 


Client: NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs (DCLA)

Partners: Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability & Equity (RISE), Rockaway Artists Alliance, Far Rockaway Arverne Nonprofit Coalition

Read the full report here. 

RISE worked in collaboration with local partners to build a Neighborhood Arts and Cultural Inventory. The 6-month process engaged over 500+ local residents and stakeholders—through multilingual surveys, focus groups, interviews, and  townhalls—to document cultural assets, considered local history, and explored opportunities and challenges to the existing arts and cultural ecology. The final inventory provides insights, depicts local contexts, and reveals the interconnections between community and art, past and present, but also its role in Rockaway’s vitality. The aim is for the inventory to spur more investment in local arts (in 2016  Rockaway receives less than 0.19% in Cultural Development Funds from DCLA) and help build the capacity and networks of indigenous artists and arts organizations. 

The project is part of DCLA’s Building Community Capacity, an initiative that takes a collaborative and comprehensive approach to building cultural capacity in low-income neighborhoods undergoing multiple city-led projects. The multi-year program strives to ensure both that culture is included as part of the City’s interagency efforts around neighborhood planning, affordable housing, economic development, and that local cultural stakeholders have ownership and voice in their own community’s development efforts.

In 2019, I wrote the winning proposal for Phase II which will include a comprehensive civic engagement process to develop a shared vision andstrategies to bring about enduring community-level transformation.

Images courtesy of RISE & NYC DCLA.
Photos by Joshua Simpson, Giles Ashford, the Rockaway Field Guide, and Ana Fisyak.