First-Ever Class of Forefront Fellows

The Urban Design Forum is thrilled to announce the first-ever class of Forefront Fellows!

Forefront is a new initiative dedicated to promoting the next generation of urban leaders. Over the next nine months, 20 professionals under the age of 40 will gather monthly, share work, and debate critical issues facing New York City.

We reviewed nearly 100 applications to select 20 practitioners and scholars working in fields as diverse as public health, resilient design, and civic tech. Our inaugural class is already shaping the future of New York City in projects like the New York Dryline in Lower Manhattan, Governors Island public space design, the Brooklyn-Queens Connector streetcar line, and the Lowline. They are fighting for equitable development across the five boroughs, training public sector leaders in design excellence, and building community centers in Brownsville.

This year, Forefront Fellows will gather for roundtables and site visits organized around the theme “Urban Experience Design.” Beginning in May, participants will investigate how new civic technologies are transforming the management and experience of the public realm. Fellows will evaluate new sensing, surveillance, spatial analysis, and crowdfunding technologies with innovators in the field.

At the end of the year, Fellows will co-author a publication that explores how new technology can empower designers, planners, developers and civic leaders to build more dynamic, equitable and resilient cities.

Thanks to our Forefront Committee for their support and guidance: Byron Stigge, chair; Shuprotim Bhaumik; Abby Hamlin; and Oliver Schaper.


Meet the 2016 Forefront Fellows ↓


Lena Afridi Policy Coordinator of Equitable Economic Development, Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development
Lena has extensive experience merging data, policy, and grassroots organizing. As Policy Coordinator, Lena integrates quantitative research, geographic analysis, and coalition based campaign planning to inform the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development’s equitable economic development agenda. Lena holds a B.A from Mount Holyoke College and a Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University.

Eugenia Di Girolamo Urban Designer, WXY
Eugenia manages urban design projects at WXY, with experience from zoning studies, coastal climate resilience, neighborhood planning, and public engagement and outreach. Her work focuses on seamlessly integrating city planning and place-making techniques with great urban design and architecture.

Ifeoma Ebo Senior Design Advisor, Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice
Ifeoma has harnessed her diverse capabilities to contribute to international projects in human settlement development, urban master planning, public facilities design and urban systems analysis. She holds degrees from Cornell and MIT and has worked in India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Nigeria. She currently develops design policy for the design of a more equitable, sustainable, resilient and healthy built environment for NYC DDC.

Sagi Golan Senior Urban Designer, New York City Department of City Planning
Sagi holds a B.Arch from Tel Aviv University and an M.S. in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia GSAPP. In 2015, he received the AIANY Urban Design Merit Award for his project “9×18,” and at GSAPP he was awarded the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize. At DCP, Sagi ensures a high level of design excellence in projects across the city.

Henry Grabar Staff Writer, Slate
Henry is a journalist who writes about cities, maps, monuments, and machines. He’s a senior editor at Urban Omnibus, the magazine of the Architectural League of New York, and his work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Guardian, Slate, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.

Corinne Kisner Director of Policy and Special Projects, NACTO
Corinne is the Director of Policy and Special Projects at NACTO, the National Association of City Transportation Officials. In this role, she facilitates networks of peer cities working to build safe, sustainable transportation systems and active cities through better street design and transportation policy. Corinne holds a Master of Urban Planning from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Nolan Levenson Project Manager, Pedestrian Projects, New York City Department of Transportation
Nolan is a transportation planner with a passion for cities, sustainable transportation, and livable communities. At NYCDOT’s Pedestrian Projects Group, he designs and manages the implementation of projects that improve multimodal safety and quality of life throughout New York City. He received a Master of Urban Planning at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and a B.A. in Geography and Urban Studies at Macalester College.

Erin Lonoff Senior Analyst, HR&A Advisors, Inc.
Working at the intersection of the public and private sectors, Erin leverages her experience with urban planning, economics, and real estate to contribute to the vitality of cities and the public realm. Her work includes leveraging transit plans for economic growth and dense, resilient development, creating open space programming and revenue generation strategies, and developing large-scale master plans that will have critical economic and fiscal benefits.

Katie Lorah Communications and Creative Strategy Director, ioby
Katie works to mobilize community participation in placemaking and public space projects. Currently with ioby, a nationwide nonprofit civic crowdfunding platform, she’s worked with Friends of the High Line, the NYC Parks Department, and as a strategist for social enterprise startups. She holds a Master’s in City Planning from MIT.

Jessica Mathew Senior Program Manager, NYC Department of City Planning
Jessica is a Leadership Fellow at The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the Planning and Regional Development Department where she is developing recommendations for expanding regional freight movement. Prior to this, she worked in an advocacy capacity interfacing with the United Nations Inter-Agency Expert Group for Sustainable Development Goals and on projects including India Vision 2030 and developing indicators for sustainable cities.

Lucrecia Montemayor Senior Planner for Energy and Environment, Regional Plan Association
Lucrecia’s work promotes the revitalization of post-industrial municipalities through resiliency and climate adaptation strategies for the region’s most vulnerable communities. She has worked on projects at the Department of City Planning and as a designer at Arquitectura 911sc in Mexico City. She earned a M.S. in Urban Planning from Columbia GSAPP and a Masters in city design and social science from LSE. She holds B.Arch from Instituto Tecnólogico y de Estudios Superiores.

Oscar Nuñez Program Coordinator, Center for Urban Pedagogy
Oscar is an Urban Planner and Cultural Producer based in Brooklyn, NY. He is committed to building equitable cities through communities’ active participation in education, arts, and culture. He has worked with various organizations on issues dealing with planning, design, cultural programming, and community education and engagement. He holds a Masters in City Planning from Pratt Institute and a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies from the University of British Columbia.

Lindsey Realmuto Project Director of the Center for Evaluation and Applied Research, The New York Academy of Medicine
Lindsey is a Project Director at the New York Academy of Medicine. Previously, she was a Planner with Cameron Engineering & Associates and a Health Program Planner at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Lindsey has an MPH from George Washington University and a BA in Latin American Studies from Tulane University.

Christopher Rice Urban Designer, WXY
Christopher completed his MSc in City & Regional Planning at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He is interested in social inclusion, climate resiliency and building equitable communities. Christopher is originally from Ohio, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies at Oberlin College. He currently works as a Project Manager in the New York City Council Land Use Division, where he researches and analyzes complex land use and planning issues.

Sanjukta Sen Associate, James Corner Field Operations
Sanjukta is a landscape and architectural designer at James Corner Field Operations. She holds a B.Arch from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Her projects include the Domino Sugar Waterfront & Greenpoint Landing in Brooklyn, NY; The Underline, Miami, FL and the Central Green at Philadelphia Navy Yards. Sanjukta has also been a visiting lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jeremy Alain Siegel Designer + Project Leader, Bjarke Ingels Group
Jeremy directed the BIG team in its winning proposal for the Rebuild by Design competition, and now leads urban design of the subsequent East Side and Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency Projects for the City of New York. He has been working with Bjarke Ingels and BIG since the establishment of its New York office in 2010.

Tiffany-Ann Taylor Project Manager, New York City Economic Development Corporation
Tiffany is an Urban Planner with experience in transportation and economic development. Through her experience in and around New York City, she has had the opportunity to take part in complex but transformative projects. Tiffany holds a Masters degree in City & Regional Planning from Pratt Institute.

Sabina Uffer Head of Research Cities, BuroHappold Engineering
Sabina is Head of Research Cities at BuroHappold Engineering where she works on projects related to housing, smart urban development, and urban resilience. Previously, she worked in academic and client-based research positions in Zurich, Berlin, and London. She has a PhD in Urban Planning from the London School of Economics.

Daniel Vasini Studio Director, West 8 New York
Daniel currently works as a Studio Director for West 8 New York. With a multidisciplinary approach to design, Daniel has led internationally recognized projects, shifting scales from strategic master plans to transformative park designs and the creation of iconic public spaces, which accommodate 21st Century infrastructure needs and address the challenges of urbanization.

Alan Waxman Principal, Alan Waxman Ecosocial Design
Alan Waxman, MLA Harvard 2014, works in landscape design for health and resiliency. He models real-time psychosocial datascapes through dance biorhythms with Mark Morris Dance, is facilitating an ecology of deliciousness in public housing evaluated by hospital data with Claus Meyer, and is designing parks with Quennell Rothschild & Partners.