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Rewire Working Groups

Meet our cohort of urban leaders exploring new ways to build climate positive neighborhoods.

In 2024, our Rewire program will convene 47 Fellows to develop design and policy proposals for remaking our buildings and public spaces into engines for a climate positive city.

Our working groups gather diverse leaders across design, engineering, policy, and sustainability who are shaping New York City’s strategies to meet the climate crisis. Fellows are decarbonizing homes in Brooklyn, supporting cultural organizations to comply with Local Law 97, developing flood resilience strategies, launching a climate-tech startup, advocating for bus and subway riders, and much more.

Through Rewire, Fellows will lead case study exploration, neighborhood tours, and stakeholder interviews to create and advance new visions for the city. Working groups will focus on five key areas of opportunity: Biodiverse Places, Circular Hubs, Connected Anchors, Green Homes, and Resilient Commutes. Stay tuned for more throughout the year.

Biodiverse Places

How could we foster biodiversity and nature-inclusive spaces in our streets, plazas, parks, and commercial corridors to improve quality of life?

Charlotte Barrows
Senior Associate, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects

Charlotte Barrows is a Registered Landscape Architect and LEED Accredited Professional with over 15 years of professional experience. Charlotte’s projects at NBW focus on restoring cultural landscapes: Forsyth Park in Savannah, GA; Jay Heritage Center in Rye, NY; Mount Cuba Center in Hockessin, DE; and Olana State Historic Site in Hudson, NY.

Hannah Berkin-Harper
Design Lead, Streetlab

Hannah Berkin-Harper is the Design Lead at Street Lab, a nonprofit that creates and shares new designs and programs for public spaces in New York CIty. She designs furniture and objects to support programming that brings people together in the public realm. She previously worked as Senior Industrial Designer at Karim Rashid’s studio and founded HBH Design, a consultancy focusing on projects involving environmental sustainability and public space. Hannah teaches at Pratt Institute.

Andrew Buck
Senior Urban Planner & Technologist, VHB

Andrew Buck’s decade-long career in urban planning and design has focused on utilizing technology to tackle complex urban challenges. His expertise lies in deploying technologies, including data, model based design, and geospatial analytics, in community and climate planning. Drawing on experience in Asia and North America, Andrew has led projects including climate action and adaptation, smart communities, infrastructure modernization, and neighborhood development.

Victoria Dearborn
Program Specialist, The Nature Conservancy

Victoria Dearborn is passionate about the role of nature in the lives of urban residents, from fostering a sense of childlike wonder to protecting vulnerable community members from extreme heat. As Program Specialist with The Nature Conservancy’s New York Cities Team, Victoria offers operational support and thought leadership to urban forestry projects. She helps convene the Forest for All NYC coalition, a group of 130+ organizations working to expand the NYC urban forest.

Kirk Gordon
Associate, SCAPE

Kirk Gordon is a landscape architect and Associate at SCAPE Landscape Architecture. Informed by experiences in biological research and graphic design, Kirk is committed to using design as a tool for communicating socio-ecological dynamics in a changing world. His approach prioritizes ecological vibrancy as the foundation for creating functional, resilient, and socially-engaging landscapes.

Harsh Shah
Urban Designer, AECOM

Harsh Shah is driven by a passion for public spaces, ecologies, and climate-adaptive infrastructures. His work focuses at the intersection of built environment, public realm, and urban systems, where he integrates community insights with geospatial analytics to develop impactful strategies. At AECOM, he is engaged in consulting projects for New York City’s agencies, tackling urban challenges with design innovation. A runner and ardent composter, Harsh also volunteers with GrowNYC.

Haley (Lee) Stark
Creative Director

Lee Stark is a creative director with a passion for biodiverse communities, equitable nature access, and ecosystem preservation. With a background in composting and horticulture, Lee provides creative services for organizations involved with ecology, waste reduction, circular economies, public greenspaces, and more. Lee currently serves on the Brooklyn Solid Waste Advisory Board (BkSWAB), is a Master Composter, and is a passionate steward of our local ecosystems.

John Surico
Journalist & Researcher, Center for an Urban Future

John Surico is a journalist, educator and researcher focused on mobility and open space. His reporting can be found in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Bloomberg CityLab, and elsewhere. He is Senior Fellow for Climate and Opportunity at Center for an Urban Future, where he researches parks, open spaces, and the built environment. He writes Streetbeat, a monthly newsletter on cities and how they’re changing.

Somto Uyanna
Senior Consultant, Buro Happold

Somto Uyanna is a Senior Water Infrastructure and Climate Resilience Consultant on the Buro Happold Cities team. Her professional experience includes integrated water resources management, stormwater and flood risk mitigation, environmental justice, and climate risk assessment and adaptation planning. She is passionate about improving quality of life through the built environment. Away from work, she enjoys reading, writing and editing.

Circular Hubs

How should we transform industrial zones to provide a cleaner environment, preserve low-barrier, high-paying jobs, and offer sites for climate innovation?

Gary Chung
Urban Designer, NYC Planning

Born, raised, and based in New York City, Gary Chung is a multidisciplinary designer with a background in the spatial representation, graphic composition and design research. He has worked on award-winning international and domestic projects of various scales and mediums as well as being a recipient of design and research grants that not only fueled his interest but continue to inspire him today.

Eleanor Gibson
Landscape Designer, Local Office

Eleanor Gibson is a landscape designer at Local Office, with multidisciplinary experience in Australia, Denmark and the US. Living across continents has cultivated her passion for the relational systems that drive major cities and the methods cities are employing to take on the climate crisis. She has focused on the technical capabilities of resilient green infrastructure innovations, and their power, in tandem with policy change, to adapt our cities to climate challenges.

Earl Lin
Sustainability Specialist, Syska Hennessy

Earl Lin is a sustainability specialist with a mechanical engineering and urban data science background, passionate about sustainability and resiliency in the built environment. At Syska Hennessy, he works with building energy models to inform high-performance, energy-efficient building designs and analyze decarbonization strategies and energy conservation measures for existing buildings. As a native New Yorker, he is committed to helping New York City reach its climate goals.

Candelaria Mas Pohmajevic
Associate Director, Resilient Cities Catalyst

Candelaria Mas Pohmajevic is an Associate Director at Resilient Cities Catalyst, where she manages the Cities Forward Initiative, strengthening partner relationships with cities in the Americas to implement key resilience projects. She is an architect and urban designer focused on the integration of communities, ecosystems, and climate-sensitive infrastructures in placemaking processes. Candelaria brings extensive experience in the US, Latin America, and Europe.

Jenny Osman
Assistant Vice President, Neighborhood Strategies, NYC EDC

Jenny Osman is a native New Yorker working as an urban planner for NYC EDC. With a background studying the built environment’s impacts on population and mental health, she is interested in advancing investments in historically redlined NYC neighborhoods that drive equitable economic growth and improve residents’ quality of life. She sees environmental resiliency, environmental justice and pollution mitigation as integral to economic development and improved health outcomes.

Saritha Ramakrishna
Senior Associate, Kyanite Partners

Saritha Ramakrishna is a writer, urban planner and researcher based in Brooklyn. As a Senior Associate at Kyanite Partners, she leads and supports projects related to community wealth building, economic development and federal funding related to decarbonization efforts. Previously, she supported advocacy around state policy for climate resiliency, transportation and environmental justice. As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in The Baffler, The New Republic, Urban Omnibus and more.

Zeineb Sellami
Senior Associate, Karp Strategies

Zeineb Sellami is an architect and urban planner leveraging multiple approaches—spatial, human-centered, and data focused—to support her passion for cities. At Karp Strategies, she leads teams through community and stakeholder engagement, workforce and economic development analyses, and urban policy strategizing across the firm’s real estate, infrastructure, and renewable energy projects. Zeineb is a WEDG Associate.

Matthew Seybert
Architect, Perkins Eastman

Matthew Seybert is a Senior Associate Architect and Urban Designer for Perkins Eastman Architects. He is interested in developing innovative, thoughtful solutions to complex urban challenges, with a particular focus on bringing sustainable value to the communities in which he works. He has a B.Arch from the Ball State University CAP and a M.S in Urban Design from the Columbia University GSAPP.

Kristin Sposito
Project Engineer, Langan

Kristin Sposito is a project engineer in the site/civil group for Langan engineering. She is involved in design, permitting and construction for a variety of land development projects in the New York City area. With a civil engineering degree from the University of Washington, she spent most of her engineering career in the Pacific Northwest where she focused on stormwater design and modeling. Kristin thrives in multidisciplinary teams and has a passion for sustainability.

Connected Anchors

How can we support neighborhood institutions to drive their own carbon reductions and empower them as conduits to local climate literacy?

Ankita Chachra
Senior Fellow, Capita

Ankita Chachra is an independent consultant committed to building a future where all children and families thrive. She has 10+ years of global experience working in partnership with city agencies and the private, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors. She is a Senior Fellow at Capita, a think tank with a global focus. She previously served as the Knowledge for Policy Director at the Bernard Van Leer Foundation and led the Streets for Kids Program at NACTO’s Global Designing Cities Initiative.

Caitlin Harris
Environmental Program Manager, Target

Caitlin Harris is currently an Environmental Program Manager at Target where she develops strategies at the nature-climate nexus. She is driven by a mission to utilize her technical skills and personal passion to enact justice-oriented design practices across public health and sustainability through various practices in community building, storytelling, communications, and education.

Lloyd Helen
Senior Associate, Cooper Robertson

Lloyd Helen is a Senior Associate at Cooper Robertson. He draws on his international background in architecture, urban design, and city planning to develop sustainable solutions across a wide range of scales and project types. Lloyd has particular expertise in arts and cultural design. He is currently working on the design of the new Princeton University Art Museum and the renovation of the Marquand Rare Books Library.

Christina Hernandez
Architect, NYC DCAS

Christina Hernandez is an architect with a background in environmental planning. As Senior Program Manager within the Division of Energy Management at DCAS, Christina partners with agencies to plan, scope, and fund comprehensive energy efficiency projects. Under her sector, she works with public libraries and cultural institutions on strategic carbon and energy reduction planning for their building portfolios’ LL97 compliance.

Catherine Joseph
Architect, 3XN

Catherine Joseph is an Architect in 3XN’s New York studio, where she leads design and project management for community amenity buildings, residential developments, and commercial office buildings in the US and Canada. Her independent design research focuses on developing intersectional and speculative design processes to address adaptability and resilience in the built environment as well as equity in urban space. She is currently Adjunct Faculty at the New York Institute of Technology.

Anna Keleher
Senior Advisor, Behavioral Insights Team

Anna Keleher is a Senior Advisor with the Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) and works primarily on environment, health, and local government policy. In 2022-23, Anna worked with the innovation charity Nesta in London, where she applied behavioral insights to reduce obesity in the UK. Prior to joining BIT, she worked in several legislative and research roles in Delaware State Government.

Andrew Leung
Associate, Urban Design and Planning, SOM

Andrew Leung is an urban designer and Associate at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s City Design Practice in New York. He works domestically and internationally on a broad range of projects with a particular focus on the intersection of architecture and landscape, the imperatives of climate impact, and the tremendous promise of open space and the public realm. As a native New Yorker, his recent work has also included civic engagement in the city.

Kelley Tapia
Architect, Samskara Studio

Kelley Tapia, a visionary in the field of architecture with over 20 years of directing high-profile projects, stands at the forefront of sustainable and regenerative design. A licensed architect with a deep-rooted passion for nature’s genius, Kelley has dedicated her career to creating spaces that not only meet today’s needs, but also nurture future generations. Her journey in sustainable buildings is marked by a commitment to regenerative capacity.

Yi Zhang
Urban Designer & Landscape Architect

Yi Zhang is an urban designer and landscape architect with extensive international and multidisciplinary experience. Most recently, Yi contributed to research and design on climate adaptations and inequality. Yi has gained extensive expertise working with renowned practices, delivering innovative design solutions. From public realm and infrastructure planning to urban revitalizations and post-disaster redevelopments, she has demonstrated versatility in participating in projects at various scales.

Green Homes

How can we accelerate energy retrofits in our existing homes while also supporting affordable living?

Jane Bartman
Manager, Sustainability, Bloomberg

Jane Bartman is a manager on the Sustainability team at Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consultancy that advises cities around the world and is part of Bloomberg Philanthropies. Jane works with city governments in the U.S. and internationally to advance priority sustainability and resiliency projects, with a focus on built environment decarbonization. Jane’s background spans the private, non-profit, and public sectors.

Tommaso Bitossi
Associate Partner, Transsolar

Tommaso Bitossi focuses on two aspects of climate responsive design: architecture and climate engineering based on his professional value of ‘sufficiency before efficiency.’ Tommaso deeply believes that a decision-making process based on a solid engineered and out-of-the-box thinking leads to resource conscious solutions and high quality built environments.

Lisa Bolle
Associate, Thornton Tomasetti

Lisa Bolle is an accomplished green building and wellness consultant, with nine years of experience bringing innovative and sustainable projects to light. Her expertise in new construction and existing building operations helps teams think through the many stages of a building’s life cycle to choose the best design interventions and operational strategies. Lisa also has extensive experience in corporate sustainability consulting/strategy consulting.

Jonathan Molloy
Associate, SO-IL

Jonathan Molloy is a practicing architect and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. His work focuses on cultural, residential, and adaptive reuse projects. He is an associate at SO – IL, where he is project architect for the Williams College Museum of Art project, as well as a multifamily residential project under construction in Brooklyn. He previously worked at Marvel Architects in New York and Moneo Brock Studio in Madrid.

Rebekah Morris-Gonzalez
Senior Program Manager, Pratt Center for Community Development

Rebekah Morris-Gonzalez works at the intersection of housing, sustainability, and racial justice, with a focus on programs and policies that address energy efficiency, electrification, affordable housing, and climate mitigation and resiliency. As Senior Program Manager at Pratt Center for Community Development, she leads EnergyFit Affordable Small Homes, a decarbonization demonstration providing repairs, retrofits, and electrification measures for 75 2- and 3-unit buildings in Brooklyn.

Crystal Ng
Director of Sustainability, Curtis + Ginsberg

Passionate about the capacity of low-carbon design to build a more equitable society, Crystal Ng is Director of Sustainability at Curtis + Ginsberg Architects. She leads many of the firm’s Passive House and LEED projects and directs C+GA’s commitment the AIA 2030 Challenge. She was recognized as one of Crain’s 2023 Notable Leaders in Sustainability. Her work to advance high performance design contributed to C+GA’s 2021 Ivory Prize for Innovation in Affordable Housing.

Keith Ryan
Principal, Stantec

Keith Ryan is a Principal in Stantec’s Buildings practice with over a decade and a half of experience as a building services engineer. As an MEP Principal, he is recognized for his ability to design practical and economically savvy projects without compromising quality. Keith brings a keen understanding of all design disciplines, and the coordination required in various building types. He is driven to explore design possibilities with Architects while providing developers surety of outcome.

Elaine Wang
Co-Founder, Jane Energy

Elaine Wang is a data scientist and urban planner. Previously, she was a Product Manager at Sonder. She most recently graduated with a Masters in City Planning from MIT and now has co-founded Jane Energy, a climate-tech startup based in NYC that helps homeowners make their homes more climate-friendly.

Jess Wunsch
Director of City Engagement, NYU Furman Center Housing Solutions Lab

Jess Wunsch works with local policy leaders in small and midsize cities to develop, implement, and evaluate local housing policies. Trained as an urban planner and researcher, she is passionate about innovations in land use and climate policy, building relationships among peer cities across the U.S., and making cross-sectoral connections to advance both housing justice and climate resilience in NYC. 

Sheena Zhang
Sustainability Specialist, Autodesk

Sheena Zhang is an AEC Sustainability Specialist at Autodesk, where she develops the internal sustainability strategy across Autodesk’s product ecosystem for the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Previously, she was a sustainability consultant at Atelier Ten, where she managed projects including adaptive reuse, museum, healthcare, and masterplans with a range of sustainability goals like net-zero carbon, zero waste of resources, and net-zero water waste.

Resilient Commutes

How could we adapt our existing transportation networks to reduce carbon emissions and support livable commutes for all New Yorkers?

Aditya Bhagath
Senior Associate, Thornton Tomasetti

Aditya Bhagath is a Senior Associate with Thornton Tomasetti’s Sustainability and Resilience group. He has extensive experience in flood resilience and structural engineering on a variety of healthcare, retail, residential and commercial developments within current and future floodplains. His expertise includes multi-hazard climate risk and resilience assessments, development of flood resilience strategies, and performance testing of flood resilience measures.

Adriana Chávez
Co-Founder, ORU

Adriana Chavez is the co-founder of ORU, Office for Urban Resilience, a design think tank that focuses on implementing innovative solutions for cities through urban design and landscape infrastructure with a water sensitive approach. She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Liam Cutri-French
Civil Designer, Stantec

Liam Cutri-French is an innovative civil engineer with a background in public policy, working on waterfront infrastructure development. He is passionate about using multidisciplinary experience to assist in the efficient completion of sustainable urban infrastructure with strong community support. Liam’s breadth of experience includes sustainability analysis, green infrastructure, coastal resiliency, and transportation.

William Farrell
Senior Transportation Engineer, Sam Schwartz

William Farrell is a professional transportation engineer at Sam Schwartz with over ten years of experience in New York City and a strong conviction for social, economic, and environmental justice. He has also held positions as a data journalist for the DC Policy Center and an adjunct professor at The City College of New York.

Thomas Heltzel
Associate Director, One Architecture

Tom Heltzel is a licensed architect and LEED Accredited Professional with over twelve years of experience, with the last six years focused exclusively on work for public entities. Tom collaborates with cities and public clients to develop innovative solutions to resilience infrastructure. He is currently focused on ESCR and BMCR’s flood protection, Bellevue Hospital’s coastal resilience plan, the East River Park Amphitheater, and the Energy and Sustainability Strategy for the FiDi Seaport.

Nicole Payne
Division Chief, Office of Civil Rights Policy & Guidance, FTA

Nicole Payne is a transportation planner working to advance social and economic wellness for systematically marginalized communities through expansion of accessible mobility options. She has experience ranging from wheelchair accessible taxi service to citywide emergency evacuation plans. Nicole currently leads a team at the Federal Transit Administration responsible for developing federal equity and accessibility policies, guidance, and initiatives involving public transit.

Danny Pearlstein
Policy & Communications Director, Riders Alliance

Danny Pearlstein is Policy & Communications Director at the Riders Alliance, New York’s grassroots organization of subway and bus riders. He started advocating for better public transit in high school and has worked as an urban planner, a City Council staffer, and a lawyer representing injured workers and low-income tenants.

Niharika Shekhawat
Urban Designer, Grimshaw

Niharika Shekhawat is an urban designer who has worked on a range of projects, while mobilizing public engagements that foster powerful agency through design collaborations. She strongly believes in integrating resiliency and activism with design and research, to create healthy, equitable, and resilient cities. She is currently an Urban Designer at Grimshaw working on mass transit and master-planning projects.

Ria Singh
Electrical Engineer, Arup

Ria Singh is an Electrical Engineer at Arup’s New York City office and works as an on-site consultant within the Resilience and Sustainable Design team at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Ria’s work focuses on developing sustainable and resilient energy landscapes to support buildings and critical infrastructure.

Michael Woods
Architect, Perkins & Will

Michael Woods is an architect and filmmaker committed to designing projects that minimize the impact on the environment while honoring the history of the places we live and work. He currently works with Perkins&Will’s New York studio. He has also helped improve the methods that architects use to share knowledge and explain architecture through the use of short films. He has created films and made presentations to the American Institute of Architects conventions and KA Connect. He continues to add sites to his video blog, Eat Drink See Architecture.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Thornton Tomasetti for generously hosting our working group meetings.

Thanks to our advisory committee for Rewire: Michael Haggerty, Gloria Lau, Pallavi Mantha, Tom Scarangello, Byron Stigge, and Georgeen Theodore.

Support

Rewire is made possible with lead support from Stantec and with the continued support of our Board of Directors, Director’s Circle, and Company Members, as well as our individual members through membership dues. To learn more about supporting this program, please contact Miranda Bellizia, miranda@urbandesignform.org.