PEOPLE

 

Gabriela Rendón
—Founder and Director

Gabriela Rendón is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Community Development at the School of Design Strategies, Parsons School of Design. From 2017 to 2019, she co-directed the MS in Design and Urban Ecologies and the MA in Theories of Urban Practice programs. She is currently a member of the Urban Council at the School of Design Strategies. Rendón holds a Ph.D. in Spatial Planning and Strategy and a MS in Urbanism from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and a BS in Architecture from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Mexico. She is a founding member of Urban Front and Cohabitation Strategies. Over the last fifteen years, Rendón has been engaged in housing and urban projects commissioned by art and cultural institutions, as well as municipalities and public agencies in diverse countries, including the Netherlands, Italy, France, Germany, Venezuela, Ecuador, Canada, and the United States. Read more→

 

Mia Charlene White
—Associate Director

Mia Charlene White is a parent, daughter, differently-abled dreamer from Queens, currently Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies in the Environmental Studies Program at the New Schools for Public Engagement, with a co-teaching appointment at the Milano School for International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy. She identifies as a Black woman of African American and Korean descent.  Mia is an ongoing faculty-affiliate of the Tishman Environment and Design Center, a 2017-18 Fellow with the Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography and Social Thought (GIDEST @ The New School), and a 2018-19 Faculty Fellow with the Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the University Faculty Senate, where she labors to build shared governance capacities across the university. Mia has a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Political Science from the State University of NY at Stonybrook, a Master of International Affairs (Environmental Policy / Environmental Justice focus) from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and a Ph.D in Urban Studies and Planning (Housing and Environment) from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Read more→

 

Kevin McQueen
—Associate Director

Kevin McQueen leads the Community Development Finance Lab at the Milano’s Nonprofit Management, Public, and Urban Policy Program. He balances his extensive experience in corporate finance with a deep commitment to facilitating social change through mission-driven organizations. McQueen pursues these dual passions as a partner at BWB Solutions LLC, a national consulting firm specializing in planning, governance, and impact investing. Before joining BWB in 2001, Kevin was an independent consultant, providing management and strategic planning assistance to public and private economic development organizations and financial intermediaries. He gained extensive experience in the corporate and development finance fields through positions with Citibank, NatWest, and Capital Impact Partners. Kevin also served as Chairman of the Board of Partners for the Common Good, an impact investment fund. Read More→

 

Jiray Avedisian
—Researcher

Jiray is a graduate student in the MS Design and Urban Ecologies program at Parsons School of Design at The New School. They have extensive experience in leadership development, dialogue-based problem solving, and administrative support. Their academic background is in political anthropology, and they are asking questions about incarceration and the political economy of US cities. Curious, imaginative, and proactive, Jiray is adept at identifying points of difference and communicating across diverse identities, experiences, and organizations.

 

 

Drake Reed
—Researcher

Drake is a nomadic urbanist with a background in grassroots housing advocacy. He received his B.S. at Towson University (‘15), in Baltimore Maryland. After college, he developed an interest in social anthropology and redlining in racially segregated cities. Since then he has lived in San Francisco where he worked in housing development and attained a post-baccalaureate at UC Berkely (‘19). Drake centers his practice in social infrastructure that focuses on the needs and evolution of black and brown neighborhoods. He is an illustrator,music-lover, videographer, and urban investigator who is passionate about developing data visualizations to imagine Afrofutures.  His current research addresses the necessity of a radical shift in affordable housing, which he envisions through centering blackness and all of its dimensions.

 

 Sara Devic
—Researcher

Sara is an urbanist and maker from Belgrade, Serbia, with an academic background in architecture and urban planning. She has been involved in urban justice movements in her hometown and the city administration helping develop the Housing Strategy for the City of Belgrade. Her experience, at the municipality and the streets, triggered her interest in the dynamic between activism and policy. Her current research focuses on New York City. She is delving into how housing justice groups with a long history of organizing, advocacy, and activism have managed to pass their demands into legislation. In the future, she intends to contribute to their empowerment by producing argumentation through alternative research approaches such as critical cartography and militant research. She hopes to close the gap between academic thought and lived urban experiences, contributing to envisioning a different world and actively building it.

 

Jason Brown
—Researcher

Jason is a community artist, facilitator, designer, and social investigator. As a designer, he started the brand Geocommunetrics, which seeks to explore aesthetic and psychogeographic investigations into place-based identities through textiles, installations, collective cartography, and creative collaborations. As an urbanist, he is informed by local community organizing, alternative housing models, participatory planning, and expressive, iterative making practices. Professionally, Jason has worked in spaces ranging from surface design to residential construction and design with various forms of community-based and educational programming and facilitation. These cross-scalar experiences are a base for current investigations into alternative community development models, critical pedagogies of place, and civic engagement.

 

Jacqueline Catañeda
—Researcher

Jacqueline Castañeda is an urban thinker with an academic background in Architecture and Urban Design. As an urbanist, her passion focuses on designing strategies, processes, and projects with an integrated approach, using both everyday tools and breakthrough technologies to develop a balanced and equitable society and preserve our environment. 
Her practice involves urban planning and design, public spaces, sustainable mobility strategies, participatory design, and community development. She co-founded CITAD, a design collective that aims to improve the urban experience for everyone. CITAD was a 2018 Public Access Design Fellow at the Center for Urban Pedagogy. Jacqueline is now based in Brooklyn, New York, where she is exploring and doing research about the intersection of spatial justice and women’s bodies.