Celebrating Our Inaugural Cohort of NYC Community Planning Fellows
Three Spitzer School graduate students comprise CCNY’s inaugural cohort of NYC Community Planning Fellows. Jeana Fletcher MLA ’22, Pedro Cruz M Arch ’22, and Victor Gorlach M Arch ’22 will be working within local community boards on real-world planning, design, and land-use issues for an equitable and inclusive recovery. They are among two dozen graduate students awarded this opportunity city-wide and are now being matched with community boards and nonprofits to work/research approximately a dozen hours per week this academic year.
City College was newly invited to join the program this year by the Fund for the City of New York, which was established by the Ford Foundation and provides financial support for the fellowship. Baruch College, Hunter College, Columbia University, New York University, The New School, and Pratt Institute also participate.
The Fund created the NYC Community Planning Fellows program to improve the capacity of community boards to undertake planning activities and to develop the next generation of urban planners and policymakers, instilling in them a first-hand appreciation of local government and planning issues from the perspective of community boards.
Jeana graduated from Fordham University in 2009, where she studied visual arts with a concentration in Architectural Design and a minor in Environmental Policy. As she enters the third year of her master’s program in landscape architecture this fall, the movement for a sustainable future in the city has guided her interests toward environmentally conscious strategies of sustainable maintenance and material choices. Jeana hopes to lead the sustainable vision of future public space design and create environmentally conscious spaces that meet the needs of communities.
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Pedro moved to the United States to study how to rebuild communities while targeting social issues through inclusive building practices, after living through the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017. After graduating from the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras in 2018, Pedro embarked on the opportunity to work for Enterprise Community Partners, a national non-profit organization based in New York that advocates for racial equity, building resilient communities, and planning for disaster recovery. Once he completes his studies, Pedro would like to continue his research on planning for the stateless, and work in advocacy, planning, and public policy.
Victor earned a B.A. in Economics from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, where he harnessed an interest in how design can improve people’s lives and the injustices that arise from modern human organization. During his second year at Spitzer, Victor researched health inequalities in Queens, studying neighborhood and lack of access to fresh, organic foods as part of a year-long studio, titled “Building Culture.” Victor is most passionate about immersing himself in the communities he hopes to design for, and being that he was born in New York, is enlivened to be back in the city and is taking advantage of all the opportunities the city has to offer.