Throughout the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, many New Yorkers have become far more aware of the inner workings of city and state government, especially through the daily press briefings delivered by Governor Andrew Cuomo. But behind the bullet points is an entire orchestra of government workers, regulators, city employees, and more who are firing on all cylinders to attack the crisis from all angles. Marisa Lago, head of the Department of City Planning and the chair of the City Planning Commission since early 2017, explains exactly what goes into city planning — and what citizens get out of it.
ABOUT OUR GUEST:
Marisa Lago was appointed as Director of the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) and Chair of the City Planning Commission (CPC) by Mayor Bill de Blasio in February 2017. Having previously served under Mayors Koch and Dinkins, this is her third stint working for the City of New York.
At DCP, Lago has spearheaded the adoption of transformative neighborhood plans, including in East Harlem and along the Bronx’s Jerome Avenue. Each of these comprehensive plans is the end result of extensive community engagement by the City to identify and meet the needs of longtime and future residents. She oversaw the adoption of the Greater East Midtown plan, which has already catalyzed new modern office development, secured public realm improvements and benefited local institutions in one of New York’s most important and busiest business districts. Under her direction, DCP has published digital tools that encourage civic participation, including interactive data maps. And, for the first time, DCP is now livestreaming CPC meetings for the public.
Before returning to New York City, Lago served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Before that, Lago was the President and Chief Executive Officer of New York State’s Empire State Development, where she advanced projects such as the construction of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the expansion and renovation of the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
Lago, who has also worked in the private sector, led the Boston Redevelopment Authority, where she was responsible for the city’s public housing, affordable housing, neighborhood development and job training agencies from 1994 to 1997.
From 1990 to 1994, Lago served as General Counsel of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation. Lago earned a J.D. cum laude in 1982 from Harvard Law School, and a B.S. in physics from Cooper Union in 1977.
LINKS RELATED TO THIS EPISODE:
- NYC Department of City Planning
- NYC City Planning Commission
- Follow NYC Department of City Planning on Twitter
- Follow NYC Department of City Planning on Instagram
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