Helping create equitable cities through inclusive design.

303 Bond Street

Brooklyn, NY  11232

212 924 7000


Drop us a line: vai@vanalen.org

Press inquiries: press@vanalen.org

Our Mission

Van Alen Institute helps create equitable cities through community-led inclusive design. In an equitable city, communities are engaged in the conception and creation of their built environment, regardless of income or personal circumstances. Community-driven decision-making builds resilience, social infrastructure, and ultimately, more just cities.

How We Work

We partner with leaders of historically disinvested communities to support their immediate needs and long term visions with our network, knowledge, and resources. We shape diverse interdisciplinary teams, build cross-sector public/private coalitions, and invest our own funds to support neighborhood priorities. By centering community in everything we do, our inclusive design method responds to the urgent need for social justice in citymaking.

For 129 years, our purposeful community engagement, convening capacity, and global network have produced profound transformations in the public realm of New York City and beyond. With an interdisciplinary approach to design, the Van Alen team has backgrounds in architecture, arts and culture, community organizing, preservation, and public policy.

Who We Are


Diana Araujo

Senior Project Manager, Programs

Andrew Brown

Director of Programs

Pratik Dubey

Strategic Partnerships Associate

Annie Ferreira

Strategic Partnerships Manager

Scott Kelly

Communications and Graphic Design Associate

Alisha Kim Levin

Director of Communications

Deborah Marton

Executive Director

Kate Overbeck

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Ren Reese

Managing Director


Carla Swickerath

Partner, Studio Libeskind

Jared Della Valle

CEO & Founder, Alloy

Jenn Gustetic

Innovation and Technology Executive

Michael Bednark

CEO, Bednark Studio Inc.

Robert Bernstein

Partner, Holland & Knight

Mark Gardner

Principal, Jaklitsch / Gardner Architects

Mark Johnson

President, Civitas

Casey Jones

Director of Civic Projects, Perkins&Will

Latoya Kamdang

Visiting Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

May Lee

Partner, The Seelig Group

Sandy Lee

Principal, Eight Seven Capital

Nnenna Lynch

Founder, Xylem Projects

V. Mitch McEwen

Principal, Atelier Office

Katie Swenson

Senior Principal, MASS Design Group

Carol E. Rosenthal

Partner, Real Estate, Fried Frank

Kia Weatherspoon

Founder, Determined by Design

Byron Bell

Byron Bell Architects & Planners


Carl Bäckstrand

Partner & Vice President, White

Alfredo Caraballo

Partner, Allies and Morrison

Daniel Elsea

Director, Allies and Morrison

Mark Johnson

President, Civitas

Steven Baumgartner

Director, Baumgartner Urban Systems Strategy

Jonas Edblad

Partner, Wingårdhs Arkitektkontor

Denzil Gallagher

Principal, BuroHappold Engineering

Tyler McIntyre

Partner, Design and Construction, Fairstead

Nat Oppenheimer

Executive Vice President/Principal, Silman

Chris Reed

Founding Director, Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Carol E. Rosenthal

Partner, Real Estate, Fried Frank

Benjamin G. Saxe

Executive Director, Studio Saxe

S. Bry Sarté

Founder, Sherwood Design Engineers

Susanna Sirefman

President, Dovetail Design Strategists

Gary Sorge

Vice President, Director of Landscape Architecture, Stantec

Kishore Varanasi

Director of Urban Design, CBT

Erik Verboon

Principal, Managing Director, Walter P Moore

Amy Whitesides

Director, Stoss Landscape Urbanism

Barbara Wilks

Principal and Founder, W Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Gert Wingårdh

Founder, Wingårdhs Arkitektkontor

Our History

1894 – 1955

Society for Beaux-Arts Architecture

We started with a commitment to accessible design education, founded in the aesthetics of the Beaux-Arts era.

1956 – 1995

National Institute for Architectural Education

Over time, we expanded beyond a particular style, and came to understand the power of design professionals to do good in the world.

1996 – 2019

Van Alen Institute: Projects in Public Places

With a belief that design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives, we developed research, public programs, and design competitions.

2020 – present

Van Alen Institute, today

We help create equitable cities through inclusive design. Community-driven decision-making builds resilience, social infrastructure, and more just cities.

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