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At Van Alen Institute, we believe design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives. We collaborate with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than a century of experience, we develop cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and inventive design competitions.


Reporting to the Interim Executive Director, the Manager of Marketing and Communications will work with departments and programs across the organization to plan and implement communications strategies that support the mission, vision, and activities of Van Alen Institute.  

In consultation with the Interim Executive Director and key staff, this position will develop and implement an organization-wide, integrated marketing and communications plan, delivering stimulating and dynamic communications that activate audiences, constituents and media. This role will design, manage, and oversee marketing, communications, public relations, web, social media, and other outreach efforts, working collaboratively with multi-disciplinary teams, and national and international project partners, to support the organization’s design competitions, public programs, research, and multi-year special initiatives.

The Manager of Marketing and Communications will use their editorial and creative writing skills to develop and shape an intelligent voice and energetic message for the organization, and will ensure the highest caliber communications, with consistent language, look and tone across all public written materials.

This position is supported by a Marketing and Communications Coordinator and internationally recognized branding and digital design firms.


Specific duties include but are not limited to:

  • Plan, oversee, and implement an organization-wide communications plan.
  • Develop and manage the Institute’s communications budget and timeline in consultation with key stakeholders.
  • Work closely with internal teams and project partners to strategize, schedule, and execute key press and profile moments for projects, while ensuring alignment with other institutional and external activities.
  • Plan and coordinate marketing campaigns to increase awareness of the organization’s work and profile, creating an influential presence in design and general press.
  • Be aware of marketing developments in the field and adopt new approaches as needed.
  • Write, create, distribute, and edit captivating print marketing materials, including press releases, press kits, general announcements, and promotional and narrative content, including key Board communications and fundraising materials.
  • Source imagery to accompany the Institute’s projects and publicity.
  • Cultivate and maintain media contacts and partners, act as key contact for media inquiries, recommend media plan for specific series and initiatives, and secure placement in print, television, radio, as well as digital and social media.
  • Generate and implement new content ideas for digital initiatives, and the Institute’s social media accounts and website, including crafting and posting original content, event photography, and videos.
  • Develop and coordinate email communications and outreach that promotes and supports the Institute’s projects and activities, collaborating with project teams to achieve visibility and increase audience.
  • Track and analyze results of campaigns to optimize future performance and growth.
  • Monitor broadcast, electronic, social media, and print coverage, provide reports, maintain archive of media coverage, and manage press clippings to be shared internally and with key stakeholders.
  • Work with external designers, photographers, vendors, editors and consultants as needed.
  • Work collaboratively with internal departments to develop and maintain relationships with constituents and contact lists.
  • Develop and manage internal and external review processes for communications.
  • In consultation with key stakeholders, set clear communications targets and report regularly on progress.
  • Serve as support for crisis management issues that arise, tactfully and expeditiously providing both direction and resolution.


  • 5-7 years’ experience in a public relations, communications, non-profit, cultural, or arts organization with a focus on design, urban planning, or architecture.
  • Exceptional written, verbal, and visual communication skills.
  • Strong copywriting and copyediting skills.
  • Demonstrated experience and success in planning and executing cohesive marketing and communications campaigns across content channels, on time and on budget.
  • Demonstrated ability to synthesize material into effective and impactful campaigns.
  • Experience analyzing channels, websites, and campaigns, and implementing learnings.
  • Deep familiarity with major design and general press outlets, and proven track record with news media and press, including placement in high profile outlets.
  • Experience in creating and implementing social media growth strategies and using publishing platforms.
  • Proficiency in HTML/CSS, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Google Analytics and other audience tracking analytics.
  • Experience with database maintenance and management, and familiarity with Salesforce or comparable CRM software required.
  • Competent in executing delegated tasks, communicating progress, and working proactively.
  • Ability to work collaboratively across departments and large multi-disciplinary teams, to multi-task and manage several projects at a time, and function under deadline pressure.


Please send your application to with cover letter and resume in a single PDF with subject line “Manager of Marketing and Communications: [your name].”

The salary range for this position is $65,000-$70,000 annually. Generous benefits are provided at no extra cost to employee. Contribution is required for dependents. Van Alen Institute is an equal opportunity employer.

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Van Alen Institute internships are an opportunity to get involved in a diverse range of activities across our research, competitions, programming, councils, special projects, and communications and development initiatives. Internships are part-time and based at the Institute’s office in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood.

Van Alen is currently offering summer internships in the following areas:

The Van Alen Communications team is responsible for conveying the mission of the institution through media and public relations with the goal of engaging individuals who share our belief that design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives. The Communications intern will research individuals and companies in the fields of architecture and design, assist in preparation of written and multimedia content, assist with the development editorial content, support the implementation process for website and database projects, and assist with the launch of press initiatives and social media promotion.

Van Alen design competitions invite interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative solutions and ideas to tackle a variety of urban challenges. The Competitions intern will assist with research across Competitions topic areas, support communication with design firms, project partners, and various stakeholders in competitions development and execution, support CRM initiatives for project press and outreach, and provide logistical support for events. Familiarity with basic graphic design and web design appreciated.

Van Alen Councils serve as a platform for exchange among leading architects, designers, developers, and planners, and provide thought leadership on Van Alen’s research, competitions, and programming. The Councils intern will support the International Council, Climate Council, and Program Leadership Council by assisting with curatorial research, supporting prospect research and outreach, assisting with production of digital and print materials, and providing logistical support for Council convenings. Event management experience and an interest in fundraising appreciated.

The Van Alen Development team raises funds for all activities across the Institute’s initiatives. The Development intern will assist with benefit event planning, outreach, and marketing, support CRM database management, conduct prospect research, assist with production of print and digital materials, and provide support for departmental operations. An interest in non-profit development desired.

Public Programs
The Van Alen Public Programs team hosts energetic and engaging public events in New York City for a broad audience of urban enthusiasts and professionals. The Public Programs intern will support the planning and production of Van Alen’s public program series, assist with marketing and outreach, correspond with participants, conduct curatorial research, and support on-site logistics and event documentation.

Van Alen’s research is grounded in a firm belief that design is a crucial tool for investigating the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges we face. The Research intern will support Van Alen research initiatives through project planning and production, including urban and archival research, assisting in the creation of editorial content such as reports, online resources, and publications, and assisting in facilitation of interdisciplinary research partnerships.

Strategic Initiatives
Van Alen’s Strategic Initiatives department develops pathways to maximize organizational impact and increase organizational efficiencies through comprehensive program planning. Working with the Director of Strategic Initiatives, the candidate will assist with research on cities, urban design, field experts, and inclusive growth, and will gain project management skills by supporting the organization’s new thematic exploration and interacting with departments across the institution.


Van Alen seeks interns with a strong connection to our mission and projects, and an interest in gaining exposure to relevant professional experience. Desired background includes:

  • Strong interest and/or background in urban studies, architecture, design, or a related field
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Collaborative and comfortable working with a wide range of project partners, stakeholders, and audiences
  • Flexible, organized, keen eye for detail, and able to multitask
  • Self-directed, with a professional attitude toward all levels of assigned tasks

Internships require a commitment of up to three days per week in the Van Alen office for a minimum of three months, with the opportunity to work flexibly and independently as needed. Participants in the Van Alen Internship Program receive a monthly stipend of $600. Candidates may also arrange academic credit and outside funding sources.


To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and writing sample in a single PDF to Please indicate in your cover letter the internship area to which you are applying.

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We’re currently seeking enthusiastic volunteers who are interested in helping our small staff to make Van Alen programs and events happen. Roles will be tailored according to the volunteer’s interest, past experience, and strengths.