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Jessica Lax

Director of Strategic Initiatives


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Jessica Lax is an urban planner and strategist focused on social and economic justice. At Van Alen Institute, Jessica leads the organization’s civic design initiatives and advisory services. Notable projects include Justice in Design, which created a proposal to shut down Rikers Island and develop a borough-based jail model, now being adopted by New York City; and Keeping Current, which resulted in a stormwater retention park and flood management master plan in the Miami area. Prior to joining Van Alen, Jessica worked at the NYC Department of Transportation and Economic Development Corporation where she launched NYC’s first vacant lot activation program, low-income entrepreneurship incubator, and bicycle infrastructure in Queens.