Architect from Mumbai is transforming New York City’s public-housing portfolio

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], April 12: Vaidehi Mody’s studies in architecture in Mumbai laid the foundation for her curiosity in urban place-making– a process-driven approach to planning and designing spaces with and for the people. Place-making shapes the public realm in order to maximize value, promoting better urban design principles, and contribute to the community’s health, happiness, and well-being. Vaidehi saw the power of this potential impact as a design professional and headed to Pratt Institute in New York City for further studies on this topic.

Since 2019, she has worked in the public sector of one of the most dynamic and interesting cities in the world, transforming open spaces and enhancing the quality of life of low-income New Yorkers. Having started as an intern, Vaidehi is now a Senior Planning Consultant, advancing and managing a groundbreaking program known as ‘Connected Communities’ within New York City’s public housing agency. Within that, she leads partnership projects, policy innovation, and participatory planning and design efforts. This program has received widespread recognition, including the international Well Being Cities Award in 2020.

Out of all her work, Vaidehi is most proud of the Open Space Masterplan project for the city’s public housing—the first master plan of this scale in the history of the agency. This project is leading to millions of dollars in investment towards the public housing landscapes and has won multiple awards.

The 28-year-old Mumbaiker believes that design cannot be individualistic and is only sensible and successful when done in collaboration with the people who it’s meant for. She wants to spread awareness about the impact of working in the public sector as a planning professional and hopes to inspire many newcomers in this industry to explore the same. Her work continues to bridge the gap between policy, planning and community and develop innovative solutions in the built environment.

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