Betsy MacLean, New York, NY

Executive Director, Hester Street Collaborative

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Betsy MacLean, an urban planner, has been engaged in groundbreaking community development work for more than 15 years. She is the Executive Director of Hester Street Collaborative, providing planning, design and development technical assistance to under-resourced communities throughout the US. Previously, as the Director of Community Development at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, she spearheaded the community-driven design and construction of Brooklyn’s first green public school and developed hundreds of units of affordable housing. Her innovative neighborhood planning and sustainability work has resulted in hundreds of energy efficiency retrofits, dramatically increased access to healthy food, and planning for long-term affordability and public health. Previously, Betsy directed an international community development program in Cuba and, before that, worked as a carpenter. Betsy is bilingual (Spanish/English) and holds master’s degrees in Urban Planning and International Development from Columbia University.

  • Permitting/navigating regulatory requirements

  • CDCs/ CDFIs

  • Sustainability / resilience

  • Urban design

  • Tactical urbanism

  • Urban farming and food justice

  • Activating vacant lots / vacant spaces

  • Other: real estate development + urban planning


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