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Melissa Lee, CNU-A

Silhouette Image (Melissa Lee)

Pairs radical imagination with action to lead the development of innovative planning, placemaking, economic development, and community engagement solutions for the government, nonprofit, and private sectors.

About Melissa

Melissa leads Public Works’ urban planning practice, called Community Health, which focuses on creating stronger neighborhoods through planning, placemaking, economic development, and community engagement. She is committed to making planning more responsive to the quality of life demands of all populations, developing new tools for understanding how social and economic conditions affect access across racial and socioeconomic disparities, and diversifying the involvement of those participating in planning processes.

A veteran in the field, Melissa brings more than 25 years of experience delivering urban planning solutions in the government, nonprofit, and private sectors. From capital improvement strategies to community engagement, she has shared her talents across the country, from New York City to New Orleans to Pasadena, CA. Melissa’s work building stronger communities has included roles with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, where she launched and managed significant grantmaking initiatives, and the Office of the New York City Mayor, where she oversaw a $15 million streetscape project.

Melissa is accredited with the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). She serves as an adjunct lecturer for the Sustainable Real Estate & Development program at Tulane University’s School of Architecture, a delegate for the American Planning Association Assembly for Climate Change, and a board member of Sankofa Community Development Corporation, PlayBuild NOLA STEAM:CODERS and the League of American Bicyclists. A sought-after speaker for industry conferences, she has shared her insights with the American Planning Association, AIA’s Women in Architecture, International Placemaking Week, and the Building Resilience Conference. Melissa holds an MPA in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from New York University and a B.A. in International Relations & Affairs from the University of Redlands. She is a proud alumna of Coro Leadership New York and Coro Southern California Women in Leadership.

Melissa by the Metrics

  • Years as a trained yoga instructor: 11
  • Number of Latin dance styles mastered: 4 (Salsa, Rumba, Cha-cha and Merengue)
  • Volunteer hours with The Links, Incorporated: 400
  • Countries travelled to: 20+ and counting.

Service Areas

Place-based Planning

Taskforce & Advisory Board Facilitation

Stakeholder Engagement


Transportation & Infrastructure

Environment & Climate Resilience

Economic & Community Development


The Latest from Melissa Lee, CNU-A

Public Works Partners Welcomes Melissa S. Lee as Principal, Head of Community Health Practice

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