American Friends of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

A Professional Partner of The

Alexander von Humboldt - Foundation

Urban Planning

Urban Planning

Michael Amabile (2011-12)
Prior to his year as a German Chancellor Fellow, Michael had been working as a planner with the New York City Department of Transportation. As a BUKA, he conducted research on non-motorized transport (NMT) at the European Institute for Sustainable Transport (EURIST) in Hamburg. Specifically he wanted to learn which programs and strategies were successful in encouraging people to switch from driving to more sustainable transport modes. He was able to interview city planners and transport professionals in most German cities recognized as leaders in NMT planning/promotion. He also conducted rider surveys of people using Fahrradstationen (Bike Stations) in Kiel and Hamburg to identify attitudinal differences across different user groups. Michael has a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from Pratt in Brooklyn and a Bachelor’s degree in history from Le Moyne College in Syracuse. He uses his experience and knowledge from Germany as much as possible in his current work with the global design, planning and engineering firm, Arup. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons, all of whom were with him in Germany for his BUKA year. (4/14)

Andrea Broaddus (2006-07)
Andrea’s year as a German Chancellor Fellow was spent at the Institute for Transportation Planning and Logistics at the Hamburg University of Technology. She studied the German policy of tolling freight trucks on autobahns, and other road pricing applications in Europe. Her paper on this topic was published by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Science in 2008. As a fellow, she also spent a month as a guest researcher with the European NGO Transport & Environment in Brussels. Andrea completed a Master of Public Policy/Urban Planning at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in 2006. Her experience includes working on local, state and federal transportation policy in Washington, DC for the Surface Transportation Policy Project, and as a Senior Associate with Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates. In 2009, Andrea became a PhD student and research fellow at UC Berkeley Center for Future Urban Transport. (2/4/10)

Theodore Brown (2014-2015)
During his fellowship year in Germany, Theodore will be hosted by Ulrich Weber Deutsche Bahn AG Berlin. Previously, he directed a multi-million dollar program for New York City called “Drive Smart,” which was geared towards reducing congestion and traffic fatalities, identifying hot spots for near-miss accidents, increasing fuel efficiency, and flattening demand curves for major thoroughfares through incentives and gamification. He has also served as a contract consultant to the U.S. Department of Transportation at the John Volpe National Transportation System Center. Theodore earned a B.A. in Environmental Arts and Policy from Boston University, and a minor in Creative Writing.(2/20/15)

Jamie Chan (2003-04)
Jamie obtained a Master of Architecture from Columbia University in 2001 and is now an urban designer at the New York City Department of City Planning. Prior to the German Chancellor Fellowship, she worked on sustainable architectural design at Demetri Sarantitis Architects in NYC. During her year in Germany, Jamie interned with several organizations learning about environmentally-conscious building and planning practices. Most of her time was spent at the planning agency of the City of Freiburg, where she studied progressive policies and implementations, and at the Überlingen-based landscape architecture firm, Atelier Dreiseitl, where she trained in such ecological practices as storm water management. (5/15/06)

Josh Crites (2014-15)
Leading up to Josh’s participation in the German Chancellor Fellowship Program, he served as a Strategic Advisor at the Seattle Housing Authority and a Policy Analyst at the Tacoma Housing Authority both in Washington State. As a German Chancellor Fellow, Josh will spend the year in Hannover working on a project that examines the financing, design and administration of affordable housing. He will be located at Gesellschaft für Bauen und Wohnen Hannover. Josh is looking for best practices that could be applied in the affordable housing industry back in the U.S.A. (7/21/14)

Joel Dabu (2009-10)
Prior to receiving the German Chancellor Fellowship, Joel was employed as the Director for Commercial Revitalization for the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in the borough of Brooklyn in New York City. During his tenure at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Joel established the Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District and played a leading role in a variety of other real estate and retail development planning initiatives aimed at improving economic and social conditions in the community. Immediatey prior to being employed by Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, Joel worked as a city planner for the New York City Department of City Planning. Joel received a Master of Urban Planning from New York University and B.A. from The George Washington University and is a 2002 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Scholar. During his fellowship year in Germany, Joel will be based in the Leipzig office of the city management and consulting firm CIMA, and will be conducting research on downtown retail development and revitalization strategies of German and other European cities. (10/30/09)

Claire (Kelai) Diebel (2016-17)
Kelai completed her Master of Architecture with a direction on Green Infrastructure at Tongji University in 2016, where she was the recipient of the Chinese Government Scholarship. Previously as design manager at Stefano Boeri Architetti Shanghai, she developed concepts for the Chinese Vertical Forest. Her German Chancellor Fellowship project, “Upfarming”, has investigated Building Integrated Agriculture with her host, Prof. Dr. Manfred Koehler. The pillar of “Upfarming” was carrying out more than 60 urban farming case studies to identify patterns and draw conclusions on project typologies and trends (see more at Now, as project manager at Makers of Sustainable Spaces ( in Amsterdam, Kelai ripens her research into practice, as she plans and designs urban oases and edible architecture. (3/19/18)

Rebecca Garcia (2011-12)
Rebecca Garcia is currently an MUP candidate (2011) at the School of Planning, Policy and Development at the University of Southern California. During her BUKA year, Rebecca will identify specific lessons to be learned from major German high-speed rail stations in order to inform future planning for high-speed rail stations in California. The proposal is a response to the need for better guidelines for the development and implementation of high-speed rail stations in California. The aim of her project is to understand Germany’s successful experience in developing large high-speed rail stations in the hopes that it will help guide systems planning in California at many levels and better illuminate the ways stations relate to transit users, existing transit systems, and the surrounding urban environment. The research is a response to the growing need for a broad-based study that documents major challenges that California faces in the sitting and design of high-speed rail stations and Rebecca will make recommendations to successfully meet those challenges. (4/27/11)

Geraldine Gardner (2000-01)
Geraldine Ide Gardner is the director of the Urban and Regional Policy program at the German Marshall of the United States (GMF).  At GMF, Geraldine leads the program’s transatlantic initiatives to convene policymakers and practitioners from U.S. and European cities to explore key issues in the transatlantic urban agenda. Her expertise lies in the integrated policies and cross-sector partnerships needed to build sustainable and inclusive cities, while increasing the economic competitiveness of city-regions in the global arena.  Prior to joining GMF in 2012, Geraldine served in key leadership positions under three different mayors of the District of Columbia. Most notably, she served for five years as the associate director for neighborhood planning in the DC Office of Planning. In this role, she led the successful completion of over 18 neighborhood and revitalization plans that reshaped the physical landscape of the city, including the master plan to develop the historic Saint Elizabeth East Campus. Geraldine spent her year as a German Chancellor Fellow in Berlin examining contested urban development and planning projects. After returning to the United States, she used her research to complete a master’s degree in Urban Planning at UCLA where she wrote about the construction of Berlin as a “creative city.”  Geraldine also currently serves as adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s Urban Planning Department. (7/8/15)

Jennifer Gerend (2006-07)
Leading up to Jennifer’s participation in the German Chancellor Fellowship Program, she served as the Economic Development Director for the City of Edmonds, Washington. As a German Chancellor Fellow, Jennifer spent the year in Berlin working on a project involving the balance of long-term city planning principles and the need for economic development and municipal revenue generation. She was mentored by the Berlin city agency for urban development and a real estate institute in Bochum. Articles were published as a result of this work in “Planning” and “Urban Land” magazines. She spent a second year in Germany working as a city planner for the City of Trier. Currently, she is a member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, where she teaches land use. (6/26/09)

Wyatt Gordon (2017-18)
Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Wyatt Gordon is an urban planner and community organizer with extensive experience in Germany, Indonesia, and Hawai’i. Wyatt received his Bachelor’s in International Political Economy from the American University in D.C.  As an East-West Center Graduate Degree Fellow and an Ann-Dunham Soetoro Scholar, he spent two years earning his Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  His thesis research comparing participatory budgeting in Indonesia, Germany, and the United States earned him a spot as a German Chancellor Fellow, examining Bürgerhaushalt mechanisms in Berlin that increase public engagement in urban governance.  Wyatt’s work with Antje Kapek, Head of the Berlin Green Party and Speaker for Urban Development for the Berlin State Legislature, aims to suss out best practices in participatory budgeting.  Wyatt plans to compile his findings into a handbook for American practitioners seeking to launch, refine, or reform participatory budgeting systems in their own cities. (7/12/17)

Danielle “D.S.” Pensley (2001-02)
On the easternmost edge of Berlin lies the housing development of Hellersdorf: four- and five-story concrete buildings extending into the distance. More than ten years earlier, D.S. had analyzed the construction of this hyper-settlement under the command-and-control economy of a socialist regime. (In contrast, the settlement’s architectural antecedents bespoke a humane approach to urban planning.) Returning to Hellersdorf as a German Chancellor Fellow, she conducted interviews and other forms of qualitative research to understand how residents viewed the hyper-settlement within the changed context of their lives given the demise of the German Democratic Republic. D.S. is now completing a clerkship on the United States Court of Federal Claims, and writing a master’s thesis on historic preservation law as applied to environmental conservation. (6/26/09)

Keith Platte (2013-14)
Keith Platte works for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in Washington DC. His duties includes the management or assistance in the management of multiple Technical Service Programs and Committees, including AASHTOWare Training development, Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) 2, Transportation Curriculum Coordination Council (TC3), National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP), AASHTO Innovation Initiative (A.I.I.), and Research Advisory Committee.  Keith’s German Chancellor Fellow project examined the implementation of new innovation and technologies in the transportation industry. Keith conducted his research at Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen (Federal Highways Research Institute), where he studied the German experience concerning the country´s role in the implementation of vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure technologies. Keith has a Master’s degree in Transportation Policy, Operations and Logistics from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Arizona State University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer, and has over 15 years of work experience in private, public and non-profit transportation organizations.  He currently lives in the Rockville Maryland with his wife Erin and German Shepherd Sheila.  In his free time enjoys watching, attending and playing sports (yes, Fußball), listening to music, and binge watching the latest series on Netflix. (7/7/17)

Matthew Rao (2005-06)
Matthew is a planner and community organizer who is interested in the ability of urban neighborhoods to shape themselves and determine their future. As a German Chancellor Fellow, Matthew worked in the East German city of Halle (Saale) as a guest researcher in the department of City Planning comparing urban redevelopment practices and perspectives with those in his adopted home of Philadelphia. While in Halle, he also founded HausHaltenHalle, a nonprofit community organization that connects the owners of vacant buildings with artists and small businesses in need of affordable space. After Halle, Matthew worked as the Director of Commercial Revitalization for the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation and has also worked for the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Transformation (NTI) in Philadelphia and for a member of the German Parliament in Berlin. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and also holds a B.A. in Urban Studies and Political Science from Penn. (7/2/09)

Emily Yates (2010-11)
Prior to Emily’s participation in the German Chancellor Fellowship Program, she served as the Ward 2 Neighborhood Planner for the District of Columbia Office of Planning. As a German Chancellor Fellow, Emily will be spending her year in Hamburg using the waterfront brownfield development project of HafenCity as a case study to look at the application and implementation of green infrastructure and how it has been used to cope with climate change within a waterfront development project. She is being mentored by Hamburg’s State Ministry of Urban Development and Environment’s Coordination Centre for Climate Issues. Emily hopes to combine her BS in Landscape Architecture and her professional background in Urban Planning to create a report that can be applied to all waterfront cities, but specifically Washington DC, and that will provide guidance on successful implementation of green infrastructure into a urban waterfront fabric. (5/6/10)

Nella Young (2009-10)
Nella Young is a Senior Program Director with the National Design Initiatives at Enterprise Community Partners. She stewards the integration of creative placemaking and community-engaged design to create sustainable, resilient communities, and supports the development of professionals working in social impact design. She has a background in urban planning and experiential education and has been involved in projects covering a range of topics including infrastructure for active living, economic development for the creative sector, and policies that improve access to healthy food. Nella holds a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning from Tufts University and a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University where she majored in studio arts. During her German Chancellor Fellowship, she was based at the Bauhaus and studied planning strategies for shrinking cities. (7/7/17)