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Abby zan

A B B Y . Z A N

I am an urban planner, researcher, and engagement specialist committed to the collaborative, imaginative pursuit of more equitable, just, and sustainable cities. I am an Associate and Urban Planner at WXY, where I work on projects with a wide range of clients in the public and private sectors. I hold an M.S. in Design and Urban Ecologies from Parsons School of Design, The New School. 


I developed Climate of Change, an action research project and design prototype for collaboratively envisioning and planning climate resilience in Washington, D.C. Other recent projects include Shifting Foundations, a design and policy brief project about post-disaster aid and social cohesion in The Rockaways, NY, and a research project with community planners in San Juan, Puerto Rico about participation and equity in disaster mitigation, supported by a grant from the Zolberg Institute. Other research and design highlights include The Housing Issue, a community gazette about housing inequity and cooperative economies in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and Who is the Renaissance For?, an action research project about arts and gentrification in Newark, New Jersey.

Prior to my graduate studies, I worked as the Connectivity Associate at Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Washington, DC), where I led initiatives in community engagement, designed interactive lobby exhibits, and curated over 90 public programming events. In Chicago, I worked as a teaching artist, facilitator, and cultural producer with a wide variety of organizations, including Redmoon Theater, Changing Worlds, Actors Training Center, and Rivendell Theater Company. I am a co-founder and former Education Coordinator of FYI: For Youth Inquiry, an organization that designs participatory theatre with and for young people in Chicago and their allies around issues of sexual health and reproductive justice. We are in the process of publishing our first book, The Participatory Sex Ed Playbook, which documents our practices designing performances, curriculum, and programs in schools and community centers throughout Chicago.

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