WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities helps create accessible, equitable, healthy and resilient urban areas for people, businesses and the environment to thrive. Together with partners, it enables more connected, compact and coordinated cities. The Center expands the transport and urban development expertise of the EMBARQ network to catalyze innovative solutions in other sectors, including water, buildings, land use and energy. It combines the research excellence of WRI with 15 years of on-the-ground impact through a network of more than 250 experts working from Brazil, China, Ethiopia, India, Mexico and Turkey to make cities around the world better places to live.
About the Role
We seek a creative and multi-talented individual to fill role of Director of Urban Development within Sustainable Cities. Reporting to the WRI Global Director of Sustainable Cities and a core member of the Executive Team, you will help guide the overall strategy for the Cities program. You will lead the Urban Development work stream which is delivered by expert teams in over six countries working on urban planning, data, governance, nature-based solutions and resilience.
Your objective is to:
- Ensure effective strategy alignment across the network;
- Lead a global strategy for the Urban Development work stream, with a research agenda and work plan, in coordination with other work stream leads;
- Integrate work across land use and spatial planning, mobility and complete streets, and urban forestry into a cohesive strategy for helping cities become the best version of themselves;
- Work across the network to design programs and projects which will help the program better identify and fill knowledge gaps in urban planning to achieve these goals from neighborhood to metropolitan scales;
- Scale impact of our work through national policy, capacity building, city‐to‐city learning, and global dissemination of tools and research;
- Bring creative thinking and develop innovative solutions to address complex urban challenges;
- Grow and coordinate a community of practice and experts across the globe, managing and mentoring a cadre of professional staff;
- Raise funds to initiate and develop a coherent and compelling portfolio of projects, ensuring alignment with the global and country strategies; and
- Work on the connections with different WRI programs such as Forests and Water to improve the urban environment and scale up WRI’s impact.
In addition to the internal responsibilities, you will also serve in an external capacity, collaborating with other Cities Executive Team members, to shape and develop a strategy for how WRI Cities engages with local and regional political leaders, and engage at a strategic level on the city’s vision and future urban growth. You will engage directly with city leaders and policy makers in developing countries. Ideal candidates will have extensive experience working with city-level staff and stakeholders in a similar capacity. You will also interface with key donors.
The position will be located in Washington, D.C. and includes international travel, approximately 25% of the time.
You may work in any of our regional offices where you are legally able including: Mexico, Brazil, India, China, Turkey or Washington-DC.
What You're Gonna Do
- In partnership with country teams, represent the WRI Cities approach on integrated planning through direct engagement and interaction with cities.
- Define and deploy a strategic approach to integrated planning for low-carbon, resilient, land use and mobility, in partnership with other Cities Executive Team members, drawing upon the program’s expertise and tools in urban transport, land use, energy & climate, water, governance, and resilience.
- Develop the strategy to address challenges of sprawl and livability.
- Collaborate closely with the technical directors of mobility, energy, climate and research.
- Manage sectoral work on urban development, governance and resilience, and leveraging communities of practice in these sectors across the 6-country network.
- Develop and lead research on integrated planning, including good practice, lessons learned, enabling conditions, and additional sub-topics of high value.
- Contribute to defining metrics and developing tools that support a strategic urban agenda.
- Represent the program externally on key topics of expertise, at conferences or meetings, in writing, and occasionally with media. Liaise directly with selected partners to develop alliances that help the program deliver integrated services.
- Use your professional network to develop new partnerships.
- Lead or play an instrumental role in significant fundraising efforts, particularly on multi-sector topics, from developing the opportunity and pitching the proposal, to stewarding the donor.
- Convene a team of practice area leads to identify synergies across projects, establish strategic offers and develop processes to fortify communication and collaboration across areas.
- Facilitate effective annual project planning by fostering collaboration and integration of core offers.
- Grow the practice and manage a unit and staff, and corresponding budget.
- Master’s degree in planning, urbanism, or economic/urban development with an excellent understanding of urban transport, land use, climate, energy, water, vulnerability and governance
- 15 years of relevant full-time work experience
- 8 or more years of previous experience developing and growing urban programs, large-scale projects, innovative business models, and/or new products and services
- Demonstrated success crafting evidence-based multi-sector strategies and projects that unify and define a clear and effective approach in less developed countries, particularly in Africa and Asia
- Experience in urban land-use planning, entrepreneurial approaches, economic development, regeneration, financing, and resilience strategies is a plus
- Significant experience working directly with city governments or at the metropolitan scale to implement real-world projects with measurable positive results
- Solid understanding of governance and urbanization issues in less developed countries, particularly if based on work or life experience in those countries
- Experience leading successful, large fundraising efforts, especially with bilateral aid agencies
- Excellent speaking, writing, quantitative, and analytical skills, with excellent command of written and spoken English
- Working knowledge of one or more of the following languages is highly desirable: Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Mandarin, Cantonese, a major Indian language, and/or a major African language
- Ability to learn new software and systems quickly
- Demonstrated mastery of MS Office Suite, Adobe Suite, and demonstrate good understanding of CAD, 3D modelling or rendering software and GIS mapping applications
- Ability and aptitude to pursue several tasks in parallel and prioritize; handle tight deadlines; and expand the scope of work and responsibilities as needed
- Demonstrate team spirit with excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work in a multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary environment with staff and external stakeholders at all levels, demonstrating the ability to respond and deal effectively with diverse situations using good judgment, tact, and diplomacy
- Willingness and ability to travel or participate in international meetings and work with diverse professionals and cultures
- Proactive attitude, a self-starter, and team player with a high degree of motivation, initiative, reliability and willingness to help others to meet WRI work objectives
Unfortunately, it seems like this job is not available for international candidates. Unless you’re eligible for a work visa otherwise, please double-check with the company.