Our co-founders have been working together since 2016, when they met at Gehl Institute, a non-profit dedicated to putting public life on the agenda of cities. Our varied backgrounds—in urban design, planning, political science, architecture, geography, and policy—have come together to bring diverse perspectives on the critical questions of developing deeper understanding of urban issues.

Shin-pei Tsay, Founder and Advisor

Shin-pei is a social innovator at heart. Her experience in practice and policy converges on transforming the built environment so that it centers people. Her expertise in transportation, climate change, urban policy, design, and governance provides a unique perspective on the systems shaping the public realm and subsequently the solutions to change them. She is currently director of policy for cities and transportation at Uber and has held executive leadership roles at many types of organizations, including Gehl Institute, TransitCenter, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Transportation Alternatives, and Project for Public Spaces, often joining them at a pivot point to develop new directions. Her work has resulted in fresh approaches in advocacy, design, and implementation for a people-first public realm, with an orientation on maximizing public benefit and inclusion. The impact of her work can be experienced in cities around the world, from the play streets, plazas, and bike lanes in New York City and Rio de Janeiro to the sustainable mobility plans for cities in the European Union. Shin-pei is a sought-after speaker, often serving on juries and panels, and giving lectures and keynotes. She is on the Board of Transportation Alternatives and ioby, and is a commissioner for the New York City Public Design Commission. She is also an adjunct professor in Columbia University’s urban design graduate program. Shin-pei received her bachelor of arts in government with distinction from Cornell University and a master of science in Cities, Space, and Society from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Larissa Begault, Co-Founder and Principal

Larissa is an urbanist whose experience in design and applied research supports inclusion in public spaces. Larissa has worked at the intersection of public space development and broad issues such as health equity, climate justice and safety. She is an expert in developing frameworks to guide goal setting, support the process, and assess outcomes of projects that would center them on social impacts towards equity. Larissa deeply understands the fine relationship between urban space, social structures, policies, and historic legacy. Her practice reconciles these through multi-method research, local engagement, on-the-ground data collection, and policy recommendation in order to make the urban process and resultant spaces more just. Larissa worked as a researcher at Gehl Institute and the Healthy Materials Lab. Prior to moving to New York in 2013, she practiced in London as an architect and led urban research projects in Cuba and Chile focused on community development and emergency housing, respectively. Larissa currently teaches Visualizing Urban Change at Parsons School of Design at the New School and received a bachelor of architecture from the Architectural Association and a master of arts in Theories of Urban Practice from Parsons School of Design.

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