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.

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 developed and taught the course 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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Shin-pei Tsay, Co-Founder and Advisor

Shin-pei’s 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, where she was honored by AdWeek as an inaugural Sustainability Star, 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. 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 parklets, 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. She is on the Board of ioby and SPUR and taught urban design at Columbia University’ and Parsons School of Design. Her work was part of the 2012 Venice Biennale of Architecture and has appeared in the New York Times, Open Spaces, the magazine of SFMoma, and the Urban Design Forum, among other publications. 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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