Neighborhood Defenders Expert Volunteers

Meet the planners and urban researchers who are lending their technical expertise to support grassroots neighborhood plan creation.

Jennifer Rangel is the Planning and Community Outreach Director for the Inclusive Communities Project. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M University and her Masters degree in City Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jennifer grew up in Oak Cliff and is passionate about equity issues in the City of Dallas.

Evelyn Mayo is the Chair of Downwinders at Risk. She received her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science and Race and Ethnicity from Barnard College, and is pursuing her Masters in City and Regional Planning at the University of Texas Arlington. Evelyn has been an organizer and advocate on environmental justice issues for almost a decade in Washington D.C., New York and Dallas.

Desiree Powell is the founder of blckspces, an urban planning and design organization that centers on equitable space creation for Black and Brown communities, and a Zoning Specialist with the City of Grand Prairie. Desiree received her Bachelors degree in Business and Social Sciences, and Masters in City and Regional Planning from the University of Texas Arlington. Desiree is dedicated to urban issues impacting Black communities and creating spaces for US.

Emily Fitzgerald is the Southwestern Medical District Project Assistant with the Texas Trees Foundation, a private nonprofit focused on urban forestry, green infrastructure and sustainable design. Emily graduated from Wake Forest University in 2017 with a finance degree. She is now pursuing her master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Arlington. Emily wholeheartedly believes that, in the words of Jane Jacobs, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” – Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Laura Quintero Chavez is an architecture and interior design teacher in Dallas ISD. She has been teaching for five years. Being in the classroom has given her the opportunity to share with students the impact of the built environment in their daily lives. She encourages students to advocate for themselves and their community. Laura has BS in interior design and is currently working on Master’s in City and Regional Planning at UTA.

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