Alumni Profile: Jennifer Bloom Leone, Class of 2018

After practicing as an architect for over twenty years, and building a small firm focused on design-build and sustainable design, I decided to refocus my energy. I was interested in rethinking the scale at which I was working with the hope of having a greater impact on the city. I chose CCNY’s Sustainability in the Urban Environment Program for several reasons, but primarily because I planned to stay and work in NYC and focus on issues particular to the city. In addition, I was familiar with and very interested in the work of the program director Hillary Brown and her systems-thinking approach. 

At CCNY, I was able to focus on the intersections between “green” building, waste-as-resource, and place-making through the courses I selected. My capstone project, a “food-waste to food network” drew together these issues – and triggered my interest in communicating the value proposition of sustainable systems through the built environment. The culmination of the program included participation in a cross-cultural multi-disciplinary sustainable development project in Hungary with a team from CCNY, which similarly focused on the built expression of a circular economy.

Upon graduation, I found a position as the Chief Sustainability Officer for New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development (“HPD”) – the largest municipal housing finance agency in the country. My work at HPD includes setting a holistic sustainability agenda for affordable housing to help NYC meet its aggressive climate goals – ensuring that projects are energy efficient, resilient, and address the unique health and safety needs of the vulnerable populations we support. 

HPD offers rich opportunities to collaborate with the program – I am currently working with a CCNY capstone team on a project to uncover the value proposition of Passive House and hope for further collaboration in the future. 

foodWORKs for the capstone project