Mike is an internationally recognized planner, writer, speaker, and advocate for livable cities. NPR, The New York Times, The Guardian, ABC News, Bloomberg Cities, Salon, Next City, Wired, and Monocle have featured his work, among many other publications. Having delivered more than 250 keynotes, workshops, trainings, and lectures since 2009, Mike has exerted a global influence on how people think about city transformation. In 2018, Mike was named by Planetizen as one of the top 100 most influential urbanists of all-time.
Mike is the creator of the The Open Streets Project and the globally acclaimed Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action, Long-Term Change Vol. 1 – 5. With Tony Garcia, Mike is the recipient of the 2017 Seaside Prize and co-author of Tactical Urbanism (Island Press, 2015), named by Planetizen as one of the top planning books of the past decade. Mike collaborated with Andres Duany and Jeff Speck in writing The Smart Growth Manual (McGraw-Hill, 2009).
A founding member of the New England Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism, a Board Member for CNU New York, and a steering committee member of the Next Generation of New Urbanists, he remains active in both local and national planning, design, and smart growth advocacy issues. He lectures frequently and leads workshops and trainings on the topics of smart growth, tactical urbanism, public space,and complete streets/active transportation. Before launching the firm in 2009, Mike worked for Smart Growth Vermont, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, and Ann Arbor’s GetDowntown Program. From 2006 – 2009 Lydon worked for DPZ CoDesign, an international leader in the practice of smart growth planning, design, and research techniques.
Mike currently serves on Transportation Alternative’s Executive Committee for the New York City Harbor Ring project, and is an advisor to the Bicycle Coalition of Maine. Mike received a B.A. in American Cultural Studies from Bates College and a Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan. He encourages you to trade four wheels for two.
Tony Garcia, RA is a co-founder of Street Plans and leads the day-to-day operations of the firm. Considered one of the foremost experts in the field of placemaking and street design of his generation, he is a licensed architect and has delivered hundreds of presentations, lectures, and workshops during his 17-year long career. Having completed over 150,000 sf of street murals around the country, he is one of the most prolific asphalt art muralists in the world, is the author of the Asphalt Art guide, and serves as the technical advisor for over 30 cities as part of the Bloomberg Asphalt Art Initiative.
Tony is coauthor of the globally acclaimed series Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Action, Long-Term Change, co-author of Tactical Urbanism, published by Island Press in March 2015, and together with Mike Lydon is the recipient of the 2017 Seaside Prize. Later in 2018, Tony was awarded the CINTAS Foundation Fellowship for Architecture & Design for contributions to the field of urban design.
Tony is a native Miamian and is regarded as a leading advocate and voice in the development of the city’s growing list of renowned public spaces and trails, first as the editor of the the managing editor of the transportation blog TransitMiami.com, then as Chairman of the the largest bicycle pedestrian advocacy organization in South Florida, Green Mobility Network. As part of this effort he co-founded the Ludlam Trail project, which will result in the addition of over 50 acres of new park space in Miami-Dade County, and helped prototype and build support for the creation of Biscayne Green, a one-mile park in downtown Miami currently under design.
Tony is a former part-time faculty member at the University of Miami School of Architecture, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Urban Design from New York University and a Masters in Architecture from the University of Miami.
Vanessa Lira is a senior project director at Street Plans and leads the firm’s Atlanta office. Vanessa has over 10 years of experience designing and implementing environments at multiple scales including interiors, architecture, and urban design. She is currently working with the Meatpacking District in New York City, Jersey City in New Jersey, Culver City in California, and Senoia in Georgia on public space, transportation, and master planning projects. Vanessa is also a participant in the Atlanta Regional Commission’s 2023 Culture and Community Design program.
Prior to joining Street Plans, Vanessa was an Assistant Director at the Atlanta Department of City Planning, leading a team focused on the creation of public spaces. While at the City of Atlanta, she developed Atlanta’s first Tactical Urbanism Guide and managed the City’s tactical urbanism program, Love Our Places. She was a founding member of the Atlanta City Studio, an urban design studio that specializes in creative community engagement, where she collaborated on the city’s long-term strategic design document The Atlanta City Design.
Vanessa holds a Master of Architecture from Georgia Tech, where she also received her undergraduate degree. She continues to be involved in her alma mater as a guest lecturer and juror and is a frequent urban design panelist and speaker at both professional and news outlets.
Julie is an urban planner and designer with over a decade of experience spanning public and private-sector roles. Julie originally joined the Street Plans team in 2013. In her initial four years at the firm, she worked on a range of Street Plans projects across the country, building expertise in active transportation planning, public space stewardship, and community engagement.
In 2017, Julie took on a position at the City of San Francisco’s Planning Department as the Project Manager for the Civic Center Initiative, leading innovative, large-scale projects to bring new life to the iconic public spaces around the Civic Center. She used near-term projects to prototype concepts from the Civic Center Public Realm Plan, a long-range capital plan. Julie then went on to work at San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, managing a portfolio of planning and recovery projects, leveraging public-private partnerships to catalyze public space activation downtown. After five years in the public sector, Julie was welcomed back to Street Plans in 2023 as a Senior Project Director, bringing with her new perspectives on community planning, public space management, and applied Tactical Urbanism methodologies.
Julie has a BA in Urban Studies from Brown University. She is an avid studio artist with a strong appreciation for the role art can play in connecting people to places and to each other. In her free time, Julie can be found knitting, playing with her toddler at a local playground, or exploring the Bay Area’s many trails and greenways.
Dana has planned and implemented more than 20 transportation planning, public space activation, and placemaking projects in cities across the country. She recently completed a body of work for Wexford Science + Technology that put forth strategies and principles for a local-first approach to activating the ground-floor environment in six of their “knowledge communities”, and was the Principal Investigator for the firm’s 2019 research publication: Fast-Tracked: A Tactical Transit Study.
Prior to joining Street Plans, Dana worked in New York City as an intern for the City’s Parks Department, and for the Design Trust for Public Space on a project to prototype interventions to create usable public space within NYCHA’s housing developments.
Dana is currently leading community-centric events and programming for the Hazelwood Green Plaza in Pittsburgh, PA, and recently authored the City of New Haven’s first Citywide Active Transportation Plan in Connecticut.
Dana is a frequent contributor to conference panels and workshops about Tactical Urbanism and placemaking at regional, national, and international conferences. She previously served on the board of active mobility advocacy organization Transit Alliance Miami.
Dana earned a Master of Urban Planning and a Master of Science in Environmental Planning from the University of Michigan.
Irene has a background in urban design, architecture, and sustainable design. She has worked on multiple placemaking and tactical urbanism projects at Street Plans that have led to the creation of temporary and permanent public spaces in cities across the world. In 2018, she worked with the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Program and the Inter-American Development Bank through its Cities LAB platform to hold tactical urbanism workshops in Latin American cities such as Medellin, Colombia and Santa Fe, Argentina. Most recently, Irene led the creation of an open source guide in collaboration with the Bloomberg Foundation that details best practices needed to implement asphalt art projects on city streets and public infrastructure.
Prior to joining Street Plans, Irene worked with the Miami Downtown Development Authority on various urban planning, transportation, and street-improvement projects and for Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co. where she developed multiple urban infill plans.
She has earned a Master of Urban Design and Development and a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Miami School of Architecture. While obtaining her degrees, she participated in the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact with community leaders and experts to develop full resilient design concepts for the Florida Climate Institute (FCI) to serve as model approaches for communities facing similar challenges. Irene also holds a National Charette Institute (NCI) Certificate Training after completing a multi-day program focused on community planning.
John has a background in architecture, urban design, management, and graphic design. He believes that architecture and urban design can transform how people interact and engage with their communities for the better.
At Street Plans, John has helped plan, design, and manage several permanent and semi-permanent infrastructure projects throughout their project lifecycles. He has expertise in developing strategy and operational plans for both long-term and pop-up projects throughout the country, from ideation to completion.
Prior to joining Street Plans, John worked closely with the director of the Center for Urban and Community Design of the University of Miami and the Office of Resilience in Miami Dade County.
John holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree with a minor in Industrial Engineering from the University of Miami. He also received the Ferguson and Shamamian Award for Excellence in Classical Design.
Nikki Martin is an award winning advocate for neighborhood revitalization and community development. For 15 years, Nikki has developed and implemented initiatives, programs, and events for organizations in the public, private, arts, and nonprofit sectors.
Prior to joining Street Plans, Nikki worked as Events Manager at the Sandler Center for Performing Arts in Virginia Beach, Events Coordinator at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, and was the Coordinator of Main Street and ON TRAC programs for the State of West Virginia Development Office.
Nikki earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from West Virginia State University and a Revitalization Professional credential from Main Street America Institute – the highest credential offered by the organization. She is currently working with the community of Hazelwood, Pennsylvania to foster resident engagememt and local partnerships through public events.
Amalia Tomey | Project Designer | South Florida
With a strong background in urban, architectural and interior design, she brings ten years of experience to the table, leveraging her creativity and philanthropy to meet the needs of any project.
Prior to Street Plans, she held similar roles in international and national companies. Her role in the Department of Architectural Design and Urban Planning in the Office of the Historic Preservation in the City of Havana had a significant influence on her passion for urban design. She worked on multiple revitalization and historic preservation projects in Old Havana, transforming the city into a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly hub.
As a student, she won a National Design Award for her work in urban infill projects and her proposal for the Ludlam Trail Development has been featured in academic publications. Her strong focus on sustainability and resilient design distinguish all her projects and led her to participate as part of a selected team of 3 Graduate Student from FIU, in an international workshop at Keio University, Japan, on SUGI Food-Energy-Water Nexus Projects and CRUNCH (Carbon Resilient Urban Nexus Choices), led by Professor Thomas Spiegelhalter.
Amalia currently serves as the Vice President of Tau Sigma Delta, the national honor society that recognizes intellectual development among architecture and design majors. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design and a she is currently pursuing a Masters in Architecture at Florida International University.
Aren has a background in urban design, architecture, planning, and environmental design. He brings to Street Plans a concentration on the intersection between culture and practice and how urban and architectural design can impact both.
Prior to joining Street Plans, Aren worked with Brooks + Scarpa Architects, where he was able to contribute to a variety of projects addressing urban design, placemaking, and the impacts of sea level rise in South Florida, with specific emphasis on transit-oriented development and low impact design. While obtaining his degree, he was a core team member in the production of multiple publications, research initiatives, and exhibitions addressing design, policy, and climatic concerns across the country.
Most recently, Aren served as a Project Designer and contributed heavily to the overall research and publication design of a Place-Based Framework prepared for The City of West Palm Beach. The publication documents the Land Use, Transportation, and Urban Design Recommendations compiled by Florida Atlantic University’s School of Architecture and School of Urban Planning and marks the launch of FAU’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities with the City of West Palm Beach.
Aren holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Florida Atlantic University.
Veronica Rivas Plaza | Project Designer | New York City
Veronica has a background in architecture, urban design, and sustainable city-making with over 7 years of experience. She believes that design should be informed by the social, ecological, and cultural environments that shape our lives and advocates for creating more walkable communities to improve quality of life for all.
Prior to Street Plans, Veronica worked on a variety of architecture and urban design projects that span from urban and rural contexts, with goals of fostering inclusion and diversity in social housing. She has held positions as a Junior Architect at Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, David Cunningham Architecture and Planning, and interned at the Van Alen Institute.
In September 2022, she joined the Forefront Fellowship at the Urban Design Forum where she is exploring new approaches to NYC waste management that support climate change, environmental equity, and health. In October 2022, Veronica was featured as a Vision Zero Cities panelist situating the 15-minute city.
Veronica holds a degree in Architecture from The City College of New York and a Master of Science in the Urbanism Studies Programme at KTH, Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. While at KTH, she investigated ‘living streets’ or pedestrian-friendly environments as part of her master thesis and collaborated with The Stockholm Traffic Office (Stad Trafikkontoret).
April has a management background with more than twenty years’ experience in startups, nonprofits, and investment banking. April began her relationship with Street Plans as a volunteer on the JC Walks Pedestrian Enhancement Plan in 2017 in all six wards of Jersey City, NJ.
Prior to joining Street Plans, April forged an extensive career in operations in a variety of industries. She was the Regional Organizing Director for the city of Detroit with the Michigan Democratic Party for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, as well as Chief of Staff in the formative years for Eat Just, Inc., a food technology company based in San Francisco, CA.
April has studied Communications, Urban Design, and Architecture in both San Francisco and New York City and holds certificates in Neighborhood Revitalization Strategies from NeighborWorks. She is an active supporting member of CNU, League of American Bicyclists, Transportation Alternatives, Urban Design Forum, and the Van Alen Institute. In her spare time, she loves to lend a helping hand to street artists working on various murals.