Nilda Mesa

Nilda Mesa

Director, Urban Sustainability and Equity Planning, Urban Design Lab; Adjunct Senior Research Scientist, The Earth Institute; Adjunct Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Mesa has been the Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, where she led OneNYC, the city’s path-breaking long-term sustainability plan, overseeing environmental reviews and citywide policy development and implementation on such areas as energy, climate change, green building standards, recycling and the circular economy, environmental justice, air quality, water, parks and natural resources, and sustainable transportation.

Prior to joining the de Blasio administration, Mesa worked at Columbia University in several roles, including as the founding assistant vice president of environmental stewardship, adjunct professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, and as the associate dean of administrative affairs at the Graduate School of Journalism. In addition to her Urban Design Lab new role as director of Urban Sustainability and Equity Planning Mesa will be teaching in the School of International and Public Affairs on urban sustainability and equity.

Previously, Mesa served in the Clinton Administration in key environmental policy roles at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, at the U.S. Air Force, and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as counsel to the NAFTA Taskforce, where she led U.S. legal negotiations with Canada and Mexico and implemented legislation related to trade and the environment. Mesa began her career at the California Attorney General’s Office enforcing toxic waste and natural resources laws. She has served on boards including the NYC Energy Efficiency Corporation, the Urban Green Council and Second Nature. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Northwestern University. She was born in Cuba, and has lived in Harlem since 2001. Nilda has a B.A. from Northwestern University and J.D. from Harvard University.

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