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Vanessa Espaillat Lovett

Vanessa Espaillat Lovett is an interdisciplinary architect, urbanist, and founder of Ella, a global design consultancy dedicated to the adaptation of the built environment to meet the challenges caused by climate change. She designs climate- resilience strategies that promote the equitable advancement of communities and builds the broad and often complex coalitions required for their realization. She works in partnership with private developers, governments, and institutions on the design of both the social and physical infrastructure required for sustainable transformation.

Vanessa currently serves as Project Manager and Special Advisor on a Columbia University initiative that aims to strengthen Dominican Republic’s ability to confront natural disasters. As a key leader of this Columbia World Projects initiative, she helped define the strategy for developing a network of community resilience centers across the region. She has been working tirelessly over a two-year period to build a broad international coalition of academic, governmental, and private institutions together to realize the first resilience center in the heart of Santo Domingo, which is planning to launch in 2023.

Vanessa has dedicated a significant portion of her career to academic research and teaching, having worked alongside Professor Richard Plunz as a research associate at the Urban Design Lab at the Earth Institute, as well as an Associate in Architecture, at Columbia GSAPP, for the Urban Ecology Studio and Sustainable Urbanization: New Designs for the Future City.

Vanessa has significant work experience as an urban planner and designer for city governments. She served the City of New York as Senior Urban Designer of the Division of Planning and Pre-development at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Prior to her position at HPD, she worked at the NYC Department of City Planning as a city planner and urban designer for Brooklyn. She also worked for the Dominican Government’s Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development where she contributed to the country’s first land use law, and guidelines for rural and community development.

She is a licensed architect in Dominican Republic, where she collaborates as an associate architect at Constructora AE, a full-service construction and engineering company based in Santo Domingo. She also works as a contributor and freelance writer to newspapers, magazines, and academic publications.

Vanessa holds a Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University, where she received the Lowenfish Memorial Prize. She also earned a Master of Arts in Housing and Urbanism from the Architectural Association in London and Bachelor of Architecture from UNIBE in the Dominican Republic.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A6675‑1 Spring 2023
Resilient Caribbean: Prototyping a Hub for the Dominican Republic
Nelson De Jesus Ubri, Vanessa Espaillat Lovett
W 7 PM - 9 PM
3 Points