Jessica Zimbabwe

Jess Zimbabwe serves on the faculty of the Urban & Regional Planning program and is principal of Plot Strategies.

Photo of Jessica Zimbabwe

She serves as founding director of the Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership—a dedicated partnership between the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).

A national thought leader on urban development, public process, and the built environment, Zimbabwe has worked with countless mayors, public officials, and civic leaders to advance policies, better understand local challenges, and advocate for inclusive, sustainable urban development. 

Prior to founding Plot Strategies, Zimbabwe was director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, where she worked with over 100 American mayors and cities to help local leaders better understand issues of urban design so that they could advocate for better built environments in their own communities. During her time at the Mayors’ Institute, she also served as vice president for programs at the American Architectural Foundation, overseeing that organization’s Great Schools by Design program and developing the Sustainable Cities Design Academy. Prior to that, Zimbabwe served as the community design director at Urban Ecology, providing pro bono community planning and design assistance to low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her primary project was the design and development of a community cultural center in the San Antonio district of East Oakland. 

She holds a Master of City Planning and Master of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in Architecture from Columbia University. She is a licensed architect and a LEED-Accredited professional.