Jess Zimbabwe, AIA, AICP, LEED-AP, serves as Executive Director of the Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership at the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
The mission of the Daniel Rose Center is to achieve and support excellence in land use decision making. The Center’s flagship program is the Daniel Rose Fellowship for public leaders, which brings the mayors and senior leadership teams of 4 cities together for a year-long program of learning from land use experts, technical assistance, study tours, leadership development, and peer-to-peer exchange. Jess serves as the Rose Center’s first Executive Director.
Previously, Jess was the Director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design. In that capacity she worked with over 125 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. Prior to that, Jess 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.
Jess earned a Master of Architecture and Master of City Planning from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in Architecture from Columbia University. Jess was an Urban and Regional Policy Fellow at the German Marshall Fund, and a Fellow of the Women’s Policy Institute of the Women’s Foundation of California. She serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Next City, and she was appointed by Mayor Vincent Gray to the Washington, DC Green Building Advisory Council She is a licensed architect, certified city planner, and a LEED-Accredited professional.