Who We Are

The Urban Planning Student Association (UPSA) is a student-run organization whose mission is to help students develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of various planning issues. We provide quality lectures and programming which reflect the interests of students while introducing them to new ideas. UPSA also strives to improve and raise the profile of Wagner’s Urban Planning Program within the school and among other planning schools. UPSA welcomes all students to participate in the organization, and seeks to collaborate with other student groups to provide the best possible opportunities for all Wagner students.

Meet the 2014-2015 UPSA Executive Board

Co-Chairs: Lily Gordon-Koven and Ali Levine


Lily Gordon-Koven: I’m a Master of Urban Planning student focusing on transportation planning. I’m applying to serve on the UPSA board because I’m interested in building a strong community of urban planners at Wagner. I hope to expand on existing UPSA programs and incorporate diverse planning perspectives in events and programs that will enhance the social, academic, and political vitality of our community. I come to Wagner after spending two years in Chicago, where I worked as a housing case manager at a large social service agency and as a Fellow at the National Complete Streets Coalition. While in Chicago, I lived in an intentional community with 14 people all working at social service and community organizing agencies. I earned a geography and urban studies BA from Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota in 2011. I’m currently a Research Assistant at the Rudin Center for Transportation. I believe my academic and work experiences, as well as my experiences working diverse communities, will make me a strong asset to the UPSA board and I look forward to working with my peers to ensure an enriching and fulfilling experience for everyone in the UPSA community.
  Connect with Lily: Email her at lily.gordonkoven@nyu.edu

Ali Levine: I am currently in the Urban Planning program at Wagner. During my time at at NYU I have served as a first-year representative to the UPSA board, and am currently a research assistant with the data team at the Furman Center.  I am interested in continuing to be a member of the UPSA board because I have want to help shape and improve the future of the Urban Planning program here at Wagner. I believe that my passion for the program and my ability to understand the needs of the student body will enable me to bring programming and events that will enhance our time at Wagner. UPSA serves as an outlet for the program to connect with fellow MUP students, gain new skills, and network with the planning community in NYC and if appointed I would do everything possible to further that directive.Connect with Ali: Email her at al3712@nyu.edu

Financial Manager: Gehad Hadidi

GehadI’m applying to join the board of UPSA in order to promote a greater diversity of engagement between students and the broader planning community. We are a small yet focused segment of Wagner and as the coolest collection in the pool, we have a responsibility to live up to and exceed that reputation by tossing away the floaties and reaching for the deep end, because if we don’t who will?


Connect with Gehad: Email him at gehadidi@nyu.edu


Events Chair: LeMel Lindsey


My first two semesters in graduate school and as a member of UPSA has allowed to me to become familiar with NYU, the surrounding community and most importantly my peers. In this time I have had the pleasure of sharing unique experiences and forming friendship with individuals across the program. In conversations I have had the opportunity to hear the opinions, desires and concerns of my friends and peers. I believe, thanks to these experiences and friendships, I have a better understanding and grasp of what is expected and desired from UPSA as an organization. I feel that because of this information I can be instrumental in facilitating the experiences, events and environment that students desire and deserve. As a result, I am expressing my interest to continue my involvement with UPSA and serve in the organization. I hope that through my efforts and endeavors I am able to only further progress the achievements and success that UPSA has established.

Connect with Le Mel: Email him at lemel.lindsey@nyu.edu

Communications Director: Arundathi Amirapu

DochiArundathi has a passion for urban development. She has over six years of experience as an engineering consultant working primarily on public transport infrastructure projects all over the world. Working on urban metro projects has turned her into a slightly obsessive train nerd. When she is not dreaming about riding on a Maglev, you will find her on her trusty bike or dazzling fellow citi-bikers with her signature “glide into the docking station” move. As UPSA’s communications director, Arundathi promises to bring you the latest in planning and transportation news from around the world.

Connect with Arundathi: Email her at aamirapu@nyu.edu


WTA Chair: Emily Rhodes

UntitledFellow UPSA members, I would like to serve as your 2014-2015 UPSA Transportation Chair. During my time as the Wagner Transportation Association First Year Representative, I helped organize career panels and community CitiBike classes and if elected, would continue to put on exciting  transportation related events. As your Transportation Chair, I would bring a  passion for straphanging, pedaling and walking about the city and would keep you up-to-date on all things transit related. Thanks for your consideration!

Connect with Emily: Email her at emily.rhodes@nyu.edu

Ingrid Ellen – Faculty Advisor

You can also email us with any general questions at nyuplanning@gmail.com