Mayra is an urban planner and design strategist with expertise in community engagement. She is a partner and Research Director at Re:Imagine Group and brings a social science lens to our work around technologies and cities.
Her approach to people-centered design is backed with ten years of experience as a facilitator, cross-cultural research in six countries and a solid academic background in participatory processes, psychology and anthropology. Mayra is an active player in the San Francisco civic innovation community and is passionate about capturing the value of information technology to accelerate the development of a sustainable and inclusive society.
Before Re:Imagine Group, Mayra worked for four years as a sustainability consultant and urban planner at Arup. In this position she addressed the socio-cultural dimension of high-profile planning and engineering projects. Mayra contributed to development of sustainability strategies for several of the most significant redevelopment efforts in the San Francisco Bay Area. She identified performance metrics and developed performance guidelines for the Treasure Island Sustainability Plan. In 2008, she conducted research and crafted policies regarding community identity and economic development for the Candlestick Point/Hunters Point Shipyard Project. For three years she played a key role in the coordination of community outreach efforts, and environmental review process for the Concord Community Reuse Project. Combined, these three projects are expected to house over 70,000 residents and close to 40,000 permanent jobs.
Mayra has also conducted assessments of compliance with international standards of social and environmental performance for infrastructure projects in the US, Peru, and Uruguay. In 2011 she carried out an in-depth study on behalf of C40 and the Clinton Climate Initiative on the political and regulatory context for climate change abatement in Bogota, Caracas, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. For this study, Mayra conducted interviews and focus groups with government officials and non-profit organizations in each of these Latin American cities. The results of the study revealed the reach of environmental policies for each city, along with a map of the jurisdictional authority of each Mayor to effect further changes. These findings were presented at the Climate Summit in São Paulo in the summer of 2011. More recently, she conducted forecasts on emerging trends in sustainability, and collaborated with the Institute of Environmental Entrepreneurship at Berkeley on developing the scope for a study on the impact of socio-cultural factors in the creation of low-carbon cities.
Prior to Arup Mayra focused on bottom-up sustainable development strategies for rural communities in Latin America. She conducted field research to uncover the role of government, non-profit organizations, and agricultural unions in fostering the development of organic agriculture in Costa Rica. She also worked alongside a farming collective in Venezuela to develop a business strategy to attain the potential a 400 year old historic cocoa farm in the coast of Venezuela as a center for agro-tourism. In 2004 she served as an interpreter for non-profit leaders and government officials at the world's largest gathering of civil society organizations: the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre.
Mayra holds a Masters Degree in Community and Regional Planning, a Masters Degree in Latin American Studies, and is fluent in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.
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