Shin-pei Tsay

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Measure what matters in human terms.


Shin-pei's experience in practice and policy converges on transforming the built environment to be more inclusive and sustainable. Her expertise in transportation, climate change, urban policy, design, and governance provides a unique perspective on the systems shaping the public realm and subsequently the solutions to change them. She has held leadership roles at many types of organizations, including Gehl Institute, TransitCenter, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Transportation Alternatives, and Project for Public Spaces, often joining them at a pivot point to develop new directions. She is a commissioner for the NYC Public Design Commission and serves on the boards of ioby and Transportation Alternatives.

Make Public
PlacemakingX Role(s)
Senior Advisor
Thought Leader
Transformative Agenda Focus
Equity & Inclusion
Streets & Transportation

Placemaking is...

...people engaged in shaping, maintaining, keeping, and creating place.

First placemaking encounter

Jane Jacobs's Death and Life of Great American Cities made me realize that much more needed to be done to center people in public spaces, to point out the pricelessness of our social and public life.

Favorite childhood place

Favorite Place

Fun Fact


My work thrives on strengthening connections between fields, such as public health and urban design, or transportation and social impacts, all which strengthens placemaking. I've had the privilege of creating organizations that authored resources to encourage other to take this approach as well:

A People's History to Recent Urban Transportation Innovation

Inclusive Healthy Places

Public Life Tools

Public Life Data Protocol

A data standard for measuring people activity in public space

Key messages