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Elka Gotfryd

Senior Project Associate

Elka is a project associate on the Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community team, and she plays a key role in program development for PPS’ work in Israel. She is currently conducting research on Placemaking as a tool for conflict resolution, with a focus on case studies from the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Elka brings to the table a multidisciplinary approach and skillset that includes urban planning, GIS analysis and cartography, database management, and civic engagement and advocacy. 

Before joining the PPS team, Elka worked as the community planner for Old City and Downtown Jerusalem, where she was responsible for representing local communities vis-à-vis City Hall and the Local and Regional Planning Councils. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, yet having studied and worked in this politically charged milieu, Elka is an advocate of sensitive and context-specific solutions for cities and public spaces. She is passionate about the power of place as a common denominator – whether in regions of ethno-national conflict, between different stakeholders, or among diverse communities.

While working at PPS, Elka is also pursuing a master’s degree in Urban Placemaking and Management at the Pratt Institute, where she is a member of the program’s very first cohort. Elka enjoys talking to strangers, even in New York City, and singing Lieder in the shower. 


B.A. Political Science and Geography, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2011

M.A. City and Regional Planning, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2014

M.S. Urban Placemaking and Management, Pratt Institute, expected 2017

Professional Affiliations 

American Planning Association (APA)

Learn about PPS's Three-pronged Approach to Drive Change