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Elena Madison

Director of Projects

Elena works on all the aspects of making a place at Project for Public Spaces, from visioning with the community and developing concepts to programming, implementation, management, and governance. 

A planner and placemaking veteran, Elena has led and contributed to some of our most exciting projects including transforming the area under an overpass into a park for young people, doubling the capacity of a library, and designing public spaces in communities impacted by natural disasters, among many other projects, over her more than two decades with the team. In her current role, she leads our placemaking program in project work, developing our social impact-supported grants initiatives and managing collaboration with grantees and funders while  helping to shape organizational direction. Having a passion for advocacy and education, Elena can often be found developing and leading trainings, sharing our work with the media, and cultivating collegial relationships with our clients and social impact partners.

Interested in various topics including how public spaces can serve as an antidote to isolation and improve our mental health, she co-authored a chapter about the role of place governance organizations in supporting people experiencing homelessness in public space published in Hyperlocal: Place Governance in a Fragmented World. Elena dedicates her free time to supporting community autonomy and self-organization, and is a founding member of the Jackson Heights Green Alliance, a volunteer neighborhood organization advocating for and helping to program community spaces.

Favorite Public Space

"34th Avenue Open Street known as “Paseo Park” in Jackson Heights, Queens, is the city’s longest open street, and a great place to walk my dog and feel the local energy of my neighborhood."