Elena Madison is an urban planner with rich experience in the planning and design of parks, plazas, campuses, civic and cultural spaces. A veteran of Placemaking, Elena has a passion for working with people in communities to create the public spaces they love. She is a dedicated practitioner of collaborative work including visioning, concept development, programming and management.
She is currently working on concept designs and Placemaking plans for Atlanta’s Woodruff Park; Detroit’s Capitol Park; and Jacksonville’s Hemming Park. Elena co-manages Heart of the Community, a Placemaking grant program supported by Southwest Airlines, now entering its fourth year. She also directs PPS’ international training and technical assistance program for Central and Eastern Europe focused on building local knowledge and capacity with active technical assistance projects with Skanska in Warsaw, Poland and in her native Sofia, Bulgaria.
Elena has been the keynote speaker, presenter and trainer at numerous national and international conferences, seminars and trainings. Her most recent engagements include lectures and trainings at: Come On, Community Forum organized by the Via Foundation in Prague, Czech Republic (2016); Wola Placemaking Symposium, Warsaw, Poland (2015); the Barcelona Public Markets Conference (2015); the Pennsylvania Library Association conference (2015); the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Winter Symposium, Richmond (2015); the Placemaking Leadership Council, Pittsburgh (2014); the 1st International Scientific Conference on Public Spaces, Bratislava, Slovakia (2014); the Athens Crisis-Scape Conference (2014); and Helsinki Design Week (2014).
In her home community of Jackson Heights, Queens, Elena is a founding member of the Jackson Heights Green Alliance, a neighborhood group programming and managing the 78th Street Plaza in an effort to expand public space in the area. Elena is also an advisory board member of the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a program of the Horticultural Society of New York, dedicated to helping communities manage, program and maintain the pedestrian plazas created by the New York City Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Plaza Program.
PPS was founded in 1975 to expand on the work of William (Holly) Whyte, author of The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. We have since completed projects in more than 3000 communities in 43 countries and all 50 U.S. states and are the premier center for best practices, information and resources on placemaking. More than 1200 people worldwide are members of our Placemaking Leadership Council.