Symone Howard


My name is Symone Howard. I'm from Chicago. I recently graduated from Georgia Tech where I received my Master's degree in City & Regional Planning.

What sustainability, energy, and community issues are important to you?

As an urban planner, sustainability is incorporated into almost every aspect of planning for communities. It intersects with land use, transportation, community and economic development, etc. My favorite aspects of sustainability that I love to see in communities include green infrastructure and the promotion of alternative modes of transportation through transit-oriented development, bike lanes, EV charging stations, and safe sidewalks. As a Chicagoland native, Atlanta transplant, and avid transit user, I am very interested in issues of walkability, connectivity, and accessibility and how they impact socioeconomic status and physical health. 

What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

As a graduate student, I researched the reality of community resettlement as a response to climate change in coastal Louisiana. My research gave me the freedom to explore the intersection between culture, science, and city planning. As an intern with the City of Decatur's Planning & Zoning Division,  I worked on a project to rezone a popular area of Decatur, GA from heavy commercial to mixed use to promote walkability, connectivity, and a live-work-play environment in an area under transition due to the exit of industrial land uses from Decatur. I helped organize a public informational meeting, designed displays and posters using GIS, and presented to the Planning Commission and City Commission. 

What are your plans for the next five years?

While I'm not completely sure of what all of my plans are for the next five years, I hope to work for a metropolitan planning agency doing work that combines my passion for sustainability, equity, and health.

What made you want to apply to SISE?

I applied to SISE because I am eager to apply my academic background and work experience to address local needs in the Chicago area. I am excited to work with like-minded individuals from different academic backgrounds, careers, and walks of life.

What are you most looking forward to doing in Chicago?

As a Chicagoland native, I look forward to doing everything. However, I am most excited to walk along Riverwalk and enjoy delicious Chicago food!

Do you like Cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

I am willing to learn to like cats.