Meet the Staff






Katharine Burgess, AICP

Senior Director, Urban Resilience

Katharine Burgess is Senior Director of the Urban Land Institute’s Urban Resilience Program. Through research, advisory services, convenings and outreach, ULI’s Urban Resilience program works to leverage ULI’s global network to help communities prepare for increased climate risk and make wise investments in infrastructure, development and building design. The program addresses topics including land-use planning, financing models, green infrastructure solutions, preparedness and the support of social and economic networks.

An urban planner with 12 years’ experience, Katharine has practiced urban planning in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, with global project work across the United States, Europe, and Asia. She began her career managing post-Katrina hurricane recovery charrettes commissioned by the states of Louisiana and Mississippi and the city of New Orleans. She has since worked on a range of large-scale, mixed-use master planning initiatives designed to encourage pedestrian activity and integrate green infrastructure, including campus plans, downtown revitalization plans, urban extensions and a new town for 10,000 people in Scotland. Katharine’s research work has included landscape performance research for the Landscape Architecture Foundation, as well as international urban development research for the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship program, during which she completed a work placement at the City of Berlin’s Department for Urban Development. She received a BA from Williams College and an MSc in Regional and Urban Planning from the London School of Economics.


lsheppardLeah Sheppard

Project Employee, Center for Sustainability

Leah Sheppard is the Project Employee at ULI’s Center for Sustainability, primarily supporting the Urban Resilience Program. A Philadelphia native, Leah has a background working in local and state government and the non-profit sector. Her passion for urban planning was sparked during an internship with the Pennsylvania Environmental Council amid the roll out of the Green City, Clean Waters plan, where she consulted with local businesses on best practices in stormwater management. Before coming to ULI, Leah worked in the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of the Public Liaison, facilitating state-wide board and commission appointments that focused on environment and health related issues. Leah holds a B.S. in Community, Environment, and Development from The Pennsylvania State University and is a Master of Professional Studies candidate in Sustainable Urban Planning with a concentration in Climate Change Management and Policy, at The George Washington University.