Under her leadership, the five member URP team actively stewarded an transatlantic network of urban leaders in over 25 cities and manages signature initiatives including: BUILD, Dialogues for Change, Transatlantic Cities Network, and the URP Policy Fellowship. Through a recognized model of peer to peer learning, Gardner facilitates the exploration of key urban policy issues and thoughtful transfer of new ideas to the unique context of each city.
Prior to joining GMF in 2012, Gardner served in key leadership positions under three different mayors of the District of Columbia. Most notably she served for five years as the associate director for neighborhood planning in the DC Office of Planning. In this role she led the successful completion of over 18 neighborhood and revitalization plans that reshaped the physical landscape of the city, including the master plan to develop the historic Saint Elizabeth East Campus. Her work at the local level focused on the intersection between economic development strategy, community revitalization, and physical planning. Gardner also worked in a variety of research and urban planning roles in Los Angeles, CA; New York,NY; and Berlin, Germany.
She has a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of California, Los Angeles and a bachelor’s degree in metropolitan studies from New York University. Gardner currently serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and was the recipient of a Bundeskanzler (German Chancellor) Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Bonn, Germany. Gardner is a native English speaker and speaks German.