Stephen Gyor, 2017 Health Leader
Title: Lead Sustainability Planner
Organization: DC Office of Planning
Location: Washington, DC
Stephen Gyor currently serves as the Senior Sustainability Planner for the District of Columbia Office of Planning (OP). At OP, Stephen is responsible for overarching sustainability planning issues for the District, including Sustainable DC. Led by the Department of Energy and the Environment and OP, Sustainable DC is a collaborative effort to make the city the healthiest, greenest, and most livable city in the United States. It is a citywide initiative crafted for and by the city’s diverse community with the ultimate goal of making DC more socially equitable, environmentally responsive, and economically prosperous. Stephen also works on issues relating to public health and resilience. Previously, Stephen worked in OP’s Development Review Division, where he evaluated projects for their adherence to best planning, urban design, architecture, and sustainability practices.
Stephen has a Master’s of City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a Master of Business Administration and an Undergraduate Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.
Why are you motivated to participate in the Health Leaders Network? How will your participation enhance your current and future work?
I am motivated to participate in this program because I firmly believe that access to open space, safe recreational opportunities, and nature can have an immensely positive impact on the mental and physical health of our residents. For example, city planners and health professionals are only beginning to understand the potential positive role of biophilia, or the idea that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature, in the design of cities. Specifically, I am interested in studying how better integration of nature into the city through our plans, whether its through design guidelines incorporating native plants or regulations permitting green roofs on buildings, will impact health and wellness outcomes.
Participation in the ULI Health Leaders program will enhance my current and future work, which is focused on forming a partnership between city agencies to assess the social determinants of health which contribute to health outcome inequalities. Participation will also enable me to better understand the connections between chronic health outcomes, health behaviors, and planning interventions. Further, participation will allow me to learn how to better strengthen public/private partnerships, close the chasm between clinical health and public health, and develop a data-driven and outcome approach to program and policy development.