October 9, 2017
KIZZY M. CHARLESGUZMÁN Deputy Director, New York City Mayor's Office of Recovery and Resiliency
EDUCATION Carleton College and the University of Michigan
izzy Charles-Guzmán is in charge of keeping New York City cool – literally. She heads up the city’s efforts to help neighborhoods adapt to an increasingly hotter climate – everything from planting trees to repainting rooftops to reducing the amount of glass on buildings. She developed the citywide heat resiliency strategy, Cool Neighborhoods NYC, examining health and climate data to see which neighborhoods disproportionately experience heat deaths or illnesses and which may experience them in the future, and calling for policies and investments to help those communities. But as deputy director of social and economic resiliency in the mayor’s office, she takes it a step deeper and focuses on the ways in which climate change disproportionately affects the health of poorer communities and communities of color. “I’m trying to address environmental injustices and fix systemic decisions that make people sick,” Charles-Guzmán says. Through her government work, she is aiming to truly impact the way that the city plans and builds for a warmer future. In particular, she says architects’ love affair with glass may lead to the city becoming a greenhouse. Someday, Charles-Guzmán would like to see heat mitigation building standards. “I’m an advocate for environmental health and I think that that is critical to addressing inequality,” she says.