Portrait of Marisa Lago, Director of City Planning and Chair of City Planning Commission, Edwin J. Torres /Mayoral Photography Office.

Marisa Lago Phy’77 was appointed as Director of the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) and Chair of the City Planning Commission (CPC) by Mayor Bill de Blasio in February 2017.

Marisa Lago has spearheaded the adoption of transformative neighborhood plans, including in East Harlem and along the Bronx’s Jerome Avenue. Each of these comprehensive plans is the end result of extensive community engagement by the City to identify and meet the needs of longtime and future residents. She oversaw the adoption of the Greater East Midtown plan, which has already catalyzed new modern office development, secured public realm improvements and benefited local institutions in one of New York’s most important and busiest business districts. Under her direction, DCP has published digital tools that encourage civic participation, including interactive data maps. And, for the first time, DCP is now livestreaming CPC meetings for the public.

Before returning to New York City, Marisa Lago served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In 2008, she left a position at Citi Bank to be appointed by NYS Governor David Paterson the President and Chief Executive Officer of New York State’s Empire State Development, where she advanced projects such as the construction Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the expansion and renovation of the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

Marisa Lago, also led the Boston Redevelopment Authority, where she was responsible for the city’s public housing, affordable housing, neighborhood development and job training agencies from 1994 to 1997.

From 1990 to 1994, Marisa Lago served as General Counsel of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation.

Marisa Lago earned a J.D. cum laude in 1982 from Harvard Law School, and a B.S. in physics from Cooper Union in 1977.


Mrisa Lago was awarded a CU Presidential Citation in 1996 and inducted into The Cooper Union Hall of Fame. She received another CU Presidential Citation in 2018. She will receive the CUAA Gano Dunn Award in May 2019.

Additional Links:

One Last Big Project Begun, New York City’s Planning Chief to Step Down, The New York Times. January 4, 2017.

A Good Life: Marisa Lago (Phy’77) and the American Dream, At Cooper Winter (2008/2009)

Governor Names 2 to State’s Troubled Economic Development AgencyThe New York Times, August 22, 2008.