Sam Assefa is the new Director of Seattle’s Executive Office of Planning & Community Development. Prior to his appointment by Mayor Ed Murray, Sam served as the senior urban designer for the City of Boulder, Colorado since 2010. From 2002 to 2010, he was the Director of Land Use and Planning Policy at the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, and served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley. Between 1991 and 2002, Sam worked as the senior urban designer for the San Francisco architecture firm of SMWM as well as the City of San Francisco Planning Department. While in San Francisco, he was responsible for the implementation of various urban design policies and redevelopment plans including the Hunters Point Shipyard, the Trans Bay Center, Rincon Hill, and the Better Neighborhoods Program.
Sam was elected and inducted into Lambda Alpha International in 2006 and has served on several boards including the Graham Foundation, the AIA Regional Urban Design Committee, the Chicago Public Art Group, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and as a founding member of the Center for Art and Public Life at California College of the Arts (CCA). He was also an Adjunct Professor of Architecture at CCA and frequently serves on architecture and urban design juries.He has been a speaker at various conferences including the AIA, APA, RailVolution, and at universities such as Harvard, Cornell, Notre Dame, and MIT. Sam has also represented the City of Chicago and Mayor Daley as a speaker worldwide including the Dutch Green Building Conference in the Netherlands, OECD in Montreal, the Mega Cities Development Forum in Nantong, China, and the National Urban Planning Institute in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Sam is a graduate of MIT with a Master’s in City Planning, and the University of Illinois, Chicago, with a B.A. in Architecture.