Ayesha Lilaoonwala

Master of Urban Planning

Ayesha Lilaoonwala

Why did you choose NYU Wagner for graduate school?

I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the field of affordable housing, and NYU Wagner's Urban Planning program offers this as a specialization with many opportunities to use NYC as an extension of the classroom.

Can you tell us a bit about your job responsibilities?

My primary responsibility is to conduct on-site monitoring of high-risk NYCHA developments by coordinating with development staff, evaluating current conditions, reporting on deficiencies, and providing recommendations. Subsequently, I conduct weekly meetings with the property manager and superintendent at those developments to manage the correction of the deficiencies identified during the on-site monitoring. I also interview NYCHA's skilled tradespeople about their knowledge of and compliance with Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) procedures and reported findings to senior management, and I write the Elevated Blood Lead Level section of the quarterly Lead Compliance Assurance Program report by gathering data and analyzing the information using a series of metrics. In my role, I also monitor the progress of work order completion for a court case involving the agency and a tenant by coordinating between the development staff and NYCHA lawyers.

How did your experiences at NYU Wagner prepare you for your career?

The courses I took at NYU Wagner gave me opportunities to strengthen my writing and Excel skills which I use on a daily basis at NYCHA. Additionally, NYU Wagner gave me a community with connections to the world of affordable housing. I was recruited to NYCHA's Compliance Department by a fellow Wagner MUP who had also worked at the NYU Furman Center.

What impact do you hope to make through your career and/or organization?

By working at NYCHA, my responsibilities impact the lives of the city's poorest and most vulnerable residents. I continue to seek opportunities to improve their living conditions by working closely with property management staff using the agency's resources.