Now hiring — Land Use & Development Climate Program Associate

Smart Growth America’s Land Use and Development Team seeks a motivated individual interested in climate and the connection between housing, transportation, and the built environment. This position will build on SGA’s commitment to racial equity and contribute to the LUD team’s technical assistance, writing, and resource development. The Climate Program Associate will report to the Senior Program Manager of Land Use and Development and demonstrate an understanding of practices surrounding justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to [email protected] with “LUD Climate Program Associate” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

About Smart Growth America

Smart Growth America (SGA) is a national nonprofit organization that envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize this vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity.

About the Land Use and Development team

The Land Use and Development (LUD) team’s work at SGA accelerates the implementation of land use and development practices that create environmentally responsible, socially inclusive, and economically competitive walkable urban places. The LUD team comprises a variety of multi-faceted programs and projects including LOCUS, Form-Based Codes Institute, and National Brownfields Coalition, which convene leading smart growth practitioners around the country. The LUD team also leads technical assistance work supporting community-based organizations and other partners to advocate for land use policy reform for equitable climate adaptation.

Job description

The Climate Program Associate will be a member of Smart Growth America’s Land Use and Development team, reporting to the Senior Program Manager of Land Use and Development and supporting other members of the LUD team on a project-by-project basis. The Climate Program Associate is expected to contribute to a dynamic, collaborative team environment and will regularly collaborate with external partners and be a climate justice ambassador for the Land Use and Development Team and Smart Growth America. The Climate Program Associate will support research, advocacy, communications, and operations work for the LUD team, focusing on its climate work portfolio. An exciting key focus for the Climate Program Associate’s will be supporting SGA’s Climate and Land Use Technical Assistance that supports historically under-resourced communities in effectively advocating for housing, zoning, and infrastructure plans and policies that are more prepared for the impacts of climate change such as flooding, extreme heat, drought, and wildfires.


Climate Program Associate role is likely to include the following responsibilities, with some on-going and others aligning with specific projects or deliverables.

Research, writing, and communications

  • Contributes to Land Use and Development team projects (such as factsheets, memos, policy summaries, and reports) by providing strong research, writing and editing, and analytical skills
  • Drafts blog posts and social media posts

Program and project management

  • Works closely with the Senior Program Manager to develop Climate and Land Use Technical Assistance deliverables
  • Supports project management, helping with scheduling, invoicing, presentations, and note taking

Technical assistance & advocacy

  • Provides policy analysis and conducts research to support community partners and local governments in implementing smart growth approaches to land use policy, including preparing memos, developing worksheets, creating informational documents, and coordinating with staff across SGA teams
  • Provides data-driven guidance to communities to achieve their equitable development and climate resilience goals
  • Conducts research on pieces of legislation, summarizing legislation or policy news related to climate, land use, and development topics
  • Supports staff on expanding zoning reform advocacy efforts through FBCI’s educational programs, including classes, the annual form-based code award, and webinar series
  • Supports outreach strategies for advocacy projects and events

The list above summarizes key aspects of the role and is intended to reflect the general type of work assigned, but it is not an exhaustive list of all duties.



  • A four-year college degree in environmental science, urban planning, public policy, geography, or other related field;
  • 1-3 years of related experience, which can include employment, part-time positions, and volunteer work;
  • An interest in equitable climate change adaptation and mitigation, environmental justice, community development, zoning reform, and land use;
  • Commitment to SGA’s mission and demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Excellent research and writing skills;
  • Ability to display data, research, and policy concepts in a clear and relevant manner;
  • Quantitative research skills, including in-depth spatial analysis experience with ArcGIS Pro (desktop version);
  • Familiarity and ability to work with key data sets, including U.S. Census data, statistics from US DOT (Bureau of Transportation Statistics), state, local, and MPO data sets;
  • Organized and able to fulfill tasks per instructions;
  • Ability to prioritize and efficiently deliver multiple assignments;
  • Proficiency in G-Suite and Microsoft Office suite of tools for document preparation (memos, presentations, etc.)


  • Work experience at the intersection of climate, transportation, planning and design, or other related fields;
  • Demonstrated commitment to working with diverse and historically under-resourced communities;
  • Ability to translate and explain the results of technical analysis using data visualization software such as ArchGIS StoryMaps, hosted Web Maps, Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop, Canva, or similar;
  • Experience working with resident-led community organizations.


Salary is commensurate with experience and will range from $52,000-$60,000 a year. The successful candidate would need to be at the higher end of expected years of progressively responsible experience, and have some of the preferred quantitative skills, project management experience, and mission alignment to be considered for a salary at the top of the range. SGA has an entrepreneurial and innovative workplace culture where employees work collaboratively to achieve the mission with a focus on equity. SGA offers a generous employee benefits package featuring a fully paid medical plan, optional dental and vision coverage, 401k with a strong company contribution, company-paid life and disability insurance, transportation stipend, three weeks’ vacation in the first year, and 12 paid holidays.

Office Schedule & COVID Protocols

This position is based in Washington, DC. SGA staff are currently working in the office at 1152 15th St NW Tuesdays-Thursdays while working remotely on Mondays and Fridays. SGA will be moving into a new office in the McPherson Square area in March 2024. No relocation assistance is offered at this time. SGA requires employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and boosted.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Smart Growth America is committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from candidates of color.
Employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.

How to Apply

Please send the following to [email protected] with “LUD Climate Program Associate” in the subject line: 1) A cover letter of interest that describes your relevant experience, motivation for applying and how you learned of this opportunity, and 2) your resume. Applications will be reviewed as received.