Now Hiring: Program Manager, Land Use & Development

Are you seeking an opportunity to advance equitable, sustainable approaches to land use and leverage your skills in urban planning, project management, and coalition building? Are you passionate about how zoning reform can advance equitable development? Join the team at Smart Growth America and use your skills to help policymakers and community leaders advance our North Star: “a country where no matter who you are, or where you live, you can enjoy living in a place which is healthy, prosperous, and resilient.”

Smart Growth America is looking for a Program Manager with 5+ years of experience to support, guide, and manage technical assistance and coalition work. The Program Manager will report to the Director of Land Use and Development and work closely with the full Land Use & Development team across a number of projects.

About Smart Growth America

Smart Growth America is a leading national non-profit organization advocating for equitable, sustainable land use, development, and transportation. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize this vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity. Programmatic priorities for SGA include advancing racial equity, addressing the climate crisis, and improving the health of communities.

Position Overview

This role will utilize expertise in zoning, housing policy, and brownfields, as well as experience managing complex projects. Technical assistance work will support local governments and community-based organizations to advance smart growth and may include policy analysis, research, design of community and stakeholder engagement strategies, and other capacity-building efforts. Some of this technical assistance work will be part of HUD’s Thriving Communities initiative, which seeks to better connect housing and preserve affordability in the context of new infrastructure investments.

This position will also manage day-to-day operations and policy agenda for the National Brownfields Coalition, a non-partisan alliance of public interest organizations, academics, and professionals who develop and advocate for policies and practices that support the responsible cleanup and reuse of underutilized, or environmentally impacted land. This will include managing legislative research, outreach, and membership, and identifying connectivity with SGA’s technical assistance and broader portfolio of work.


The position provides many opportunities to plan, manage and grow projects on a variety of topics and scales. Responsibilities will include:

  • Manage a range of technical assistance projects related to land use and development, working directly with local governments and community-based organizations in pursuit of their goals related to smart growth, equity, zoning and related topics. Technical assistance work can include but not be limited to research, policy analysis, case studies, outreach strategy, and outreach planning.
  • Manage the National Brownfields Coalition’s activities including membership outreach, subcommittees, communications, research, and advocacy projects.
  • Manage grant or project reporting on a project basis.
  • Contribute to a program of work and team environment that explores and strengthens connections between smart growth strategies, racial equity, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
  • Represent SGA and present SGA’s work as needed in collaboration with LUD team members.

Educational Background

Applicants with degree/advanced degree/experience in Urban Planning, Public Administration, Public Policy, Sociology, or related disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply.

Professional qualifications


  • Commitment to SGA’s North Star, with a demonstrated commitment to equitable development outcomes and advancing racial equity;
  • 5+ years of progressively responsible experience working in, and knowledge of a smart-growth-related field, such as land use, housing, equitable development, sustainability, climate mitigation, or another closely related field;
  • Excellent writing and communication skills;
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of land use and planning processes;
  • Interest in brownfields redevelopment and planning;
  • Ability to closely manage projects including timelines, work plans, partner communications, and production of deliverables;
  • Ability to prioritize and efficiently deliver multiple assignments;
  • High motivation for accuracy and attention to detail;
  • Demonstrated experience as an organizational ambassador in external settings such as public hearings, conferences, workshops, and partnerships.


  • Advocacy or legislative experience or exposure at the local, state, or federal level;
  • Working knowledge of or specific professional experience in brownfields;
  • Experience with coalitions such as communications, outreach, and member recruitment;
  • Working knowledge of the Google Office Suite
  • Working knowledge of quantitative, design, and spatial programs, such as ESRI’s ArcGIS, Tableau, and/or design programs such as Canva, InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop.


Salary is commensurate with applicable experience with a range of $64,000-$71,500. The successful candidate would need to have at least 5+ years of progressively responsible experience, some of the preferred and quantitative skills, project management experience, and mission alignment to be considered for a salary at the top of the range. Internal equity is also a factor in determining a final salary.

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 Street NW, Washington DC three days per week. No relocation assistance is offered at this time. SGA requires employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 and boosted. Other COVID protocols include social distancing for meetings, and masks are encouraged, though not required.

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 a cover letter and resume to [email protected] with “LUD Program Manager” in the subject line. In your cover letter, please share what interests you about working for Smart Growth America / the Land Use & Development team, and what key issue(s) in land use and development you see as having the biggest impact on Americans, particularly low-income Americans and people of color, and why? Please also indicate how you’ve learned of this opportunity.