“It was really important for me to attend an Urban Planning program that really focused on advocacy. You can’t build cities without advocacy and equity in mind, otherwise you’re just building profit through exploitation.”
Kyra Cuevas (MUP ’20) is a Queens born, Manhattan educated activist/organizer, multidisciplinary artist/designer, and urban planner. Her passion for equity has permeated through her lifelong journey in New York City. Her work explores relationships between erasure, discovery, and celebration with a special lens of equity. Cuevas toggles between disciplines, from urban planning, community organizing, and multimedia design to architecture and the performing arts (poetry, sound/music, and songwriting.)
Her work has been featured at the FAR Gallery (Fort Lauderdale), Maggi Peyton Gallery (New York City), and the Lebbeus Woods’ Four Ideal houses blog (Virtual), along with a few local newspapers, academic websites, and small businesses.
Professionally, she has worked as an intern for numerous architecture firms/agencies, including Radu Architects and New York City Department of Design and Construction, where her love for Urban Planning, Design, and Public Spaces became more evident. She moved onto work at the Department of Transportation, where she was elected to participate in the agency Equity & Inclusion working group, where she and fellow coworkers conceptualized a citywide environmental justice map for project prioritization, while learning technical environmental review skillsets.
Currently, Kyra is an Urban Planner at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office. She serves as a Land Use Liaison for four community boards, the office’s Landmark’s liaison, and a co-EEO officer. Outside of her 9-5, Kyra is the founder/director of Diverse Streets Initiative (co-founded by Kim Chan), a grassroots organization that utilizes streets as solidarity spaces by uplifting BIPOC, LGBTQIA2s+, immigrant and allied artists, and community organizations. In 2022, the grassroots organization was the recipient of two grants, the Flushing Town Hall Community Arts Grant and the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families NYS AAPI Fund.