Project Director, Susan Christopherson Center for Community Planning
Born and raised in Central New York, Gretchen’s childhood memories include traveling the back roads to villages, towns and the rural expanses in between with her father, a Cooperative Extension agent who seemingly knew every farmer in the state. Later, armed with a degree in journalism, she settled in Asia, where she co-founded and ran an award-winning media company that grew to operate in five countries, publishing English- and local-language print and digital media. Along the way, she became actively involved with Restoration Works International, which supports communities in the rehabilitation of their sites of cultural significance. These experiences led her to return to Central New York where, in 2016, she enrolled at Cornell University and received Master’s degrees in historic preservation planning and global development. She also supports the work of the Southeast Asian Cultural Heritage Alliance (SEACHA), a coalition of organizations that preserve and promote the region’s rich cultural heritage.
At the Christopherson Center
After 25 years spent in Asia’s teeming cities, Gretchen is enjoying becoming reacquainted with her Central New York roots. She believes the Christopherson Center can play an important role in supporting community planning efforts that result in a more sustainable built environment, and bring greater equity, engagement and economic resilience.