Laura Machala has worked as a planner for over fourteen years in a number of different arenas but always with a focus on sustainability and equity. She started her career as a consultant in the San Francisco Bay area, for a small firm called Dyett & Bhatia. There she worked mostly on the housing, parks, and climate elements of master and station area plans for cities in California. While at D&B, she also got to work on a fascinating project for a client in Guatemala that looked at creating a new national park centered on preclassic Mayan archeological sites. After moving to Kansas City, she was employed by the Public Works Department as an Active Transportation Planner, helping the city to integrate bicycle and pedestrian facilities in development plans. For the past eight years, Laura has worked for the regional planning council in Kansas City—the Mid-America Regional Council—first as the Solar Energy Coordinator and then as a Transportation Planner, focusing on transit and mobility planning. Laura and her family moved to Amherst in August 2021. While her husband and kids are new to the area, Laura grew up in the Pioneer Valley, so this is a welcome homecoming.

In the winter 2022 term, Laura will be in the Coach House on Tuesdays, meeting with students to review their planning project work, and will teach occasional classes on planning.

  • BA, Environmental Studies, Oberlin College
  • Master of City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology