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Marisa Novara

Marisa joined MPC in 2011. She directs MPC's housing and community development work, and manages technical assistance and support to communities facing development challenges related to housing, transportation, environment and economic development. Her work directly assists communities to promote revitalization, housing in job-rich areas, sustainable development and conservation, and interjurisdictional and corridor planning.

Prior to MPC, Marisa spent a year in Milan, Italy, completing her master’s degree in urban planning with a focus on international community development. Her studies were informed by years of work on the ground in Chicago, most recently as the senior project manager for Lawndale Christian Development Corporation. There, she directed more than $30 million in affordable rental and for-sale housing development in the North Lawndale neighborhood. She also worked in community development at the Steans Family Foundation and Carole Robertson Center for Learning.

A Michigan native, Marisa has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in sociology, master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, certificate in affordable housing finance, development and management from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and master’s in urban planning from the Istituto Politecnico di Milano, where her master’s thesis explored the role that an intermediary could play in advancing the community development field in northern Italy.

Marisa serves on the Community Development Committee of The Resurrection Project, the Public Policy Committee of the Urban Land Institute, was a 2014 Marshall Memorial Fellow and is in the 2016 class of Leadership Greater Chicago. She lives in Little Italy with her husband and two sons.


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Photo of Marisa Novara


Marisa Novara Director
312 863 6044

Areas of expertise

  • Community development and engagement
  • Affordable housing development
  • Housing policy
  • Housing finance


M.S. in Urban Planning, Istituto Politecnico di Milano
M.A. in Social Service Administration, University of Chicago
B.A. in Sociology, University of Michigan

This page can be found online at

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616

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