Urban Spatial Planner

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The Nature Conservancy

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Philadelphia, PA, United States

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30+ days ago


Philadelphia, PA, USA

Wilmington, DE or Philadelphia, PA




Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. Through grassroots action, TNC has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world working in more than 75 countries and territories. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive.

We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. Whether it’s career development, flexible schedules, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want a better insight to TNC? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube on Glassdoor.

Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued. We’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. In addition to the requirements in our postings, we recognize that people come with talent and experiences outside of a job. Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and a culture of inclusion! Please apply – we’d love to hear from you.


The Urban Spatial Planner for Climate Resilience provides technical and scientific support for the Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter’s Urban Conservation Program. This role will lead and manage analyses and projects to advance the urban program’s strategies and initiatives with a heavy emphasis on urban climate resilience and adaptation. The Urban Spatial Planner will develop and manage a series of multi-scale projects that focus on research, analysis, planning, project development, and implementation of nature-based solutions with a wide and diverse set of partners. The Urban Spatial Planner’s work will result in the implementation of tangible place-based conservation projects, policies, and practices that incorporate ecological and social co-benefits to improve the region’s water quality, air quality, and quality of life for the benefit of both people and nature in a changing climate.

The Urban Conservation Program builds on the Conservancy’s science-based, collaborative, results-oriented approach, and its record of contributing creative and effective solutions to conservation challenges in cities. We work to improve the quality of life for residents and communities using equitable nature-based solutions to reduce storm water runoff, reduce urban heat island effect and flooding, improve air quality, and increase access to nature for all residents in the city. We partner with government and non-government partners to tackle climate change, improve air and water quality in and around cities, and promote environmental solutions to enhance the quality of life – all to help foster justice and equity. We work collaboratively with other leading agencies, organizations, communities and coalitions across cities utilizing an environmental justice and social justice lens. Our program operates with an equity-minded approach and a desire for continued learning about socio-historical context of historic underrepresentation, questions assumptions, and makes evidence-based decisions a regular practice. This position will be a key addition to a highly effective and motivated cross-functional team helping to address urban challenges across local, state, national, and international scales. The role will be both internal and external facing and part of a TNC team that works to bridge science and partnerships for the greatest environmental and social benefit on a project portfolio that will change over time.


The Urban Spatial Planner will provide leadership to assess project prioritization and use spatial analysis to inform urban conservation planning, implementation, and monitoring with a focus on improving the quality, accelerating the pace of, and increasing the scale of these efforts. The position will represent TNC while interacting extensively with external partners including government agencies, community-based organizations, and non-profits working to cultivate strong partnerships and jointly funded projects. The planner also provides thought leadership and new project capacity to the team.

This role leads and supports the urban team in identifying and addressing research questions and designing and conducting applied research projects relative to urban climate adaptation and resilience. They collaborate with other scientists, organizations and institutions, and communities to advance adaptation-based, socio-ecological centered urban conservation practices in response to climate change. They develop and provide science, planning, and technical leadership in GIS and other relational database technologies to the team and collaborative partners. The Urban Spatial Planner participates in conservation planning at various levels, develops methods for mapping and classifying ecosystems and ecosystem services, and leads data management; includes developing and maintaining all documentation and data and data management. The role will perform data analysis, design and produce advanced complex queries and professional reports, and processes spatial and other relational data sets. The Urban Spatial Planner produces maps and other graphic products and reports including conservation plans.


  • Serve on a dynamic team leading urban conservation for The Nature Conservancy across multiple states.
  • Lead spatial analyses, data collection, and data management using GIS, relational databases, and other tools for urban conservation.
  • Lead planning and science analyses to advance urban conservation projects.
  • Manage projects, develop partnerships with agencies, organizations, and institutions, participate in program strategic planning.
  • Serve as an external facing member of the team to build and foster partner relationships and execute work on the ground with partners.
  • Manage plans, contracts, grants, budgets and write request for proposals.
  • Scope new projects with existing and potential partners including proposal writing and budget development.
  • Oversee logistics for research, project development, monitoring and fieldwork.
  • Contribute to project fundraising strategy and implementation.
  • Use a variety of communication formats and means to translate science and urban conservation initiatives for a wide range of audiences including agency, NGO, and community-based partners.


  • Master's Degree in science related field and at least 2 years of experience in urban ecology, geography, spatial ecology, climate adaptation, urban and environmental planning or similar field or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience managing and implementing multiple complex projects, workloads, and budgets under deadlines, including coordinating work with peers and partners.
  • Experience synthesizing, interpreting, and communicating scientific information both in writing and verbally.
  • Experience manipulating, analyzing, and interpreting statistical or environmental data.
  • Experience operating GIS software, analyzing data, producing data reports and creating maps.
  • Experience writing reports of findings, grants, and research proposals.
  • Experience working and communicating with a wide range of people.


  • Multi-language skills and multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated.
  • 3 or more years of project management experience or at least 1 year acting as a project lead, including experience in project planning, budgeting, and execution.
  • Strong knowledge of common software applications such as iTree, InVEST, and climate resilience models.
  • Experience managing, maintaining, and populating databases and manual files.
  • Experience with interpretation of image analysis, complex spatial analysis, data modeling, and landscape scenario analysis and communicating results to a wide range of audiences.
  • Expertise in the use of Geographic Information Systems (e.g. Esri products and/or open-source platforms)
  • Experience identifying and addressing research questions.
  • Experience recommending socio-ecological actions based on scientific analysis results.
  • Well versed in geospatial sciences best practices, and an ability to adapt them to meet program focus on both people and nature.
  • Strong team player who can build relationships and work collaboratively across the organization and with program partners.
  • Experience leading or participating on cross functional teams, working and collaborating with a wide range of sectors and people.
  • Experience in equitable partnership development and building relationships with diverse constituencies and stakeholders.
  • Proven communication and presentation skills.
  • Demonstrated fundraising efficacy.
  • Awareness and experience in environmental and/or social justice related work.
  • Experience with data visualization techniques.
  • Experience with monitoring and evaluation of successes.
  • Understanding of the human health dimensions of environmental and conservation challenges including socio-ecological systems and environmentally overburdened communities.
  • Familiarity with urban ecology, functionality of nature-based solutions as well as knowledge of programmatic focus areas including climate adaptation, green infrastructure, air quality, urban heat island effect, flooding, biodiversity, urban forestry, coastal resilience.
  • Knowledge of current trends and practices in urban conservation and innovations underway regionally and nationally.


The Nature Conservancy offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including health care benefits, flexible spending accounts, 401(k) plan to include employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits in the Culture Tab on nature.org/careers.

We’re proud to offer a work environment that is supportive of the health, well-being, and flexibility needs of the people we employ!


This position requires a valid driver's license and compliance with TNC’s Auto Safety Program. Employees may not drive Conservancy-owned/leased vehicles, rental cars, or personal vehicles on behalf of the Conservancy if considered "high risk drivers." To learn more about the Auto Safety Program, visit https://www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/careers/recruitment/ under the FAQ section.

Employment in this position will be contingent upon completion of a Vehicle Use Agreement, which may include a review of the prospective employee's motor vehicle record.


To apply for job ID 51547, submit your materials online by using the Apply Now button at https://careers.nature.org/ by 11:59 PM EST on June 17, 2022. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact applyhelp@tnc.org.

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

Do you have military experience? Visit our U.S. Military Skills Translator to match your military experience with our current job openings!

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to applyhelp@tnc.org with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

Where legally permissible, TNC requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated and willing to keep up to date with vaccines that protect against COVID-19. By accepting an offer of employment, you agree to comply with this requirement, unless you are entitled to a legally mandated exemption.