metropolis on the human scale.




Elena Muraca

B.A. Public and Urban Affairs


Elena Muraca is an alumna of Virginia Tech’s Public and Urban Affairs program. Her undergraduate research focused on sustainable development, intersectional urban policy, and equitable economic practices.

Early on in her academic career, Elena was introduced to urban theorists such as Jane Jacobs and William H. Whyte, two of the many figures who impacted the lens in which she saw the world. When it comes to developing strong urban and rural communities, Elena deeply values the importance of citizen input and collaborations between diverse stakeholders. This way of approaching the planning process was heavily influenced from her time at Piedmont Virginia Community College where she helped to organize ways for her fellow peers to develop political agency in local and state politics. While interning for the Senior Policy Director at D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, she channeled this passion for highlighting community through developing a personal blog, Jane’s Theory, where she began writing articles related to urban and economic policy, as well as record podcasts. In her most recent podcast funded by the Virginia Tech Honors College and the Policy Strategic Growth Area (PSGA), Elena had the honor of traveling the country from Houston to Boston to New York to interview former colleagues of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on a philosophy entitled the Beloved Community. This research has led her to develop a strong sense for what it takes to nurture a shared sense of belonging in any given neighborhood.  

Elena’s passion for Urban Planning has taken her all over the world, from districts across China, to Sydney, Australia to present her research, even to London to attend the Conscious Cities Festival at the Bartlett School of Architecture. Now at the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development, Elena channels her research experience into providing coordination, administrative, and research support for projects in the office as their first ever Project Coordinator.



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