Joining RVi in February 2023, Grace Zhang, AICP brings more than 13 years’ experience of professional planning and landscape architecture. Grace is a certified planner (AICP) and urban designer and has worked for a variety of public and private clients in Central Florida and throughout the U.S. South. She joins RVi as Senior Urban Designer.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am originally from Shanghai, China. When I was growing up, I witnessed the rapid growth in China that seemed to just happen overnight. As a child, I wondered about this fast-paced growth and was curious as to how it occurred. As I grew older, I was inspired by the vision for the ideal community that everyone wanted to live in, the framework that planners developed to allow the vision to take place, and landscape architects’ ability to implement it through design and construction (with the partnership of engineers). Inspired with a passion for the development process and consensus building, I attended The University of Texas at Austin for a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and furthered by education with a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning. Working for both private and public sector clients, this profession has afforded me the opportunity to help build the future and have an impact on the built environment that my child will grow up in.

What is your favorite part of working in planning/landscape architecture?

My favorite part about this industry is that every project is different from the last one. There is always something unique about a site or the community you work with which adds excitement and variety to the work we do. Seeing the public interact with and see value in my built projects gives me professional fulfillment.

What are you excited to be working on? What are your favorite types of projects?

The projects that I am most excited about are urban design projects that promote mixed-use development, non-automobile connectivity, and high-quality open space. I look forward to shaping the future of design in my community and enhancing our built environment and the natural world.

What led you to a career at RVi?

I attended graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin. Since RVi is a nationwide firm in Texas, I’ve known about the firm and its projects for a very long time. It is amazing that RVi opened an Orlando office a few years ago and I am now part of it.

If you could pick anyone to sit next to on a 14-hour flight, who would it be?

Ali Wong.

What’s a fun fact that most people don’t know about you?

Grace is not my real name. The name “Grace” was randomly assigned to me by the English teacher when I first started learning the language. I kept it ever since, as it fit my personality and is part of my story. On a personal note, I love watching people interact with the projects that I have been part of, traveling, and enjoying good food. I’m the “Yelp” for authentic Asian cuisine in Orlando and I recommend everyone to try jellyfish.