Katanya Raby is the Greening America’s Cities Community Fellow for the Bezos Earth Fund at The Chicago Community Trust.
In this inaugural role, Katanya leverages her diverse talents to bring together communities impacted by environmental injustice. She is a seasoned urban planner, artist, and activist boasting over a decade of professional experience across nonprofit, government, and corporate realms. Specializing in equitable planning within Chicago communities, Katanya holds the role of At-Large Officer at the American Planning Association Illinois Chapter, serves on the board of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, chairs the Chicago Transit Authority’s Citizens Advisory Board, contributes to the Regional Transit Authority’s Citizens Advisory Board, and is a member of the Lambda Alpha Land Economics Society. She is an alum of the Chicago United for Equity Fellowship, co-founded and presided over the Society of Black Urban Planners at UIC, and established the Al Raby Foundation. Katanya is also a proud alum of AmeriCorps VISTA and City Year Chicago, demonstrating her commitment to planning for equity, providing service to underserved communities, and inspiring youth to shape the future of their communities.
Among Katanya’s notable achievements is her leadership in conducting the Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) on the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) for Chicago’s Department of Housing. This groundbreaking REIA established an inclusive framework for the city’s low-income housing development process, gaining recognition in the Brookings Institute’s June 2023 report on Measuring What Matters for Racial Progress. During her tenure with the Lightfoot Administration, Katanya co-led the development of the ETOD Policy Plan, resulting in the creation of the Connected Communities Ordinance. This ordinance prioritizes opportunities for affordable housing, access to jobs, and enhanced pedestrian and transit infrastructure. As Vice President of Planning and Development at Far South CDC, Katanya spearheaded the planning, designing, and development of POP! Heights Park—an award-winning, vibrant 22,000 sq ft outdoor amenity for Chicago’s Roseland community. This park stands as the first new community asset of its kind introduced to the south Halsted Street corridor in decades.
Katanya, a proud mother of two and graduate of Chicago Public Schools, holds a Bachelor’s in Sociology, a Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy, and a Master’s in City Design from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her previous roles include serving as an associate planner at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning and as a policy advisor to Mayor Lightfoot’s administration. Katanya also contributed to Mayor Brandon Johnson’s Housing Subcommittee of the Mayoral Transition Team.