Wendy E. Brawer

About Wendy


Everyday Experience, Enhanced

Design Activist, Director, Entrepreneur, Innovator

WEB - Wendy's initials helped her identify with the hum of the web of life in an early age. Today, she has a wide range of experiences and collaborations in sustainable design.

Creator of the Green Map System and director since 1995, Wendy Brawer is a designer, social innovator, consultant, and speaker. Based in New York and focused on community-engaged regenerative design since 1989, Wendy created the original map of New York's environment, the Green Apple Map in 1992.

Download Wendy's Resume here, and explore all the sections below, please.

A pioneer in collaborative internet-based development, Wendy has led the development of the nonprofit Green Map System, its acclaimed universal iconography, inclusive methodology and locally-led global network. With local projects in about 1,000 cities in 65 countries, Green Map is extending to the making of green places, in addition to maps, experiences, etc. See GreenMap.org. Locally, Wendy pilots new concepts in mapping for engagement for and with New Yorkers - see GreenMapNYC.org

In addition to placemaking and projects, Wendy has also spoken on sustainable and social design at scores of conferences and universities. Her social innovations and design consultancies have addressed renewable energy, waste reduction and community engagement. Wendy's work for our common future has been covered by the media since 1992. She was included among the 50 Visionaries Changing Your World, according to UTNE, and more recently made the (Post) Growth shortlist. Wendy has been the Designer in Residence at the Smithsonian National Design Museum, a Lower East Side Hero and a TED Resident, among other honors. Wendy 'walks her talk' as an everyday cyclist, board member and mentor.

Sane Energy's Radical Mapping event, 2016

Sane Energy's Radical Mapping event, 2016


Board Member, Initiator, Advisor & Participant

Engaged and contributing to community and global well being, Wendy works with several New York and international organizations.

Board of Directors:                                                               

ABC No Rio                                                                                                                                                                 

Sarapis Foundation                                                                                                                                      

Green Map System                                                                     


Sol Design Lab  & Emerji

Anthropocene Design


 Stanton Building Task Force                                                                                

 Further Inc                                                                     

 Collective for Community, Culture and the Environment

Cutoff Coalition                          

Gardens Rising  launch, 2015. Wendy provided maps and strategy that led to this $2 million New York State green infrastructure grant.

Gardens Rising launch, 2015. Wendy provided maps and strategy that led to this $2 million New York State green infrastructure grant.

Sharing Knowledge for a Sustainable Future

Synthesizer, Tool maker, Mentor, Moderator

Sharing what she knows to expedite progress toward sustainability, Wendy is continually teaching, questioning, learning and collaborating. Sustainable design, social innovation, systems thinking, green marketing and communications, locative and social media, community engagement, universal design and more.

Wendy Brawer co-taught one of the very first sustainable design courses in New York, a "think and do tank" with Mark Seltman at Cooper Union in 1990. She has taught at NYU Gallatin and partners with Parsons The New School of Design, too. Wendy has interacted with university students at dozens of schools, including School of Visual Art, California College of Arts, Carnegie-Mellon, Danish Design School, Glasgow School of Art, Hampshire College, RISD, Takaoka University, University of Dublin, University of Michigan, University of Victoria, Finlandia University, and others.

Over the years, 125 interns have had direct education and hands-on training with Wendy, some becoming staff, board members, or leaders of their own Green Map projects.

The  Green Map Impacts book  includes dozens of locally-written short stories coving why and how the project made a difference, most recently updated in 2014

The Green Map Impacts book includes dozens of locally-written short stories coving why and how the project made a difference, most recently updated in 2014


Books and Writing

Reporter, Guidemaker, Blogger, Editor, Publisher

An early participant in the emerging world of sustainable development, Wendy reported from a designer's vantage point. Her words inspire a fresh consideration of familiar places and new approaches to a more livable, beautiful future.

Wendy has written for magazines including In Business, Design World, Whole Earth, Orion, Places, Rana and Innovation, with recent articles in Sallan Torchlight, Midori and the Bowery Boogie. Her professional association newsletter articles helped raise awareness among grantmakers, economists, industrial and interior designers. She has contributed to books such as New Village Press’s Beyond Zuccotti Park,  Aaris Sharin's SustainAble: A Handbook for Graphic Designers, Guerrilla Cartography's Food: An Atlas and Joan Rothchild's Design and Feminism. Wendy has also collaborated on multilingual book production with Green Mapmakers in the Americas and Asia, including 'Green Map Impacts' and 'Mapping Our Common Ground' (third edition - 2018), and the 'Green Map Atlas'.

Articles about Wendy are in GreenMap.org's Archive section. A sampling:

Don't let Wendy Brawer's urban address fool you -- this New Yorker has a soft spot for nature. After all, she's the founder of Modern World Design, an eco-design firm, and has spent the last 11 years at the helm of the Green Map System, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping citizens all over the world document and map their local environmental resources...'
- How Wendy Brawer Put Green on the Map, Grist.org

'"With maps, you can show people how an abstract concept connects to where they live." Wendy Brawer, founding director of GreenMap.org, a mapping site based in New York used by people in 54 countries, says maps can make a point even if they are in a foreign language. "Maps are really helpful for that 'Aha!' moment," she says.
- Mapping a Better World, The Economist

'Opportunism, enterprise and flexibility are equally vital qualities that designers must possess. Wendy Brawer exemplifies how coming up with a good idea is not enough. She brings her entrepreneurial skills and opportunistic use of new communication technologies to turn this into a worldwide agent of change.'
- The Design Experience book by Mike Press and Rachel Cooper


Green Map Archives launch event at the New York Public Library's esteemed Map Room, 2013

Green Map Archives launch event at the New York Public Library's esteemed Map Room, 2013

Consulting and Critique

Greening Pioneer, Trendspotter, Consultant & collaborator

Whether she's working on sustainable product development with companies, bringing heart to the 'crossroads of the world' or helping children see the connection between healthy street trees and tropical rainforests, Wendy takes a practical, anticipatory and inclusive approach.

While directing Green Map System's trajectory and program development since 1995, Wendy consulted on waste reduction, product development, community building and social inclusion. Two early examples:

When Wendy became Time Square's first greening consultant in the mid-90's, she tackled the ever-present swirls of litter and brought dignity to struggling recyclers. Turning each empty bottle or can from an eyesore into a social and eco resource, she designed 'self-emptying' recycling bins for 42nd Street. Making Broadway auto-free was among the fresh concepts she presented to the client, the Times Square BID. Years later, in 2009, the City made it a reality!

As the greening consultant to Manhattan Plaza, a 1,700 unit affordable apartment complex, Wendy worked with management, staff and residents on waste reduction, energy conservation and health. Her water conservation campaign led to a reduction of 65 gallons of water per apartment per day, yielding a 50 million gallon savings over 15 months.

Local projects that benefited from Wendy's experience include Local Spokes, which aims to create a new vision around cycling; E3NYC, a cleantech catalyst project; and Real Returns, a clean tech collaborative (read the Real Returns white paper).

In addition to her role in developing Green Map's corporate responsibility mapping program, as a consultant, Wendy has introduced architects, companies and agencies to green materials and processes, as well as Passive House design. Wendy is a member of the urban planning Collective for Community, Culture and the Environment.

Contact Wendy regarding trends and applications of sustainable design solutions to your company or community needs.

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