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avatar for Sarah Dougherty, WEDG

Sarah Dougherty, WEDG

Community Engagement Manager for Offshore Development
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Sarah Dougherty, a senior associate with Karp Strategies, is an urban planner and climate resilience specialist with deep experience in waterfront planning and design for sea-level rise, business development, stakeholder engagement, and advocacy. She has over a decade of experience leveraging resilience and sustainability initiatives to drive equitable outcomes for underserved communities. As an urban planner, Sarah possesses technical skills in waterfront zoning and land use, resilient design, planning for equitable outcomes, and public engagement. She is passionate about bridging technical fields with powerful communications.

Sarah supported the WEDG program at the Waterfront Alliance for four years from 2017-2021. She was hired as a program associate with funding from the Rockefeller Foundation to revise the WEDG Guidelines from a N.Y./N.J. set of guidelines into a nationally applicable standard, along with her colleague and WEDG program manager Kate Boicourt. To that role, Sarah brought a strong equity lens and several years of diverse resiliency planning experience, ranging from street tree planting with the Parks Departments’ MillionTreesNYC campaign, to learning Indonesian and studying how climate risks like flooding affect women in rapidly growing Indonesian cities.

After launching the national WEDG standard and earning the American Planning Association’s Gold National Achievement award, Sarah led the WEDG program, successfully transitioning the program into a revenue-generating, equity-centered platform for innovation in resilient coastal design. To distinguish WEDG from other rating systems and prioritize social equity, Sarah balanced boots-on-the-ground grassroots engagement with establishing revenue streams for professional and project certifications. During the yearlong WEDG Pledge Campaign, Sarah introduced WEDG to NYC’s 43 waterfront community boards, getting 31 of these groups to adopt resolutions supporting higher standards for waterfront development through WEDG. She also helped write bills and deliver testimony for the City Council, and led a NY-NJ task force to publish a white paper on breaking down physical and social barriers to waterfront access. She also developed and helped teach the first ever two-day WEDG Professionals training, exam, and credentialing system, and oversaw the first national project certification of North Waterfront Park in Wilmington North Carolina. Finally, Sarah helped shaped WEDG’s corporate strategy, developing inroads into ESG, green finance, and sustainable real estate in order to increase widespread adoption of WEDG principles.

She has worked in international development with the World Resources Institute, and in operations at Brooklyn Bridge Park and served in AmeriCorps, conducting tree stewardship outreach for Bloomberg’s MillionTreesNYC campaign. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Kenyon College and a master’s degree in City & Regional Planning from Cornell University. Sarah is WELL AP and WEDG Certified, an Association for a Better New York Steering Committee Member, rescue dog mom, plant enthusiast, and runner.