George Proakis | Board Member
City of Somerville, Mass.
As the Planning Director in one of New England's fastest-growing cities, George Proakis facilitates the implementation of the SomerVision city plan, with its 568 goals, policies, and actions on such varied topics as zoning, urban design, stormwater recharge, backyard chickens, family housing, dining decks, and dormers. Following Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone’s direction for his staff to “be abnormal,” Mr. Proakis has turned neighborhood planning and zoning on its head, creating new strategies to bring neighbors together and build consensus for better development. His team in Somerville is creating the most innovative zoning regulation in New England. As described by his staff, Mr. Proakis is one of the only people who can give a talk about zoning that leaves an audience captivated, educated, and entertained. Mr. Proakis is a big fan of well-written regulations, walkable neighborhoods, open government, the Boston Red Sox, and the Oxford comma. He holds a Master of City Planning from MIT, a Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse, and a degree in Civil Engineering from Northeastern University.