Vanessa Barrios conducts research and outreach on projects related to affordable homes, community engagement, and equitable economic development in the region.

Vanessa spearheads the Healthy Regions Planning Exchange, an RPA-led initiative that convenes a network of planners, practitioners, and advocates from 11 regions across the country to address health and equity in planning. Prior to joining RPA in 2016, she worked as a case manager, housing navigator, and outreach worker at People Assisting the Homeless, a homeless service organization that serves the Greater Los Angeles area.

Vanessa has a bachelor’s in sociology from the University of California, Riverside, and a master’s in urban planning from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University where she focused on international development planning. This specialization culminated in an analysis of local economic growth in the 30 regions of Tanzania and provided recommendations for industry potential and quality of life improvements. Vanessa currently resides in Brooklyn where enjoys tending to her small but mighty windowsill garden.