A business professional based in Chicago, IL, Smita Shah received her bachelor of science in civil engineering from Northwestern University and her master of science in civil and environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since 2009, Smita Shah has used her knowledge of and passion for civil engineering to serve as the vice-chair of the Chicago Plan Commission, a group ensuring that proposed uses for public lands benefit the city’s long-term goals.
First created in 1909 to implement the “Plan of Chicago,” a series of citywide improvements proposed by architects Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett, the Chicago Plan Commission oversaw such changes as wider streets, new railroad facilities, and additional civic buildings. The commission is now concerned with the development of city districts and other long-term community plans. Supervised by the Land Use Planning and Policy Division of Chicago, IL, it also approves ordinances and potential sales of city-owned land. From new parks to renovations of public buildings, the Chicago Plan Commission has a wide-ranging impact on city life.