Gregory Heller is a practitioner and author in the fields of community/economic development and urban policy. In March 2016 the Board of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority appointed Greg as its Executive Director. The PRA is the City’s implementation arm for community development, charged with leveraging the City’s assets to provide redevelopment opportunities, and also create and preserve affordable housing, and improve quality of life. In June 2015 he was a speaker at TEDx Philadelphia, where he talked about the potential of “social impact real estate” to transform America’s urban communities.
In 2016 Greg was named a member of the Urban Land 40 Under 40, which recognizes the “best young land-use professionals from around the globe.” In 2017 AIA Pennsylvania presented Greg with its Government Award, “given in recognition of significant contributions to, or particular support of, the profession and business of architecture and/or the built environment.” In 2017 the Greg was also named to the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 Under 40.
Prior to his work at the PRA Greg was CEO of American Communities Trust (ACT), a national organization based in Baltimore, that advises private real estate developers, government entities, and financial institutions, helping them connect their resources with urban and low-income communities. Greg grew the organization to serve clients in over 25 cities, advising on a portfolio of projects that impact low-income communities.
Starting in 2013 Greg served as a Senior Advisor with Econsult Solutions Inc., a Philadelphia-based economics firm. From 2009-2012, he worked at The Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation, in West Philadelphia, serving first in a project management role, and then as the organization’s Director. Here Greg was project manager for the Center for Culinary Enterprises, a $6.5 MM, 13,000 square-foot food business incubator.
From 2006-2009 Greg was a design analyst at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, working on planning, policy, and grant administration projects. Here Greg was the primary author of “Promoting Civic Design Excellence for Philadelphia,” an agenda for improving the quality of the city’s urban design and development. Following the publication of this report, Greg was invited to serve on Mayor Michael Nutter’s transition teams, where he helped implement the report’s policy recommendations. From 2004-2006 Greg was Director of Planning at the Parkside Historic Preservation Corporation, an affordable housing developer in West Philadelphia focusing on historic, adaptive reuse projects.
Greg is the author of “Ed Bacon: Planning, Politics and the Building of Modern Philadelphia” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), and Greg’s writings on urban design and development have appeared in a variety of local and national publications. Greg serves on several civic organizations, including Families Forward Philadelphia, Philadelphia’s largest family homeless shelter. Greg is founder of the Better Philadelphia Challenge, an annual, international urban design competition administered today by the Philadelphia Center for Architecture.
In 2012 Greg was awarded Community College of Philadelphia’s Distinguished Leadership Award, and in 2008 he was named by Leadership Philadelphia one of the city’s “101 Emerging Connectors.” Greg has a B.A. from Wesleyan University, where he graduated with a dual degree in American Studies and German Studies. Greg lives with his wife and son in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia.