Brookwood Leadership

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Debra Edelson

A principal with the women-owned Brookwood Design Group LLC, Debra A. Edelson brings a strong sense of mission and expertise to P3 partnerships, integrating public, private, non-profit resources to achieve strategic projects — schools, affordable housing, healthcare, fitness to greenway infrastructure and stormwater mitigation — to advance thriving, mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods, and districts.

Debra has served in the government, corporate and the nonprofit sectors honing her skills in building smart partnerships across traditional divides. Debra served in local government, first in New York City’s economic development agency and then the Mayor’s Office, and years later after her relocation as a Planning Commissioner in Dekalb County in metropolitan Atlanta.

With an eye towards transportation and infrastructure, she was engaged in a range of railroad and transit programs and projects, acquiring rights of way, etc., that lead to the launch of the New York Highline while employed by CSX. This world-renowned linear revitalization project informed her work on subsequent experiences that include the assembling of parks and trails of the Atlanta Beltline, visioning and implementing the related Proctor Creek Greenway trail, and conserving corridors of land along the Chattahoochee River.

Working in the nonprofit sector, Debra was the founding Executive Director and Board Member of the Grove Park Foundation which executed nearly $100 million in land acquisition, program and construction projects in an underserved Atlanta community that included a health clinic, K-8 school, YMCA early learning center and 110 units of affordable housing. Before that she managed the Trust for Public Land Georgia Office’s greenspace and urban and river conservation programs. When Debra moved to Atlanta in 2001, she led the Habitat for Humanity real estate efforts, acquiring, entitling, and permitting land for the house construction program.

Debra has held local board positions, is an alumna of the Atlanta Regional Commission’s Regional Leadership Institute, advises the Georgia Tech sustainability program, has served on the South Fork Conservancy Board among others. She has been a frequent guest lecturer at the Emory Rollins School of Public Health and the Georgia Tech undergraduate faculty for introductory urban planning courses. Debra holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning from New York University and a B.A. in Urban Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University.


Brookwood Group

Development & Investment | Strategic Planning | Management of Design & Construction