Betsy (Elizabeth) Jacobson

Betsy (Elizabeth) Jacobson


Work History

Work History
Dec 2010 - Present


Green Futures Lab

Exploring sustainable approaches to suburban cities, our multidisciplinary team is developing form-based code for two neighborhoods commercial districts. The outcome of this community outreach process will be a final report with recommendations for revised code and design standards

May 2009 - Sep 2009

Timber Stand Improvement

Operated chainsaw to mitigate damage from Pine Beetle infected and hazard trees and implement forest management strategies. Cataloged field analysis using GPS to prepare future timber sales

Sep 2005 - Jun 2008

Program Coordinator, Design Center Assistant, Intern

Saint Paul on the Mississippi Design Center - Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation

Coordinated with the public sector and various decision makers to create a new vision for the city, generated community mapping projects, participated in public realm and private development design review, created visual communication, and facilitated charrettes

Sep 2006 - Dec 2007

Interim Program Director

U-PLAN Community Planning Studio

Established a satellite community planning not-for-profit. Developed marketing and web design, delegating student internship projects, hosted community meetings, and teamed with Saint Paul AIA to prepare and carryout visioning workshop

Aug 2005 - Nov 2005

Sales Associate, Designer

REDLURERED Design + Interiors

Provided customer service and sales assistance, prepared bookkeeping, and built physical and virtual architectural models

Apr 2005 - Sep 2005

Architectural Intern

Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board

Generated architectural drawings (CAD) for historic structures and staffed community meetings and working sessions with neighborhood residents


Sep 2009 - Present

Urban Planning + Design Candidate

University of Washington

Certificate of Urban Design

Certificate of Historic Preservation

Sep 2001 - May 2005

Bachelor of Science in Architecture

University of Minnesota

BS, Architecture: Dean’s list

Minor, Business Management

Semester directed study, Asian Architecture


Form-Based Codes Institute, The ABC's of Form-Based Codes, Burien, WA, February 2011

The Waterfront Center’s 27th Annual International Conference on Waterfront Planning, Development and Culture, Seattle, WA, October 2009

Design for Livable Livability: Sustainable Cities, Seattle, WA, October 2009

Saving Places: Colorado Preservation, Inc annual Conference, Denver, CO, February 2009

Colorado State Planning and Landscape Architecture Conference, Breckenridge, CO, September 2008

Creating Green Development Initiatives in Local Governments, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Saint Paul, MN, March 2008

Designing Community Places: Bike/Walk Street and Livable Streets, Transit for Livable Communities, Minneapolis, MN, February 2008

Minnesota Master Naturalist, Fridley, MN Spring 2007

Designing for Volume Control Requirements in the East metro, Erosion and Sediment Control Program, Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, Engineers, Woodbury, MN, February 2007


I am currently enrolled in my second year of graduate school at the College of Built Environments, University of Washington - Seattle. There I will be studying urban planning with an emphasis on urban design and historic preservation, kayaking on Lake Washington, and learning a new city from bicycle.

I spent three years working under a licensed architect and planner at a not-for-profit urban design center. Recognized as a creative problem solver, I facilitated numerous urban planning and community engagement projects. Two recent projects include developing a series of  AIA 150, Block-By-Block Workshops (a collaboration with the American institute of Architects and local property owners to envision transit-oriented development in response to future Light Rail Transit), and coordinating the Snelling Green Streets Charrette(a two-day streetscape charrette exploring water quality improvements within the public realm).

As a LEED Accredited Professional, I have been greatly involved in the sustainable environmental movement. This is demonstrated in my participation with the Saint Paul Mayor’s Green Construction Policy Group. In addition, I fulfilled a McKnight Foundation grant to improve dialogue between local developers, engineers, and local governments, by developing an award-winning Water Quality Method Card system. This project was released at a half-day symposium with over 200 attendees, which I helped plan, promote, and execute within budget.

Multidisciplinary Focus:

architecture | environmental sustainability | graphic design | historic preservation | project coordination | real estate | urban planning


Seattle Landmark Preservation Board, Commission Member, 2010-current

1-year commitment serving on the board, reviewing nominations, and voting

Planning Student Association, Co-president, 2010-current

Emerging Green Builders, Denver Chapter, Design Competitor, 2009-2009

Participate in state-wide architecture and urban planning design competition for Denver's Aurora campus

Toastmasters Internationsl, Inc., District 26, Member, 2009-current

Develope oral communication and leadership skills, which will in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth 

Mayor’s Green Construction Policy Advisory Group, Member, 2008

Research precedents for applying green-rating systems to newly constructed buildings that receive public financing

Tilsner Housing Arts Co-op, Accountant, Board Member, Event Volunteer, 2007-2008

Helped write new bylaws for my housing co-op and worked with a local environmental organization to construct roof-top garden plots

Trust for Public Land National Park(ing) Day, Participant, 2007-2008

Teamed with City Public Works Department to temporarily install lamp posts and flower plantings in metered parking spots, including the Mayor’s designated parking spot, to promote additional city green space

TCMoCA: Twin Cities Museum of Contemporary Art, Board Member, 2007-2008

Original board member developing a vision for a contemporary art museum that focuses on sustainable art practices and education

Master Naturalist Program, Minnesota Chapter, Minnesota Master Naturalist, 2007

Became certified and conducted a service learning project teaching children about GPS and tracking invasive species

Minnesota Design Team, Participant, 2007

During an intensive three-day design charrette, worked with rural citizens to translate sustainable solutions into realistic models the community could implement

SOLUTIONS Twin Cities, Event Planner, 2006-2008

Assisted in planning large-scaled events aimed at attracting local designers, artists, and activists to a rapid-fire exchange of ideas

AIA Unauthorized Design Charrette, Participant, 2006-2008

Volunteered with architects to produce conceptual design concepts for a controversial site to influence public debate about what to build

Midtown Greenway Coalition, Land Use and Transportation Committee, Committee Member, 2006-2008

Listened to developers’ proposals and reflected concerns over potential impact to the Midtown Greenway bike path

Search for Shelter, Participant, 2005-2007

Students worked with professional architects to propose a design solution for a variety of local not-for-profits

Cedar Cultural Center, Events Volunteer, 2004-2008

Regularly staffed music and community events


Creating lasting impacts on the form, appearance, and vitality of our built environments.

Honors and Awards

Lee and Rolaine Copeland Endowed Fellowship in Urban Design

2008 Planning and Research Design Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (MASLA)


Solid graphic and computer skill set including: Apple and Windows operating systems, Geographic

Information Systems (Arc GIS), Microsoft Excel and Power Point, Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver,

Illustrator, In-Design, and Contribute, SketchUp, intermediate experience with AutoCAD and

proficiency with watercolor, oil painting, freehand sketching and drafting


Mar 2008 - Present

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED A.P.)

United States Green Building Council (USGBC)
Mar 2007 - Present

Minnesota Master Naturalist

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
Jun 2009 - Jun 2011

Sawer 'A'

USDA Forest Service
May 2009 - May 2011

Heartsaver First Aid / First Responder

American Heart Association