Hi, I'mJohn Cruz, AICP

Urban Planner and Professor in Greater Boston

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John's Resume

Urban Planner and Professor

Housing and Neighborhood Planning Specialist

John is an AICP Certified planner planning specializing in housing policy, production, and impact on local and regional scales. He has used his extensive background in programming and information technology to utilize database systems and Geographic Information Systems. He is comfortable with civic engagement as well as working with the public.

He is currently a Senior Housing and Land Use Planner with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in Boston, Massacusetts and is available for media interviews, speaking engagements, workshops and civic engagements.

Name : John Carlos Cruz
Date of birth : December 31, 1985
CityBoston, MA USA
Email : john@cruzweb.net
Voicemail + 1 313 799 CRUZ


Senior Housing and Land Use Planner@ Metropolitan Area Planning Council (Boston)

Dec 2021 - Present

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) is a regional planning agency providing technical assistance to over 100 communities in the Greater Boston, Massachusetts Region

John joined MAPC in 2021 as a Senior Housing and Land Use Planner at MAPC with prior experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. He works with communities across Greater Boston to address regional and local barriers to housing opportunity, inclusivity, equity, and affordability. He provides project management and technical assistance to implement the goals in MAPC’s regional plan, MetroCommon, including work on housing production plans, zoning, and local policy and programming.

John’s areas of expertise include master planning, affordable housing development, community engagement, neighborhood change, local governance and programming, data practice, and GIS mapping

Other duties in this position include:

  • Manages projects related to housing goals throughout Greater Boston.
  • Implementation of the MetroCommon 2050 Regional land use and policy plan.
  • Technical assistance to local municipalities and others as needed.
  • Housing Production Plans
  • Neighborhood and municipal comprehensive planning
  • Community Engagement for the public and small groups

→ View website, mapc.org

Adjunct Professor of Geographic Information SystemsWashington University in St. Louis, Brown School of Social Work

Jan 2020-Present

The Brown School of Social Work is one of America’s top-ranked schools of social work and is a globally recognized leader in the training of social science researchers.

John provides instruction of graduate students in introductory concepts of geospatial analysis, data management, cartography, and computer science through a social science lens.
    • Instruction of computer software ArcGIS desktop.
    • Engaged in all aspects of adjunct instruction including, but not limited to: lesson planning and curriculum development; in-class and online teaching; and individual student assistance.
→ View website, brownschool.WUSTL.edu

City Planner@ City of Crestwood, MO (St. Louis County)

May 2021 - Dec 2021

the city of Crestwood is an independent and incorporated municipality in st. Louis County, Missouri.

John joined The City of Crestwood in 2021. As the City Planner, he is responsible for all planning, zoning, and economic development in the city.  As an intermediary between the municipal development cope and the public, John provides technical assistance and guidance to property owners, developers, architects, and businesses on how to achieve their development goals in Crestwood.

Internally, John works in the city administration department of city government, helping to guide decisions made by the city administration, department of public works, and the city clerk. He also works closely with the City's Planning, Zoning and Architectural Review Committee, acting as the staff person responsible for setting their agenda, providing supplemental material for meetings, and getting concerns with site plans rectified prior to being brought to a public meeting.

His duties in this position include:

  • Overseeing conformance of developments to the municipal code, comprehensive plan, and applicable overlay districts.
  • Conducting official city review, including zoning review for commercial properties and development review of site plans.
  • Implementing the City's comprehensive plan.
  • Provides reports and recommendations to the Planning, Zoning, and Architectural Review Commission as well as the Board of Aldermen.
  • Responsible for setting the agenda for, and managing as staff the Planning, Zoning, and Architectural Review Commission.
  • Customer service functions of city government, including the validating of commercial occupancy permits and interfacing with the public.
  • Technical assistance for developers, engineering companies, sign companies, and businesses.
  • GIS, map-making, and geospatial analysis.
  • Public speaking and testimony during public hearings.
  • All other duties related to municipal planning, zoning, and economic development.

→ View website, cityofcrestwood.org

Data Management Coordinator@ Rise Community Development (St. Louis)

Dec 2015 - May 2021

Rise provides capacity-building technical assistance and training to community development organizations, government agencies and institutions in the St. Louis region.

John joined Rise in 2015. As the Data Management Coordinator, a position that is part urban planner, part data scientist, he uses geospatial and census data to tell a visual story of what is happening with land use in the St. Louis region while also tracking neighborhood change indicators. As an intermediary between data sources and human consumption, John aides the public in data literacy initiatives and assists community partner organizations to interpret and properly utilize data as a way that can positively impact their service areas.

Internally, John works with both the Rise technical assistance team and real estate team. He provides technical assistance and consulting services to Rise partners, non-profits, and local government. Utilizes geographic information systems data and technology, he works to support all Rise real-estate developments.

John is also heavily involved in community planning efforts in areas related to community engagement, policy research, process planning, and plan production.

Other duties in this position include:

  • Geographic Information Systems for geospatial analysis and cartography.
  • Data analysis via spreadsheets and database systems - with a focus on neighborhood indicators.
  • Work both individually and as part of a team on multiple projects at once with multiple deadlines, including affordable housing development.
  • Community Planning and community development, including community master planning and comprehensive planning for the City of St. Louis and St. Clair County.
  • Experience with HUD systems and comprehensive planning elements including the CAPER, Annual Action Plan, and analyses to the impediments of fair housing.
  • Technical assistance and consulting to community organizations, non-profits, government entities, and others.
  • Community Engagement via public meetings, charrettes, trainings as a data intermediary, various speaker engagements / workshops, and others.

→ View website, risestl.org

Community Development Intern @ Old North Restoration Group (St. Louis)

Sep 2015 - Dec 2015

Old North St. Louis Restoration Group is a community based non-profit aiding the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis.

John lends his time as a part-time intern aiding the office in whatever duties are necessary. These include:

  • Community development research and recommendations
  • Grant writing and related research
  • IT and web based needs.
  • As needed organizational based work.
  • John continues to volunteer with and aide the organization on an as-needed basis

→ View website

Web Developer @ Face3 Media (Montréal)

Mar 2014 - Jul 2015

Face3 Media is a full service web design and development firm, which services a wide variety of clients.

Projects include small business websites, custom web applications, and custom Wordpress development. John joined the development team at Face3 in 2014 after relocating to Montréal. John's duties as a developer at Face3 include:

  • Software development on the Wordpress platform, including custom plug-in development and front-end development.
  • Large and small scale projects including e-commerce and large music festivals.
  • Backend web programming using PHP, MySQL databases.

→ View website

Immigration Research and GIS Intern@ Global Detroit (Detroit)

Nov 2012-Mar 2013

Global Detroit, a part of the New Solutions group is a small non-profit organization, which aims to strengthen Southeast Michigan and make Detroit a global city by pursuing initiatives that will make the region more attractive to immigration and foreign investment.

Completed an extensive mapping project and social / economic statistics report on the foreign-born populations of the Metro Detroit area. Worked directly with Global Detroit staff as well as Kurt Metzger of Data Driven Detroit on this project. You can download the full report along with the companion maps at the Global Detroit website here.

The final report received news coverage from various media outlets, including:

John was asked, along with Kurt Metzger of Data Driven Detroit, to do an interview on WDET’s The Craig Fahle Show for a segment titled “Detroit: America’s Melting Pot”.  Click here to download a PDF of the WDET segment notes and click here to download an MP3 of the interview.

→ View website

Social Media Manager and Photographer@ Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program (Detroit)

Mar 2013-Aug 2013

The Detroit Revitalization Fellows Program is a fellowship program housed at Wayne State University that recruits professionals and helps to place them with potential organizations to help aide in the economic recovery of Detroit.

John developed social media strategies with DRFP staff as well as other Wayne State partner organizations to reach a broader audience and spread program awareness through social media. This included social media updates from partner organizations and employers of fellows. He also worked to produce demographic reports, presentations and statistics on the potential fellows as well as social media benchmarks.

Other duties included on-site photography and photo editing for various program events with fellows and potential fellows.

→ View website

Web Developer@ The Red Theory Online Services

Jun 2008-Jul 2013

The Red Theory Online Services is a small business that provides custom web solutions, web design and programming for individuals, non-profits, and businesses. John was The Red Theory’s first employee.

Worked in custom development on numerous consumer platforms including: blogging platforms, content management systems, e-Commerce, and web programs run on custom frameworks primarily using PHP.

  • Custom web design utilizing Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, CSS, and template schemes that work on various online platforms.
  • Worked directly with clients and partner agencies to collaborate on projects.
  • Oversaw work of other designers, developers and interns.

→ View website

Web Content Producer@ CBS Detroit (Detroit)

Sept 2011-Dec 2011

CBS Detroit features the stories of people and places from Southeast Michigan

Produced the first “Defend Your Ride” segments for CBS Local Detroit, interviewing people about their cars and their driving activities.

Conducted on-location interviews and photographed people with their rides.

→ View example interview

eCommerce Developer@ Signs365 (Utica, MI)

Oct 2006-Dec 2007

Signs365.com is a “Business to Business” producer of custom signage. John designed and built the online system to purchase signs from scratch.

Working with ownership and staff, John was able to access the business needs and designed an online ordering system that would allow the business to stop local “business to customer” sales and focus entirely on online sales. Once the site was active, he worked to fix software bugs, add site improvements, design changes, handled customer support, and eventually coordinated all the day's shipments via DHL and UPS.

When John started, the company had no presence on the web. When he left, online sales were up to around $20k per month and in-store sales were almost completely phased out. Since then, the company has continued to build and expand upon the technology. They are now located in Macomb TWP Michigan with a large printing warehouse to handle all the worldwide orders.

→ View website


Master of Urban Planning Wayne State University

Sep 2009 - Jun 2012

At Wayne State University, John's graduate research focused on economic development and public transit systems. View Diploma

BSc in Web DevelopmentBaker College

Sept 2003 - Jun 2008

At Baker College, John focused on skill building in programming, databases, and web standards. View Diploma.

High School DiplomaMount Clemens High School

Aug 1999 - June 2003

John's High School tenure was largely focused on music performance (saxophone), jazz theory, and music education.

  • Graduation Honors for Music and the National Honor Society (Junior year President).
  • 2002 Central Michigan University Jazz Fest class B-C-D Outstanding Soloist Award for baritone sax playing during Carnival by Steve Spiegl.
  • Stage Crew for all in-school productions and the community concert series.
  • Marching Band, Jazz Band, Student Teacher (6th grade woodwinds).
  • First three years of High School completed at Mt. Clemens Senior Academy, an Edison Partnership School.

Boards and Committees

Permanent Steering Committee Member@ St. Louis Regional Data Alliance

July 2018 - April 2022

The Regional Data Alliance is an initiative in St. Louis that works to address the region's data challenges alongside a growing number of partner governments, universities, funders, nonprofits, healthcare providers, private businesses, and strategic initiatives.

Board of Directors | Communications Committee Chairman @ St. Louis Metro Section of the American Planning Association (Missouri Chapter)

July 2016 - Dec 2020

The American Planning Association is the largest professional organization of community planners in the United States. The St. Louis Metro Section covers the 11-county St. Louis Metropolitan Area in both Missouri and Illinois. John was on the planning committee for the 2017 Missouri State Planning Conference in St. Louis.

→ View website

Executive Committee Member@ National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (Washington DC)

Jan 2018 - Dec 2020

Coordinated by the Urban Institute, NNIP consists of organizations in 32 cities that share a mission to help community stakeholders use neighborhood data for better decision-making, with a focus on working with low-income communities. The Executive Committee is a partially elected body which oversees the direction of NNIP.

→ View website

Charter Board Member | Treasurer@ Civ Tech St. Louis (St. Louis)

Aug 2017 - Sept 2018

CivTech STL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the goal of empowering citizens with tools and data that lead to more effective government, a more engaged community, and a more equitable society. John helped oversee efforts to turn CivTech into a nonprofit from an initiative, serving a year on the board as Vice President and Treasurer.


American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)

John received his AICP credentials from the American Planning Assocation in 2022. 


2019 Community Planning Champion Award

Awarded by the American Planning Association, St. Louis Metro Section to individuals or groups for impactful contributions to the community.

2018 Outstanding plan making Award

Awarded by the American Planning Association, St. Louis Metro Section to a single planning effort in the region for the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods Plan 

2018 Outstanding Local Government Achievement Award

Awarded by the East-West Gateway Council of Governments for the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods Plan