Meet Planning Commission's New Housing and Economic Planner

Every month, the Planning Commission highlights one of its staff or board members. Housing and Economic Planner Libby Horwitz, AICP joined the team on June 17th. Libby, a former economic development coordinator for the City of Urbana in Illinois who is originally from Havertown, shared her journey to the Planning Commission and discussed her life philosophy, interests, and more. 

Where are you from? I am originally from Havertown, Pa., but was living in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois (home to the University of Illinois) for the past four years. Between those two places I lived in Philadelphia, Albania, Upstate New York, and New Orleans.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? I have memories of wanting to be an airplane pilot with 12 children.

What is your profession now? I became a city planner with two cats.

What was your first job? I started working at age 13 as an assistant Hebrew School teacher.

What did you study in college? I started in architecture at Tulane University before transferring to get my bachelor’s degree in urban and regional studies at Cornell University. I received my master’s degree in city planning from the University of Pennsylvania with a focus in community and economic development.

How did you get into planning? I started college in architecture naively aiming to work on sustainability and equity issues. After evacuating due to Hurricane Katrina in the second day of my freshman year, I ended up temporarily at Cornell University with a few other Tulane architecture students, two weeks after Cornell’s semester had started. The first year architecture studio was already full, but there was space in a joint architecture and planning studio. Needing one more class to fill out our schedules, one of the student’s parents suggested the introduction to planning course as it would match up with our studio and did not seem too demanding. Luckily I agreed, as through the course I realized city planning was a better direction for me and after one more semester at Tulane I fully transferred.

What three words best describe you? curious, determined, helpful

What is something colleagues don’t know about you? I am a returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Albania, a beautiful country that I would encourage everyone to visit.

What is your life philosophy? Try most things once. Assist to the best of my ability the people and places I come in contact with every day.

What is your favorite place in Chester County? I am new to Chester County and look forward to exploring once I get a bit more settled.

Where would we find you after hours? I tend to keep myself busy so depending on the day I can be found either at home reading or knitting, out socializing, trying new food or playing board games, outdoors hiking, or traveling.

What’s the last book you read? I love reading and am aiming to finish 100 books this year, the last audiobook I finished was On the Come Up by Angie Thomas. Recent favorite reads are Normal People by Sally Rooney, Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, In the Distance by Hernan Diaz, The Idiot by Elif Batuman, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novak, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, and Circe by Madeline Miller.