Intern, Transit Oriented Development, University of Chicago

World Resources Institute
  • Location
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
  • Posted
    Mar 26

Position description

Internships at WRI provide opportunities for motivated young professionals to learn from our experts and participate in engaging work at the intersection of environment and development.  WRI provides many internship opportunities throughout the year in all of our programs and offices. We seek interns with diverse backgrounds and who are passionate about the environment to help us make a direct global impact. For more information, see our website: Internships at WRI.

WRI is committed to ensuring gender equity across our program portfolios. As such, the Intern is expected to incorporate attention to gender where appropriate.

The WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities works to make cities more connected, compact and coordinated. Cities are responsible for 70% of global CO2 emissions which can only be dramatically reduced through an integrated approach to urban development that reorients the shape of the city. After 15 years, we’ve built a strong reputation for on the ground impact grounded in practical policy research that offers advice on reducing urban emissions. We now have a network of more than 180 experts spread across Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Turkey, Ethiopia and the US. Our expertise expanded from traditional urban transport to cross cutting issues related to urban development and efficiency. We’ve made choices about the areas we work in because we believe they have the best chance of transforming business as usual development into a greener more sustainable future.

The intersection of these issues is transit oriented development (TOD) where public and private investment is coordinated to bring about dense, livable, and green neighborhoods. To date very few cities have the planning and governance tools to create this type of livable urban density that leverages the nexus between buildings, mobility, service provision, and land use planning. This is partially driven by an acute backlog in infrastructure investment is estimated at around US$1 trillion annually with an estimated $6.3 trillion by 2030 in developing countries (NCE, 2014). The investment gap makes it difficult for city governments leverage their ability to plan ahead while also dramatically raising the cost of development for private investors. As a result, examples of coalitions between private, public and community groups to deliver a new development path are largely limited to the global north. The Ross Center’s work on TOD grew out of our support for large scale public transport systems. As we delved further into transportation projects, we could not ignore the areas around new stations if we hoped to increase ridership and see cities fully capture the benefit of transport infrastructure. After nearly 10 years of working with cities we’ve developed tools to move TOD closer to reality through reconsidering design, community engagement and infrastructure provision.

Developing a TOD Placemaking Accelerator

We are seeking an intern to work with our global solution lead to engage experts across our network in a review of the last ten years, develop new training materials and support building a broader coalition of organizations supporting TOD across the globe. The intern will provide support on:

  1. Case Studies that brings together our on the ground experience with Transit Oriented Development. The research would build on our recently launched knowledge hub, the TOD World Resource, to provide a clear review of existing city experiences with attempts to integrate planning. The intern will have the opportunity to work with counterparts in Mexico, India and Brazil.
  2. Training modules and tools on selecting TOD sites and creating financing packages. WRI co-developed an on-line TOD Corridor training course with the World Bank that provides an overview of the TOD process. The new training modules are being developed through work in Guadalajara, Mexico where the intern will have an opportunity to interface with international experts and local city leaders to finalize training materials.


The intern will gain experience in the following areas:

  • Writing case studies
  • Conducting research
  • Developing training materials
  • Assisting in training and outreach
  • Writing
  • Editing/proofreading
  • Supporting online communications


  • Degree: The intern must be currently pursuing a master's degree in the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. 
  • Bachelor's degree in Public Policy, International Relations, Environmental Studies, Urban Planning, or related is preferred
  • Excellent research skills
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Strong oral communications skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work both independently as well as part of a team
  • Ability to present complex information in a clear and concise manner
  • Ability to work calmly and enthusiastically under high pressure
  • Ability to think creatively
  • Flexible
  • Highly responsible, self-motivated
  • Extremely well organized and efficient

This position is dependent on the student receiving stipend from the University of Chicago. WRI does not offer stipend for this internship.  

Duration: This is a summer internship for 3 months.

Start/End Months: Flexible start and end month dates. Between (May-October) based on the student’s availability and need from the project.

Application instructions

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