Urban Planner

Laura Kessel, PLA, AICP, is a principal at RDG whose work focuses on urban planning initiatives and developing the next generation of design professionals. 

Laura's approach to urban planning is characterized by her belief that designers and planners can find creative solutions to seemingly competing priorities to create vivid, livable spaces that address the multifaceted needs of diverse users. Her award-winning master planning experience has helped shape more than 30 neighborhoods and districts across the country, from Idaho to Pennsylvania, Texas to Minnesota.

As a leader in the firm, Laura aims to break down barriers and cultivate environments that empower people to do their best work every day to achieve exceptional outcomes for our clients. She is passionate about creating and sustaining inclusive environments and fostering supportive atmospheres that ensure every person feels heard and valued. 

Laura holds bachelor’s degrees in landscape architecture and community & regional planning from Iowa State University. She is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and a member of the Des Moines Planning & Zoning Commission. Her commitment to people and community is evident in her involvement with Iowa Women in Architecture, where she previously served as chair and co-led the creation of the "Best Practice Recommendations for the Design Profession" document, which led to the organization winning a national AIA Diversity Award.