Our Mission

CSU is a New York-based, not-for-profit organization 501(c)(3) formed to promote ​a better understanding of the role of sustainable urbanization and resilient design. We connect global thought leaders concerned with urbanization to exchange ideas in high-level meetings and public forums, disseminate information online and in print, and expand opportunities for youth to participate in global urbanization processes. We believe that a cross-sectoral approach can improve the quality of life for all and focus on replicable ideas, best practices, and speculative proposals.

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Board Members

Rick Bell

Rick Bell

Immediate Past President

Fredric (Rick) Bell is Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University where he also serves as Deputy Director of the Center for Buildings, Infrastructure and Public Space. He has also taught at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark. Rick is a registered architect in New York and New Jersey and previously served as Executive Director of Design and Construction Excellence at the New York City Department of Design and Construction.

At DDC he was also Chief Architect and Assistant Commissioner of Architecture and Engineering. On leave from DDC, Rick served as Executive Director of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects where he helped establish and animate the Center for Architecture on LaGuardia Place. After architectural studies at Yale and Columbia, he worked in offices in New York, France, and Switzerland. He has been an invited member of many juries at architecture schools in the US and for many architectural design competitions. A frequent lecturer at AIA, UIA, and other design conferences, he was on the advisory board of the inaugural NYC Architecture Biennial in 2020. Apart from his role on the CSU executive committee, Rick currently serves on the board of the Creative Exchange Lab and is a Commissioner of the Summit Environmental Commission. He is a member of the AIA, the Architectural League, the Urban Design Forum, and nycoba|NOMA. A Fellow of the AIA, Rick is also a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, conferred by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.

Lance Jay Brown


Lance Jay Brown is President and founding Board Member of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization (UN NGO). Born in Brooklyn, Brown previously taught at Princeton, was educated at the Cooper Union and Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) and former Chair and Director of the Spitzer School of Architecture, City University.

He was 2014 President of the AIA New York Chapter, holds the title of Distinguished Professor for Life Emeritus from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and received the coveted AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. He co-founded the AIA Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee. He was a UN-HABITAT III Policy Unit 8 member and 2016 Quito presenter. Prof. Brown was a two-term Board Member of the Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation and a founding Advisory Board Member of both the NYC Architecture Biennial and International Nighttime Design Initiative. He holds an M.Arch and M.UD from Harvard and was a Paris Fulbright Fellow. Publications include: Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space; The Legacy Project: New Housing New York; Urban Design for an Urban Century, co-authored ed I and II. He presented at the UN World Habitat Forums 5,7.9, and 10 and consults, teaches, and lectures nationally and internationally.

Antonieta Castro-Cosío

Board Member

Born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Dr. Castro-Cosío is a Senior Behavioral Researcher at Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight, at its Common Cents Lab. She is also an Urban Design Forum Fellow, board of the Urban Resilience Research Network, and a board member at CSU.

She spent almost ten years in New York City, first pursuing her doctoral degree looking at ways that low- and moderate-income urban communities respond to financial challenges using ‘informal’ financial mechanisms, and later as a Research Associate at the policy evaluation firm, MDRC, and as a consultant for a private investment firm. Prior to that, she set up and managed a sustainable development cooperation program at the British Embassy in Mexico City. She holds a PhD. in Public and Urban Policy from the New School for Social Research and MSc. in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Aliye P. Çelik

Chair & Founder

Aliye Pekin Çelik, PhD, is a past President of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization. Prior to founding the CSU, Ms. Çelik was instrumental in establishing innovative participatory mechanisms to build alliances addressing some of the world’s most pressing concerns in developing countries as the Chief of Economic, Social and Inter-organizational Cooperation Branch, UNDESA.

She started the book series on the High Level Segment of Economic and Social Council, and worked on the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Countries Emerging from Conflicts. As the Head of New York office of UN-HABITAT, she directed preparations for the HABITAT II Conference in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996. She served UN-HABITAT Nairobi and New York, working on building technologies, sustainable urbanization, energy, and gender issues. As a principal researcher in the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey, Building Research Institute, and the Ministry of Construction and Resettlement and adviser to the State Planning Department, she worked on energy conservation and affordable housing. She has degrees in architecture from Middle East Technical University, Princeton University, and a PhD from Istanbul Technical University. Çelik was a Fulbright Scholar and received numerous awards from OECD (1972), Princeton University (1979), AIANY (2009, 1997, 1970), and Soroptimist International NYC (2005), where she served as President from 2008 to 2010.

Danei Cesario

Board Member

Danei is the 333rd Black woman in American history to earn her architectural license. She is an internationally licensed architect, project manager, and public speaker. She is currently an Associate at SOM, leading dynamic mixed-use development, healthcare, and wellness projects.

Her aptitude for managing the execution of multifaceted healthcare projects has led to broad system-wide improvements, as well as highly detailed technical spaces. Danei’s passion for architecture and advocacy has led her to becoming a champion for design professionals and a sought-after speaker. Her experience working in diverse, global environments has yielded speaking engagements at numerous conferences and private sector events, including the United Nations, SXSW, Royal Institute of British Architects, AIA National Conference and the New York Building Congress. She served as Chair of AIA New York’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee for over five years. She currently serves on the AIA New York State Board and as a contributor/ ambassador to national and international organizations such as the United Nations, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, Parlour, Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and nycobaNOMA Executive Board. As a core member of these groups, Danei is dedicated to fostering Mentorship, Sponsorship and Leadership among the diverse design community as they navigate their careers within architecture and beyond. She founded WALLEN + daub to expand on these principles.

Ludivine Cornille

Board Member

Ludivine Cornille is a French Registered Architect (DPLG), Urban Designer and Scenographer. She had most recently been developing global initiatives for the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Previously she was the focal point for local and territorial governments at UN-Habitat New York Office.

In such capacity, she advocated for the SDG 11 and the localization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Previously she had been working for the Urban Finance Branch of UN-Habitat in Nairobi and for the National Institute of Housing in Mexico City. In 2001 she established her own firm in Paris and has worked throughout her career with several Architecture and Design offices on projects in more than 10 countries. She holds a Master in Architecture with a specialization in Urban Planning and Sustainable Development, a postgraduate degree in Participative Construction in Latin American Cities from the National School of Architecture Paris-La Villette, and a dual certificate (BA Arts) in Theatre and Cinema Scenography, and Interior Architecture and Design. She was honored with the Besnard de Quelen architecture award from the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts of France (CNAM) for her Master thesis and project about the urban development of the Mexican Caribbean coastline.

Axumite Gebre-Egziabher

Board Member

Axumite Gebre-Egziabher is a Steering Committee Member and senior adviser at New World Programme, Global Water Challenge, Ethiopia. With over thirty-five years proven track record of leadership, management, and normative and operational experience in the United Nations, the private sector and government.

Axumite has held senior level leadership positions and has significant experience in sustainable urban development and housing, including: policy and strategy formulation; strategic planning and co-ordination; technical cooperation in programme/project design, development, monitoring and evaluation; resource mobilization; designing and conducting policy and action-oriented research. Before Global water Challenge, Axumite worked for UNHabitat as the Regional Director for Africa, Director, Global Division Director NY Office. Prior to joining UN Habitat, she worked for the Ethiopian Civil service in the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Addis Ababa. Axumit got her PhD at UCL and a Master’s degree at Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu; and her Bachelor’s Degree in Addis Ababa University.

Festival Godwin Boateng

Festival Godwin Boateng

Board Member

Festival Godwin Boateng is a political economist. His research interests are diverse and focus on engaged scholarship at the intersection of transport, housing, land use, pollution, climate, technology, urban governance, and policy. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Urban Policy and Planning, Hunter College and a former postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Urban Development of Columbia University Climate School.

Festival completed his PhD at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Melbourne-Australia. He also holds degrees from Roskilde University, Copenhagen-Denmark and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi-Ghana. His publications have appeared in journals like World Development, Habitat International, Journal of Transport and Land Use and Nature: Humanities and Social Sciences Communications (formerly Palgrave Communications). Festival also actively engages in the public realm, translating and circulating research outputs on traditional and social media and other public-facing platforms; participating in media discussions and public speaking events with the view to using research to affect policy and practice.

Nicholas Hamilton

Nicholas Hamilton


Nicholas Hamilton is Public Policy Lead with Good City Company, where he works closely with public sector clients on complex housing, land use, and policy initiatives. Drawing upon experience in housing and architecture, recent projects include leading the development of long-range housing plans and drafting form-based codes. He recently co-taught "Housing and the Global City" at Hunter College CUNY with fellow CSU Board Member Festival Godwin Boateng.

Nicholas Hamilton is an urbanist experienced in launching and leading a diverse set of urban equity and sustainability initiatives, from a national network to revitalize America’s legacy cities to founding the NYC-Metro Urban Sustainability Meetup. Through his previous work with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, and as Director of Urban Policy at Columbia University’s The American Assembly he established multiple collaborative community revitalization initiatives including the Legacy Cities Partnership and Middle Neighborhoods Initiative. He holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University SIPA and Bachelors from the University of California, Berkeley CED, where he studied Architecture, Planning, and Environmental Design in Developing Countries.

Jhaelen Hernandez-Eli

Jhaelen Hernandez-Eli

VP, Fundraising & Gala

Jhaelen is a member of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s executive leadership. As Vice President, he is responsible for the institution’s ambitious $2 billion capital projects program which encompasses the planning, architecture and construction of the museum's permanent galleries and wings, work spaces, and physical infrastructure that span over 2 million square feet and twenty-two buildings.

His career is dedicated to wielding architecture and the built environment as both transformative works of art and catalysts for cultural and socioeconomic progress. Jhaelen has commissioned and collaborated with leading progressive artists/architects including Frida Escobedo, Nader Tehrani of NADAAA, Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu of SO-IL, Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY, Bjarke Ingels Group, and Mimi Hoang and Eric Bunge of nARCHITECTS, among many others. Prior to his tenure at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jhaelen was Senior Vice President and Head of Design and Construction at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, overseeing the development of cultural, industrial, commercial and maritime assets across the five boroughs. Before serving New York City, Jhaelen was Associate Principal at Diller Scofidio + Renfro. He received a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley.

Gizem Karagoz

Board Member

Gizem Karagoz is a graduate student at Columbia University GSAPP pursuing a Masters of Architecture and Masters of Science in Urban Planning. Her research explores questions of informality, equity and resiliency in the built environment, with a focus on developing participatory design and planning strategies.

Her previous research spans across scales, including a climate vulnerability analysis of New York City census tracts based on environmental and social risk factors, as well as, examining the links between labor, architecture and global networks with the Who Builds Your Architecture (WBYA?) coalition. She has also contributed to a UN-Habitat publication aimed to assist municipal governments with developing accessible, equitable and sustainable public space strategies. Prior to graduate school, Gizem worked with several New York based architecture practices including Bernard Tschumi Architects and GRO Architects. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Environmental Science from Barnard College, and currently serves as a Youth Representative for CSU.

Şulan Kolatan

Şulan Kolatan

VP, Youth & UN

Şulan Kolatan is the principal and a co-founder of KOL/MAC Architecture + Design. Her transdisciplinary research, for which she received a 2021-22 National Science Foundation Award, focuses on enhancing socio-ecological coastline resilience through the application of advanced digital design and green materials. Ms. Kolatan is a Professor of Architecture at Pratt Institute School of Architecture, Graduate Architecture and Urban Design (GAUD).

Ms. Kolatan holds a Dipl.-Ing. Arch. degree from the Rheinisch -Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, and a Master of Science degree in Architecture and Building Design from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture (GSAPP). She has taught at many prominent schools of architecture as a visiting professor or visiting Chair, including Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell University, TU Darmstadt, and SCI-Arc. Her work is in the permanent collections of many international institutions, most notably, the MoMA New York (USA); the Canadian Centre for Architecture Montreal (Canada); and the Centre Georges Pompidou Paris (France). She has received numerous awards and honors, including the 40under40 award, representation in the US National Pavilion at the International Architecture Biennale Venice (2004), and nominations to two European environmental awards: INDEX (Denmark, 2009) and Zumtobel Group Award for Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment (Austria, 2008). She has served as a distinguished jury member for the Mayor’s Office on competitions such as the Camlica Digital Broadcasting Tower Istanbul and continues to be involved in international projects.

Yasemin Kologlu

VP, Flagship & Programs

Yasemin Kologlu is a recognized leader in sustainable design and Architecture. She is a Principal at Skidmore Owings and Merrill, plays a central role in transforming the building industry's response to the climate crisis––most notably through her work, such as Urban Sequoia, proposal for a carbon-sequestering built environment. She is the founder and leader of SOM's Global Climate Action Group, which led the firm to achieve net zero carbon operations in 2022. She co-chairs American Institute of Architects NY's Committee on the Environment, is a co-founder and steering committee member of MEP2040, serves on the Carbon Leadership Forum NY Steering Committee, and regularly contributes to shaping carbon and sustainability policies with governments and professional organizations.

Theodore Liebman

Board Member

Theodore Liebman, FAIA, is a Principal at Perkins Eastman and a leading expert in the planning and design of large-scale urban housing and mixed-use projects. Over the past 50 years, Liebman focused on issues of housing, lifestyle, and culture in the urban environment. He was Chief of Architecture at the New York State Urban Development Corporation (1971-75) and Chief of Architecture for Roosevelt Island (1973-75).

From 1975-77, he was architectural/urban design advisor to the Harvard Institute for International Development in Tehran, Iran. He was a founding partner of The Liebman Melting Partnership (TLMP), focusing on affordable housing and neighborhood development until 2007. Liebman served as 1984 President of the AIA NY Chapter, received the Andrew J. Thomas Pioneer in Housing Award (1988), and gave the Ratensky Lecture ( 2005), honoring individuals who made significant lifetime contributions for advancement of housing and community design. He is Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Urban Design/ Architecture Studies program; lectured extensively and served on architectural juries in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. He received a B.Arch. Pratt Institute, M.Arch. Harvard University GSD, the Rome Prize Fellowship in Architecture; and the Wheelwright Travelling Fellowship in Architecture from Harvard. Liebman attended Habitat I & II and represented CSU at Habitat III

Liz Nebiolo

VP, Communications

Liz Nebiolo is a brand consultant with over 17 years experience in full-service marketing and creative agencies across social, lifestyle, entertainment, fashion, cosmetics, culture, consumption, education, architecture, and pharmaceutical sectors. She is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts and past professional experience includes positions held at Davis Brody Bond, That's Nice, and Lenom Branding.

In 2022 she led the rebranding initiative of CSU and worked with the board to produce an ID system that communicates the brand's moral compass to not only link purpose, but also intangible needs.

Naomi Parekh

VP, Membership & Governance

Naomi Parekh (she/her), a native of Massachusetts, worked in the United Nations system for 9 years where she focused on the political prioritization of Sustainable Development Goals 3, 4, 6, and 11. During her career at the UN, Naomi managed protocol and curated communications campaigns for high-level meetings around the world and several events during the United Nations General Assembly and High-level Political Forum. She also served as an Advisor to the President of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly.

Prior to working for the UN, Naomi completed a practicum at the Pan American Health Organization where she contributed to the technical reference document Human Security: Implications for Public Health. Naomi also worked at the Fulbright Association as Senior Director, Membership Development, where she advocated to members of the United States Congress for an increase in federal funding for international education and exchange programs. She was a Fulbright fellow in Jamaica and holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development and International Policy Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Naomi has been an active volunteer for over 30 years raising funds to support abandoned children in areas of Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. During her free time, Naomi enjoys skiing, hiking, farmer’s markets, and trying to keep her houseplants alive.

Gernot Riether

Board Member

Gernot Riether is the Director of the School of Architecture and Associate Professor at the College of Architecture and Design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He serves on the Board of Directors at ACADIA, Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture.

Riether previously taught at Kennesaw State University, Ball State University, ENSA Paris La Villette, Georgia Tech, NYIT and Barnard College at Columbia University and is lecturing internationally. In his research he and his students are testing new novel computer controlled fabrication and manufacturing methods. Projects from his Digital Design Build Studio won architecture competitions, were presented at international venues such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, were featured in books on digital design and fabrication and were published in prominent publications such as Architectural Record and DETAIL. Riether’s research studio has been funded by the AIA, the Austrian government, non-profit organizations such as MainX24, material fabricators, the construction industry and universities. His forthcoming book, Urban Machines, co-authored with Associate Professor Marcella Del Signore, explores the relationship between public urban spaces and information technology. Riether received a DI from the University of Innsbruck, Austria and a MS from Columbia University.

Mariana Rodriguez Orte

VP, Green Cities

Mariana is a NYC based architect and holds a Master in Urban Design and PhD (c) in Architecture and Urban Studies. She has experience working in urban planning, design and architecture in the UK, Mexico, Uruguay, Chile and the US. She has worked on a wide range of projects for both the private and public sector such as masterplanning, private housing and office developments, high-end retail, project management, regional plans, coastal management, historical districts and suburban retrofitting. She is currently a professor of Ecology at Ort University in Uruguay.

Anna Rubbo

Board Member

Prior to joining the Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) in the Climate School, Columbia University, Anna Rubbo, LFAIA, taught Architecture at the University of Sydney. A member of the UN Millennium Project Task Force (2002-04) on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers, she went on to lead the Global Studio (2005-12), an action research project with a social justice agenda to promote a ‘people as partners’ model for urban professionals.

In 2012 she headed up People Building Better Cities, an exhibition shown in 18 cities and 10 countries to encourage debate on inclusive urbanization. Her recent project, the Local Project Challenge, profiles 111 SDGs oriented projects from the professions, education, and civil society. A member of the UIA23 Scientific Committee, and co-chair of ‘Design for Resilient Communities’ she is also an advisor to U-T Dublin on their new sustainability curricula. Publications cover design education, women in development, the SDGs and the design professions, and pioneering architect Marion Mahony Griffin. A co-founder of the journal Architectural Theory Review, she has been a regular presenter at the World Urban Forum since 2006. Recognition includes: Vassilis Sgoutas Prize mention for humanitarian work in education (2014); Australian Architectural Education Award (2011); 2009 Skandalaris Award for Entrepreneurship in Design; Marion Mahony Griffin Prize (2006).

Emmanuelle C. Slossberg

Board Member

As Vice President of Marketing, Emmanuelle is responsible for developing and driving the strategies, tools and communications needed to effectively convey the core values and principles of The Durst Organization’s brand in support of its business objectives. Emmanuelle has more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of new business strategy and marketing management, including branding, public relations, innovation, architecture, and real estate development.

Prior to joining The Durst Organization, Emmanuelle served as a Principal and the Director of Strategy for CetraRuddy Architecture, where she led the 100-person, award-winning firm’s growth trajectory into new markets. Emmanuelle was also previously Vice President at The Seventh Art creative agency, where was responsible for marketing The Durst Organization’s One Bryant Park, among other high-profile luxury and sustainable real estate and hospitality projects. Emmanuelle holds a Master in Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University, is a LEED accredited professional, is fluent in five languages, and has taught International Marketing at Parson’s School of Design in New York. She is currently on the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) NY Management Committee as the Vice Chair of Membership after co-chairing the ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Membership Subcommittee. She also sits on the Board of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, an organization affiliated with UN Habitat, which promotes a better understanding of the role of sustainable urbanization and resilient design.

Chris Williams

Board Member

As CEO of Safe Water Network, Chris oversees the global operation from New York, drawing upon extensive experience in the development sector, having spent many years based in Africa. Prior to joining Safe Water Network, Chris served as the Executive Director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council as well as in other senior positions at UN-Habitat in financing, political affairs, policy advocacy, and applied research. Prior to joining the United Nations, Chris worked in cities in East Africa and the United States promoting community economic development.

Chris holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the Graduate Faculty of Social and Political Science at the New School for Social Research, an M.A. in Public Policy Studies from the Harris School at the University of Chicago, and a B.A. in Economics from Tufts University.

H. Oner Yurtseven


H. Oner Yurtseven, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He served as Director, Department Chair, Associate Dean and Dean at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI before retiring in 2011. His areas of expertise are engineering and technology education, engineering accreditation, international engineering education, robotics, and renewable photovoltaic energy.

He served as consultant for a number of United Nations Development Program projects; and held academic and administrative positions at The Middle East Technical University, Indiana University, and Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). For two years, he was Provost of the Indiana University- Tenaga Nasional Berhad Cooperative Program, which initiated US model engineering programs in Malaysia. He currently serves as board member for Electricore, director/board member for EarthSolar Technologies Corporation, and engineering program evaluator for Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). He received BS in Electrical Engineering from the Middle East Technical University, Turkey, and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the John Hopkins University in Baltimore where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He also worked as a member of the technical staff for the Computer Science Corporation at NASA Goddard Space Center, Maryland.


Zeynep Beler


Zeynep Beler is an artist based in Istanbul working at the intersection of painting and photography. Her works have been shown and sold at numerous venues. She has also served as a Turkish language translator with several works published.

She holds a Master of Arts—MA, Photographic Studies from Leiden University, Netherlands.

Jonna Botsas

Jonna Botsas

Associate Director

Jonna Botsas is a communications professional with years of experience in strategic communications, relationship management, and sales. Jonna worked at Fitzroy Communications; a boutique communications consulting agency founded by the former Global Head of Communications at Goldman Sachs. Her efforts focused on external communications helping companies with their overall public relations programs through corporate messaging, media engagements, conference / advertising recommendations, and investor calls. Fitzroy was acquired by Teneo in 2017.

Prior to Fitzroy, she spent ten years working at BlackRock, starting out in their analytics group, and later transitioned to the Institutional Client Group, where she worked with some of the largest institutional accounts that had $2B-$15B of investments with the firm. In her years working there, she went through 4 major mergers and acquisitions that propelled the firm to become the largest asset management company in the world. Jonna and her family returned to NYC in 2020 after living in Toronto for 4 years. She is a city dweller who loves traveling, cooking, watching musicals, and practices meditation daily. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business and Marketing from Skidmore College.

Pankti Dalal

Senior Fellow

Pankti Dalal earned her Master's degree in Public Administration-Development Practice at Columbia University in 2021. Pankti is working as Manager, Community & Implementation on the What Works Cities (WWC) initiative at Results for America.

Previously, Pankti worked at the Praja Foundation in Mumbai, where she collaborated with Mayors of over twelve city governments to push for a more accountable and transparent urban governance. As a part of her coursework, she has also interned with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), New York Office. At the UN, she assisted with policy research and program management to promote its mandate of achieving “a better quality of life for all, in an urbanizing world. As a master’s student, she continues to engage with research on urban development issues.

Chitra Mamidela

Acting Board Member

Chitra Mamidela is an Environmental Designer at Atelier Ten, where she is dedicated to helping create sustainable buildings, sites, and communities through her professional experience in architecture, design, building energy, sustainability. Her work has included research and projects focused on resiliency and stormwater mitigation with the City of Hoboken, as well as collaborations with UN-Habitat, the Building Energy Exchange (Be-Ex), and the Center for Active Design. Additionally, Chitra has contributed to technical resources for New York City's Mayor's Office of Sustainability and the AIA Brooklyn's Committee on the Environment (COTE).

Previously, Chitra worked as a project architect with Baxt Ingui and Barlis Wedlick Architects, where she focused on Passive House and Historic Preservation. She also provided architectural and sustainability consulting services to real estate development and solar design firms. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture and a Masters of Sustainability in the Urban Environment. Currently she is a CSU Senior Fellow and Coordinator for CSU’s monthly Green Cities Events and active with the AIA and her community. She is passionate about exploring new strategies and approaches to design with sustainability and wellness in mind, and is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the field.

Anne Roderer

Acting Board Member

Anne Roderer believes in carrying forward a message of optimism and initiative through a forward-looking, nature-positive and people-positive approach. Having worked as a sustainability-focused architect and campus planner for over 20 years, she is committed to prioritizing integrated planning, interdisciplinary collaboration and research, design excellence, and technical innovation towards the co-creation of multi-objective solutions informed by both evidence-based data and diverse perspectives.

She has served higher education, cultural, and government institutions across the country, designed or overseen construction of seven LEED-certified projects, championed campus-scale green infrastructure planning and life-cycle assessment as a capital improvement decision-making lens, and led and managed internal DEIJ and sustainability initiatives as an advocate for continuous improvement in professional practice. Anne recently completed a Master of Environmental Management program at Duke University to both deepen and broaden her knowledge base on the science, policy, and regenerative potential of action for climate change mitigation, environmental justice, and community and ecological resilience-building. She hopes to leverage her previous expertise in building science, energy conservation, and carbon-mitigation and her current research at the confluence of water resources, climate change, and ecological health to advance watershed-scale protection, planning, and policy to support vibrant communities and equitable access to sustainable and healthy environments for current and future generations. Anne is also a policy nerd, a trauma-informed yoga teacher, a cooking enthusiast, and a tiny-dog lover.

Paul Stout

Senior Fellow

Paul is currently pursuing his Masters of Landscape Architecture at Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York. Previously, he worked in real estate development specializing in car-free and walkable neighborhoods. He is passionate about improving quality of life in cities through both policy and design. After graduation, he's looking forward to contributing to making cities healthier, happier, and more sustainable places.


James McCullar

Founder, Emeritus Past President

James McCullar, FAIA, has served as President and Vice President of CSU. He is the founding principal of James McCullar Architecture. Since its formation, the studio has engaged in the design of new housing and adaptive reuse of urban sites that have contributed to the revitalization of their communities.

As 2008 President of AIA New York, he organized the response to Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC2030 in collaboration with UN GAID for the first UN Forum on Sustainable Urbanization in the Information Age, which led to formation of CSU. From 2003 to 2006 in response to the Mayor’s housing initiatives, he led a forum that showcased housing design at the Center for Architecture. His work has been recognized through election to the AIA College of Fellows for significant contributions to urban housing and community design, the Andrew J. Thomas Pioneer in Housing Award, and a national AIA Honor Award for Urban Design. He has taught at Kansas State University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Fontainebleau, France. He received a BA and BArch from Rice University, a Fulbright Fellowship for Urban Design in Paris, and a MArch from Columbia University where his thesis was on the New York region.

Urs P. Gauchat

Founder, Emeritus Board Member

Urs P. Gauchat, Hon. AIA, is Dean Emeritus of the College of Architecture and Design (1991-2016) and Professor of Architecture at New Jersey Institute of Technology. As Dean, Professor Gauchat transformed the school into an internationally recognized leader in two areas: Digital Media in Design and the Design of Communities.

Prof. Gauchat is committed to linking the considerable resources of universities to the needs of communities worldwide. His prior appointments included: Professorship at Harvard Graduate School of Design (1971-1985), Visiting Professor ETH Zurich, president of the Boston Architectural Center (1972-1976) and president of Gauchat Architects (1973-1998). He has served as a consultant to private and private sectors focusing on planning and design issues. Professor Gauchat holds degrees from the University of Sydney (B.Arch.) and Harvard University (M.Arch.). He has been a Board member of numerous organizations and nonprofit entities. Prof. Gauchat sees his role primarily as an agent of change and an instigator. He believes that inspired planning and design plays a critical role in shaping communities and allocating resources; and strategies for successful sustainable urbanization must be flexible, able to change and adapt to evolving contexts. Good Design can make the difference between spending money and spending money wisely; it is a prerequisite to a better future.

Advisory Board

H.E. Talal Abu Ghazaleh


Talal Abu Ghazaleh is the chairman and founder of the Jordan-based international organization, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization (TAG-Org). He has been called the godfather of Arab accounting and been credited with promoting the importance of Intellectual Property in the Arab region.

Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh designed and produced TAGI TOP – a top of the line laptop with the portability of a netbook. His Knowledge Society is one of the foremost initiatives by HE Senator Talal Abu-Ghazaleh that empowers young Arabs under the TAG-Org’s corporate responsibility. He has published multiple dictionaries: Abu-Ghazaleh ICT Directory (2008), The Abu-Ghazaleh Accountancy & Business Dictionary (2001), The Abu-Ghazaleh IP Dictionary (2000), and The Abu-Ghazaleh English-Arabic Dictionary of Accounting (1975). Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh has received many honors, including: Social responsibility awards launched by CSR Regional Network for his work in social initiatives (Kingdom of Bahrain, 2014), Man of the Year Award from Palestine International Institute (Amman, 2012), Honorary Award from the Arab Federation for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (Jordan, 2009), The International Lifetime Achievement Award (Dubai, 2008), IP Hall of Fame Inductee in the IP Hall of Fame Academy (Chicago, USA, 2007), Honorary Doctor of humane Letters (Canisius College, New York, 1988), Decoration of the Republic of Tunisia (1985), Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur (France, 1985), etc. Besides being the chair of the Honorary Council Members of the Consortium of Sustainable Development, Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh has been chair of Global Alliance for ICT and Development (2009-2010), Vice Chairman Board of Directors of UN Global Compact (2007-2008), Vice Chair of the UN Information and Communication Technologies Task Force (2001-2004), and many others.

Michael Adlerstein

In 2007, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Mr. Adlerstein, FAIA as the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations for the $2 billion renovation of the UN Headquarters in New York, the Capital Master Plan.

The major goals of the project were to improve sustainability, enhance blast security, and to incorporate state of the art technology into the preservation of the iconic historic compound. From advanced planning through construction, his core UN team, assisted by consultants and advisors, renovated all the facilities while the UN never lost a day of work. To achieve this, over 10,000 staff including dozens of high-level officials, a major data centre, the General Assembly Hall and 18 other major conference rooms were moved out of the compound to swing space and then back, in several phases. The project was completed in 2015, on schedule and within 4% of its original budget. Previously, Mr. Adlerstein served as the Chief Historical Architect for the National Park Service. During his National Park Service career, he was the Project Director for the restoration of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty and managed many complex partnership projects, including Gettysburg, Valley Forge, Acadia and Jamestown. He participated with the US State Department on many international preservation consultancies including the Taj Mahal in India. He currently teaches Sustainable Retrofits at Columbia University.

Carmi Bee

Carmi Bee, FAIA, has been deeply involved in planning and architectural research, beginning with his early work at Princeton and continuing as a consultant to several major firms. He has been with RKTB since 1981. Mr. Bee has been committed to investigating the problem of urban building in all forms.

He has produced innovative designs for a wide range of building types, including new, renovated and restored residential buildings, retail spaces, offices, educational and performance facilities. In 2001 he designed a ground-breaking infill prototype for affordable housing which is aimed at filling vacant lots scattered throughout the city’s residential neighborhoods. Known as “Smart Housing,” this concept has been successfully applied to a number of projects in New York City and can serve as a model in other cities, as well. These include the Msgr. Anthony J. Barretta Apartments, Madison Putnam Housing, Maynard Co-Ops and Prospect Gardens. Other notable projects include additions to P.S. 29Q and P.S. 70Q, the new PS/IS 338X, School for the Physical City, South Orange Performing Arts Center, FDNY Engine Company 201, the infill addition to New York Methodist Hospital, the Norma Kamali Building, Turtle Bay Residences, River Rose Residences in Battery Park City (with Charles Moore), The Memphis Residences and City Center Theater.

Vincent Boudreau

Vincent Boudreau was appointed President of The City College of New York by the Board of Trustees of The City University of New York on December 4, 2017. Vincent has served as Interim President of CCNY since November 2016.

Prior to that appointment, Vincent was inaugural dean of the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at CCNY since 2013. He was previously director of the Colin Powell Center for Leadership and Service from 2002 through 2013.” at CCNY, and is a professor of political science at City College and a member of the City University of New York graduate faculty. A specialist in the politics of social movements, particularly in Southeast Asia, his latest book is Resisting Dictatorship: Repression and Protest in Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press) He also conducts research about government transitions to democracy, collective violence, and the relationship between civil society, social movements, and democratization processes in Indonesia and the Philippines. He is the academic adviser to the International Development Program at the City University of Hong Kong. At City College, Dr. Boudreau has served as the director of the M.A. Program in International Relations, the chair of the Department of Political Science, the director of the International Studies Program, and the deputy dean of the Division of Social Science. In addition to his academic work, he has undertaken projects with ActionAid Asia, Jubilee South Asia, and The Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, and has consulted for Oxfam Asia, Action of Economic Reform (Philippines), and Freedom House. Dr. Boudreau received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1991.

Frances Bronet

Frances Bronet is president of Pratt Institute in New York City. An educator and leader at the forefront of interdisciplinary learning, Bronet previously served as senior vice president and provost at Illinois Institute of Technology; acting provost and dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts of the University of Oregon; and architecture professor, associate dean, and acting dean at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Her extensively funded work on multidisciplinary design curricula—from architecture and engineering to dance and fine arts, coupled with her own action-based installations with internationally acclaimed artists—have been highly recognized. Bronet holds architecture and engineering professional degrees from McGill University; she received her graduate degree from Columbia University. She was licensed by the Quebec Ordre des Architectes, and has practiced in multiple award-winning offices in New York and Canada, including her own in Montreal.

Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo

Margaret O’Donoghue Castillo, AIA, LEED AP, is Chief Architect of New York City as appointed by the NYC Department of Design & Construction. She is past president of the AIA New York Chapter, and was a principal at Helpern Architects in New York City.

Under the theme of Design for a Change, she led the chapter in collaborations with the Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning & Sustainability, the Department of Buildings, and the AIANY Chapter Committee on the Environment to create programs to educate architects and the public on sustainable building design. The theme recognizes the essential, now unavoidable shifts in the way buildings and neighborhoods are created where each decision has an impact on our health, our safety, and the environment. In 2010 she presented New York City’s PlaNYC at the World Urban Forum 5 in Rio as a member of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization. At Helpern she is the lead architect for restoration projects that combine sustainability with historic preservation. She has lectured extensively and her projects have been featured in numerous professional publications. Margaret has emerged as a spokesperson for the New York architectural community. Margaret has been involved with AIANY for many years, as chair of Historic Buildings Committee from 2004 to 2008, and the 2009 Vice President for Public Outreach. She received a BA from Boston College and a MArch from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Patrizio M. Civili

Patrizio M. Civili is currently Special Advisor to the Director General of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) after serving as IDLO’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in New York from 2007 to 2020.

From 1998 to 2007 he was Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Interagency Affairs in the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs, acting simultaneously as Secretary of the Chief Executives’ Board (CEB) which comprises, under the chairmanship of the UN Secretary-General, the Executive Heads of all Specialized Agencies and UN Programs and Funds. Mr. Civili joined the UN Secretariat in New York in 1969. Serving under 5 successive UN Secretaries-General, he held a number of senior positions concerned with economic cooperation, policy coordination, and institutional affairs in Port of Spain for ECLAC, and in New York and Geneva including: in the Office of the Director-General for Development and International Economic Cooperation; as Chief of the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; management Director and senior member in the cabinet of the Secretary-General of UNCTAD; and Director in the Executive Offices of Secretaries-General Boutros Boutros Ghali and Kofi Annan. Mr. Civili holds a degree of doctor in Political Science from the University of Rome, with specialization in Comparative Constitutional Law, and an MA in Comparative Government from the University of Washington in Seattle. He has also attended Gonzaga University in Spokane Wash. And Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) in Bologna. In 2014, Mr. Civili was awarded the title of ‘Commendatore’ of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

Willis S. DeLaCour Jr.

Willis S. DeLaCour Jr. is a partner of DeLaCour, Ferrara & Church Architects His architectural degrees include Columbia University, Master of Architecture, 1970, Pratt Institute, Bachelor of Architecture, 1969, Fulbright Fellowship, Turkey, 1968 Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, Bachelor of Architecture, 1968, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, Bachelor of Arts, 1965.

Mr. DeLaCour has practiced as a principal in architectural firms. His firm has overseen the design and completion of a series of multi-family housing developments in Manhattan, the Bronx. He was the Co-Chairman 2003-2011 - Housing Committee and Former Chairman - Historic Buildings Committee - 1981-1985, He received many awards including American Institute of Architects - New York Chapter AWARDS 2003 Vice Presidential Citation to The Affordable Housing Task Force.

Serpil Guran

Dr. Serpil Guran is the Director of Rutgers EcoComplex “Clean Energy Innovation Center”. She also manages the new EcoIgnite: Clean Technology Proof of Concept Center and Accelerator” program.

Her responsibilities include management of the EcoComplex operations, programs, business incubator and facilities, as well as providing vision and leadership in establishing the EcoComplex as a center for the commercialization of environmental and clean energy technologies. She also teaches at Rutgers University’s Plant Biology Program and Department of Resource Economics. Dr. Guran is trained on thermochemical conversion (pyrolysis and gasification) of biomass and waste materials for production of fuels and chemicals. She obtained her Ph.D. degree in Fuel and Energy Engineering program at The University of Leeds /United Kingdom. She specializes in research, development and assessment of sustainable biofuel and waste recycling technologies, and life cycle analysis of clean energy systems and alternative fuel production systems. Currently, she is working on Food-Energy-Water Nexus and Waste synergy by promoting integration of waste materials into Circular Carbon Economy in achieving Environmental Sustainability including Climate Change mitigation, Economic Sustainability and Social Justice.

J. Robert Hillier FAIA, LHD

J. Robert Hillier (Bob) is one of the leading and most highly-respected architects in the United States. He is perhaps best known for having built one of the largest and most successful architecture firms in the world. Mr. Hillier is distinguished for his design, for his business acumen, and for his contributions to the field of architecture as a practitioner and educator.

Hillier enjoyed exhilarating career growing the firm to 500 people and executing nearly 4,000 projects in 27 U.S. States and 34 Foreign Countries. The quality of the firm’s work has been honored by over 350 design awards. In 2008, Hillier Architecture, then one of the largest firms in the country, merged with a foreign firm to create the 3rd largest architectural firm worldwide. Studio Hillier, the firm’s current iteration, was formed in 2012. In 2019, NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design was renamed the J. Robert and Barbara A. Hillier College of Architecture and Design. Bob has been on the core faculty of Princeton University’s School of Architecture since 1992 where he teaches two graduate seminars. He has served on the AIA National Fellowship Jury and as Chair of the Selection Committee for the Dean of Princeton’s School of Architecture. He is the recipient of over 350 of individual honors and awards including, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from New Jersey Institute of Technology and an Honorary MBA from Bryant University. Other honors include the Legacy Award from the Urban Land Institute, the AIA’s Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Award, and The President’s Medal from New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is also a Trustee Emeritus at McCarther Theater. He has given over 200 lectures and participated in dozens of design juries. He and the firm have been widely published in national and international journals, newspapers, and magazines.

Sarbuland Khan

Sarbuland Khan is the former Executive Coordinator of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Prior to this assignment Mr. Khan was the Director for the Office for Economic and Social Council Support and Coordination of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

Mr. Khan directed the preparation of the Ministerial meeting of the Economic and Social Council on ICT for development and has been responsible for its follow-up and the establishment of the United Nations Information and Communication Technology Task Force. Among his twenty-four years of professional experience within the United Nations, he has held positions as the Branch Chief for the Policy Coordination and Interagency Affairs, Chief for the Office of the Under-Secretary-General of the Department for International Economic and Social Affairs, and Special Assistant to Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Decolonization. From 1979 to 1981, he served as delegate of Pakistan to the General Assembly of Economic and Social Council Prior to joining the United Nations, Mr. Khan was the Director for the Economic Coordination in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan, and served in embassies in Morocco, Brussels and The Hague. From 1967 to 1969, Mr. Khan was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics in Punjab University of Lahore and staff Economist at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in 1966-67. Mr. Khan has a Masters degree in economics, a post-graduate diploma in International Economic Relations from the Institute for Social Studies, The Hague. He has authored a number of publications and various articles in economics for books, journals, newspapers and magazines.

Maxinne Rhea Leighton

Maxinne Rhea Leighton has held numerous leadership roles as a senior-level strategist in design firms for the past twenty years, most recently at the consulting engineering firm Jaros, Baum & Bolles (JB&B).

A co-editor of The Future of Cities: An Integrated Approach to Urban Cities, she was part of the writing and editorial team for the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Post-Sandy Initiative Policy Report as well as the SCAPE/Landscape Architecture Living Breakwaters team during the design competition for HUD’s Rebuild by Design. Ms. Leighton serves on the New York AIA’s Design for Risk and Reconstruction (DfRR) Committee, the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization and has facilitated numerous panels on infrastructure at the United Nations and the AIA. She is author of An Ellis Island Christmas, a book for children about immigration (Viking Penguin), co-author of Grand Central: Gateway to A Million Lives (W.W. Norton) and Educating for Social Justice: A Dangerous Game: Matilda Joslyn Gage Center (Journal of Museum Studies). With a Master of Arts in Urban Studies from New York University, Maxinne Rhea Leighton is a doctoral candidate (PhD in Leadership and Change) focusing on sustainable urbanization within climate-vulnerable cities.

Feniosky Peña-Mora

Prof. Feniosky Peña-Mora is the Edwin Howard Armstrong Professor of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Professor of Earth and Environmental Engineering, and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University.

He took a public service leave from 2014 to 2017 to serve as the New York City Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction. Prior to his public service leave at DDC, he was the Dean of the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor of Engineering at Columbia University. Previously, he was Associate Provost and the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutgsell Endowed Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before joining the faculty at Illinois, Dr. Peña-Mora was the Gilbert W. Winslow Career Development Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his Master of Science and Doctor of Science degrees in civil engineering in 1991 and 1994, respectively. Prof. Peña-Mora is the author or co-author of more than 215 scholarly publications. He holds six patents and one provisional patent. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Buildings (CIOB) as well as elected member of the Dominican Republic Academy of Sciences, and the United States National Academy of Construction.

H. E. Michal Mlynár

Ambassador Dr. Michal Mlynár has been the Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the United Nations in New York since August 2017. In 2015-2017, he was Director General for International Organizations, Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid at the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.

Prior to that (2012-2015), he was posted as Slovakia's Ambassador in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2004-2009, he served in New York as Deputy Permanent Representative. He has been a member of Slovakia's Foreign Service since 2000. He is a linguist and former high school teacher.

Don C.I. Okpala

Don Okpala, PhD was formerly Director of the Monitoring and Research Division of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) in Nairobi, Kenya. Before Dr. Okpala was a Senior Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (N.I.S.E.R.) Ibadan, Nigeria.

He served as consultant to the World Bank and was coordinator of the World Bank’s Nigerian Urban Priorities Study (1982-1983). He was awarded the Fulbright Senior Research Scholar Fellowship in 1983. Okpala coordinated the preparation of urban development structure plans for three towns/cities for the Anambra State Government, Nigeria. Okpala is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (FNITP). He is also a Member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, as well as a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management Consultants. He holds a B.A. Hons Degree in Geography from the University of Ibadan, and a Masters Degree in Regional Planning from Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a Ph.D. in Urban Studies and Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Okpala has researched, written and published extensively on issues of urban and regional planning, land management, housing and housing finance as well as on related socio-economic development issues.

Amjad Umar

Dr. Amjad Umar received an M.S. in Computer and Communication Engineering and a PhD. in Information Systems Engineering, both from the University of Michigan. Currently he is Chief Architect of a United Nations Small Islands and Developing States (SIDS) Partnership that is focusing on using the latest digital innovations to help underserved populations.

He is also a Fulbright Senior Specialist on ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and Founder/CEO of a startup that is focusing on digital transformation. As a Professor and Director of ICT Program, he teaches graduate level courses in Strategic Planning for Digital Transformation, Architectures and Integration of Digital Enterprises, and Smart Cities at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. He was previously an Adjunct Professor of Telecommunications and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania for 15 years and the Fordham Graduate School of Business for 5 years. His 30+ years of experience includes senior management and consulting/advisory positions with governments and industries around the globe. As a Director of Research at Bellcore (part of the Bell Labs system) for 10 years, he supervised large scale projects in technology planning, enterprise architectures and integration, mobile computing, information security, and collaborative systems that were funded by DARPA and Telecom providers. He has consulted with global telecom organizations, US Department of Navy, US Army Research Labs, Frost and Sullivan (England), Toyota Corp., Society of Manufacturing Engineers, healthcare organizations, professional services organizations, and academic institutions in England, Singapore, China, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Canada and more than 40 developing countries. He has written eight books and published more than 50 papers on different aspects of digital enterprises and the enabling technologies.

Theresa Williamson

Theresa Williamson, Ph.D., is founder and executive director of Catalytic Communities (CatComm), an empowerment, communications, think tank, and advocacy NGO working since 2000 in support of Rio’s favelas.

In addition to fostering peer-to-peer networking, strategic training and media support on behalf of community organizers, the organization has become known for advocating a community-controlled asset-based development approach to informal settlements. Theresa is an outspoken, respected advocate for the recognition of favelas' heritage status and their residents' right to be fully served as equal citizens. She has published several book chapters, four opinion pieces in The New York Times, and has been cited in dozens of publications, with appearances on The Today Show, Vice, and HBO. Dr. Williamson received the 2012 NAHRO John D. Lange International Award for her contributions to the international housing debate and 2005 Gill-Chin Lim Award for Best Dissertation on International Planning. She is editor-in-chief of RioOnWatch, CatComm’s internationally recognized watchdog favela news service regarded for its work in informing and influencing international journalists covering the Olympics, and local debates on housing. Dr. Williamson earned her B.A. in Biological Anthropology from Swarthmore College and Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.

Erich Winkler

Erich Winkler is an Information Technology Professional with extensive experience in implementing innovative information technology and business intelligence solutions to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of large global companies around the world, both in highly developed and in newly emerging markets.

Erich is particularly interested in the opportunities created by information technologies to improve the sustainability of our planet and thereby creating better living conditions for everyone. Erich has a degree in Business Administration from the School of Business Administration in Zurich (KVZ). He also served on the Board of the NY chapter of the Society for Information Management (SIM), and has been a guest lecturer on Information Technology and Leadership Development at several Business Schools in the New York Metropolitan area.

Tom Wright

Tom Wright is the President of Regional Plan Association, a non-profit urban planning think-tank focused on improving the prosperity, infrastructure, sustainability and quality of life of the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan region.

He has steered many of the organization's key initiatives, including the Draft Vision Plan for the City of Newark (2006) and A Region at Risk: The Third Regional Plan for the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut Metropolitan Area (1996). Mr. Wright oversees the day-to-day operations of RPA and coordinates activities with the Board of Directors. Prior to becoming president on Jan. 1, 2015, he was RPA's executive director. Previously, he was deputy executive director of the New Jersey Office of State Planning, where he coordinated production of the New Jersey State Development and Redevelopment Plan (2001). From 1991 to 1993, he was coordinator of the award-winning Mayors' Institute on City Design, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Wright lectures widely on growth management and regional planning. He is a visiting lecturer in public policy at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He has taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy; and the New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture. Mr. Wright is a member of NYC's Sustainability Advisory Board, which helped prepare PlaNYC 2030, and of New York City's Waterfront Advisory Committee. He is also a part of the Board of Directors for the Eno Center for Transportation and the Forum + Institute for Urban Design, and furthermore serves on the Advisory Committee for the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City at the City College of New York. Mr. Wright received a Bachelor of Arts in history and a certificate in American Studies from Princeton University, and a Master of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University.


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