The Urbanist: Dan Doctoroff

MAY 20 AT 6 PM
An inside look at the enduring legacy of a city-builder



Tickets are now available.

Member tickets: $15
Member with book: $75 ($80 value)
General public: $20
General public with book: $80 ($85 value)

Books pre-purchased for pick-up as part of a ticket will include a tote bag and special note from Dan Doctoroff.

All sales are final, and refunds are not offered.

About this program

Join us for the launch of The Urbanist: Dan Doctoroff and the Rise of New York, a new book published by Monacelli about the accomplished career of The Shed’s founding board chair.

This conversation, featuring Rohit Aggarwala, Robbie Hammond, Purnima Kapur, and Andrew Winters and moderated by Open House New York’s board vice chair Saundra Thomas, will delve into Doctoroff’s role in the city’s recent history of unprecedented growth—spurred by new neighborhoods, parks, office districts, and cultural venues, including The Shed—and the future it has opened for the city.

Attendees are encouraged to join participants in The Doctoroff Lobby following the conversation where copies of The Urbanist will be available for purchase.

Learn more about the book.

About Dan Doctoroff

Tux, the Linux mascot

Daniel L. Doctoroff served as deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding for the City of New York. Along with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Doctoroff led the city’s dramatic economic resurgence after 9/11 and played a key role in creating an array of iconic projects during his period, from the rebuilt World Trade Center to Brooklyn Bridge Park to the High Line and more. He spearheaded the effort to reverse New York’s fiscal crisis and oversaw the creation of PlaNYC, New York’s pathbreaking sustainability plan. In 2021, Doctoroff stepped down as chairman and CEO of Sidewalk Labs, upon discovering that he had ALS. With that diagnosis, his focus has shifted to scaling up Target ALS, the organization that he founded in 2013 which has pioneered a new, collaborative approach to ALS research.

Conversation Participants

A portrait of Rit Aggarwala. He wears a suit with a yellow tie and smile broadly against a backdrop of the American and NYC flags
Courtesy Rit Aggarwala.
Rohit Aggarwala
A white man in a blue button down shirt tucked into gray jeans leans against a metal platform on a city sidewalk.
Courtesy Robert Hammond.
Robert Hammond
A headshot of Purnima Kapur, who had shoulder-length brown hair, and turns her head to look at us while smiling. She wears a royal blue blouse with short sleeves and a cowl neck.
Courtesy Purnima Kapur.
Purnima Kapur
A portrait of Saundra Thomas, a Black woman with hair shaved to her head. She smiled broadly and looks directly at us. She wears dangling orange earrings that match her orange blouse.
Courtesy Saundra Thomas.
Saundra Thomas
Andrew Winters, a white man with dark hair, looks toward us in a portrait where he is seen from the shoulders up. He wears a sweater with a button down shirt beneath it and smiles broadly at us.
Courtesy Andrew Winters.
Andrew Winters
Rohit Aggarwala

Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala was appointed commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the City’s chief climate officer in February 2022. Under his leadership, DEP has embraced a leadership role on both stormwater and coastal resilience, streamlined its procurement processes to be able to invest more money in infrastructure each year, and improved DEP’s water revenues by reducing accounts receivable and delivering revenues $250 million above budget in his first year. As chief climate officer, he also led the development of New York City’s most recent sustainability plan, PlaNYC.

Prior to the Adams administration, Aggarwala served as the first director of the New York City Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where he led the creation of the first PlaNYC. He later founded the environmental grantmaking program at Bloomberg Philanthropies and served as president of the Board of Directors of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. He was part of the founding team at Sidewalk Labs—Google’s urban technology startup—and more recently was a senior urban tech fellow at the Jacobs Cornell-Technion Institute. He has co-chaired the Regional Plan Association’s Fourth Regional Plan for the New York metropolitan area and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. Aggarwala holds a PhD, MBA, and BA from Columbia University and an MA from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Robert Hammond

Currently Robert Hammond is the president and chief strategy officer for Therme Group US, where he is leading an initiative to bring large scale bathing facilities to the United States. Prior to joining Therme Group US, Robert served as the co-founder and executive director of the High Line for over two decades. Alongside Joshua David he led in the transformation of an abandoned elevated railway line in Manhattan into an iconic urban park.

Under his leadership, the High Line grew to become one of the most beloved public spaces in the United States, attracting eight million annual visitors annually with its innovative design, public art program, and community programming. Inspiring adaptive reuse projects around the world, he also created the High Line Network to foster community and share best practices among leaders of other infrastructure renewal projects. He was also instrumental in building youth and educational partnerships to engage young New Yorkers as environmental stewards and civic leaders. He has won over two dozen national and international awards for his work.

A certified Vedic meditation teacher, Hammond has served as a consultant or advisor for myriad companies and organizations, including the Times Square Alliance, Alliance for the Arts, and the National Cooperative Bank. He served as an ex-officio member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Board of Trustees, as well as Liberty Expedia, a formerly publicly traded travel company. He currently serves on the boards for Little Island, Sauna Aid, Grounded Solutions Network, and the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Purnima Kapur

Purnima Kapur is Harvard University’s inaugural chief of university planning and design. She overseas planning and design for all of Harvard University’s campuses in Cambridge, Allston, and the Longwood Medical Area, as well as Harvard’s long-range, and multiphased work in Allston. She has been a visiting faculty member at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and has also served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAAP). She serves as a director on the board of Hudson River Park Trust, as well as the Skyscraper Museum.

Kapur has more than 25 years of experience in New York City Planning Department, culminating with her appointment as the executive director in 2014. Kapur is one of the key architects of New York City’s groundbreaking Mandatory Inclusionary Housing regulation. Under her leadership, the City adopted five Integrated Neighborhood Plans in four boroughs, as well as an innovative plan for the redevelopment of Greater East Midtown. Prior to that Kapur was a key player in the redevelopment and transformation of Brooklyn for over two decades, leading high-priority and transformative projects, including the development of Greenpoint-Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, and Coney Island among other neighborhoods. In her role as the director of the Bronx Office of City Planning, Kapur oversaw the largest transformation in the South Bronx with the construction of the new Yankee Stadium and Gateway Shopping Center, rezonings in several neighborhoods including Port Morris, Morrisania, Riverdale, and City Island, and the adoption of the Hunts Point Plan.

Kapur holds a Master of City Planning and a Master of Science of Architecture Studies from MIT and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the School of Planning and Architecture Delhi.

Saundra Thomas

Saundra Thomas is a nonprofit consultant with more than three decades of media and nonprofit leadership experience. Her work focuses on executive leadership coaching and strategic planning. She is currently vice chair of Open House New York’s board of directors and previously served the organization as interim co-executive director.

During her 16-year tenure as vice president of community affairs at WABC-TV, the ABC New York flagship station, Thomas led, designed, and oversaw all on-air public service announcements, community outreach, and station community projects for the New York tristate area. She is a perennial and sought-after board member, speaker, and coach who loves to dabble in spoken-word poetry. In addition to Open House New York, Thomas is a board member of Indigo Arts Alliance, the Prospect Park Alliance, and The Peace Studio.

Andrew Winters
Andrew Winters joined New York’s Olympic bid (NYC2012) in 1999 and became director of planning in 2004. Following the bid, Winters was the founding director of the Mayor’s Office of Capital Project Development, an office created by Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff to oversee complex, multi-agency projects including the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park, BAM Cultural District, CitiField, Yankee Stadium, and others. In that role, Winters oversaw the early planning work for The Shed. Winters was the director of development for the Cornell Tech project on Roosevelt Island, and joined Doctoroff at Sidewalk Labs in 2018, where he worked on large-scale urban projects and mass timber buildings. Winters is currently the director of planning and development for the New York Climate Exchange, overseeing the creation of a new climate solutions center on Governors Island.

About the Book

Courtesy Monacelli.
The book cover of The Urbanist with images of different urban development projects in New York City, including The Shed. In one image, Dan Doctoroff stands proudly in front of a panoramic view of the city seen from the windows of a skyscraper.
Courtesy Monacelli.
The Urbanist: Dan Doctoroff and the Rise of New York offers an unprecedented look at the central role one man played in the transformation of New York City. On January 1, 2002, Michael R. Bloomberg took office as the 108th mayor of New York City, with smoke still rising from the World Trade Center site. Many questioned whether the city could rebound from the worst terrorist attack in the nation’s history. Instead, New York thrived—entering a period of unprecedented growth, spurred by new neighborhoods, parks, office districts, cultural facilities, and more. At the center of many of these initiatives was Daniel L. Doctoroff, who served as deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding from 2002 to 2007. Told through the eyes of the individuals who worked with Doctoroff to lead these projects and accompanied by more than 450 photos, The Urbanist tells the astonishing story of the role that one man played in recreating New York City during one of its most transformative eras.
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Conversation running time: Approximately one hour

Location and dates

This event takes place in Level 4 Gallery.

May 20
Conversation 6 pm

The Shed is located at 545 West 30th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. View The Shed on a map.

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