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Urban planner Alex Garvin dead at 80

The Citizens Housing & Planning Council has announced the death of board member Alex Garvin. He was 80 years old.

Garvin enjoyed an extraordinary career in planning in NYC spanning five decades. And architect, author, Yale academic and City Hall planner, he directed the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site and helped plan a New York City Olympics.

While in government, he directed comprehensive planning under Mayor Koch, served on the Planning Commission under Mayor Giuliani, and led planning for Lower Manhattan Development Corporation under Mayor Bloomberg, shaping the plans for the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site.

As a consultant, he played a prominent role in the development of the BeltLine in Atlanta, one of the most successful urban revitalization projects in the United States. He also shared his passion for planning through teaching and writing.

For over 50 years, he taught hundreds of Yale students about the rigors and complexity of real planning conundrums. As an author, he envisaged planning as the catalyst to spur the right type of private development to keep cities vibrant and vital.

Photo by Ting-Li Wang, New York Times

In a statement, the Board and staff of the Citizens Housing & Planning Council said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of our board member, Alex Garvin, and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

 “For us, Alex was a formidable, fun, eccentric, and insightful presence in all of our board meetings and many committees. He served on CHPC’s Zoning Committee for decades, using his vast experience of zoning to add richness and rigor to our work. He was unabashed in offering his opinion during meetings, whether in the presence of other board members or high-ranking government guests.

“We greatly appreciated his dedication to civic participation and spirited dialogue; he was always a cheerleader for CHPC. We loved his frequent missive emails from his travels around the world, always accompanied by his planning analysis and personal photographs.”

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