Peter Katz

As a thought leader and advocate for better community planning, Peter Katz A'76 played a key role in launching the New Urbanism, a movement that The New York Times called “the most important phenomenon to emerge in American architecture in the post-Cold War era.” He wrote the book that initially defined the movement, The New Urbanism: Toward an Architecture of Community. In 1991, Katz convened the founding board members of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) to plan the organization and its initial series of congresses. He later served as the organization’s founding Executive Director. During Katz’s tenure, CNU adopted its charter, obtained its first foundation funding, began a strategic partnership with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and convened its first international congress.

In addition to his advocacy work, Peter Katz provides consulting services in the areas of community development and real estate marketing. Over the years, he has worked with a range of clients including government agencies, real-estate developers, non-profit organizations, charitable foundations and civic associations. Included among these are The Community Builders, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The JBG Companies and Transdev, the world’s largest transportation provider. Katz has also served in public-sector planning roles. He worked as a senior planner in Oceanside, California, as Director of Smart Growth and Urban Planning in Sarasota County, Florida and as Director of Planning in Arlington County, Virginia.

Katz remains active as a speaker and a writer. He has addressed a range of university audiences, professional societies, and citizen groups, both nationally and internationally. Articles by Mr. Katz have been featured in publications such as Planning, Architecture, Architectural Record, Planetizen, Landscape Architecture and Metropolitan Home and journals such as The Responsive Community and the Urban Land Institute’s forecast ULI on the Future. He wrote the entry on New Urbanism for The Encyclopedia of Housing, and in 2016, contributed a chapter to The Routledge Companion for Architecture and Design Practice.

Mr. Katz studied architecture and graphic design at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and the Royal Society of Arts (London) Honor Award upon graduation in 1976.

Role: Alumni Trustee
Elected to the Board: December 2015
Class Term: 2019
Term Limit: 2023

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.