Gerardo del Cerro Santamaría

Research Professor of Planning and Megaprojects & Senior Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Innovation

Professor Gerardo del Cerro Santamaría is Professor of Planning and Megaprojects at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan. He is also a Visiting Scholar in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. del Cerro Santamaría serves as Senior Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Innovation at Cooper, overseeing planning, strategy, effectiveness, institutional research and accreditation. Gerardo was the Founder of Cooper Union’s Program of Evaluation and Innovation. He is also a Founding Member of Cooper’s Planning and Assessment Council.

Professor Gerardo del Cerro Santamaría is internationally recognized for his contributions to research and scholarship. He is most interested in the transdisciplinary research of  analytical models at the intersection of social science, engineering, architecture, physics and medicine. He is currently working on the development of new projects in the following research areas: 1. Urban Megaprojects and Sustainability; 2. Megaprojects, Infrastructure and Development; 3. Science, Technology and Globalization; 4. Cities, Innovation and Factories of the Future, 5. Models in Social Neuroscience, 6. Conceptual Foundations of Physics.

For the past twenty years he has closely collaborated with the National Science Foundation, as Program Area Leader for the Gateway Engineering Program and as a review panelist. He was also selected for the first Engineering Ideas Lab, a high-level meeting of thirty engineers and social scientists that took place at NSF headquarters in Virginia in 2014. The group debated and discussed about more effective ways to understand the impact of science and technology upon the economic development of the United States.

He is the author of seven books and numerous journal articles, encyclopedia entries and conference papers. He has been invited to present his work by institutions in the USA, Europe, Asia and Africa. His book Bilbao: Basque Pathways to Globalization is regarded as a seminal contribution to the field of globalized urbanization and “one of the more sophisticated studies of globalization available today” (Diane Davis, Harvard University). He is co-author and editor of Urban Megaprojects: A Worldwide View, a volume that includes contributions from researchers in top universities in the USA, Europe and Asia and praised as “essential reading for students of urban politics, planning, sociology, and geography” by Susan Fainstein (Harvard Graduate School of Design). He is also Guest Editor and contributor to the volume on Technological Futures, published in the journal Technology in Society, and commended as “a very important topic treated with great rigor” by Basarab Nicolescu, a theoretical physicist and President of the Centre International des Recherches et Études Transdisciplinaires in Paris. Professor del Cerro Santamaría is an invited contributor to the Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management, a path-breaking reference volume published by Oxford University Press in 2017.

Throughout his career Professor del Cerro Santamaría has received several professional honors and awards. He is recognized as a “leading researcher” by Euraxess, the European Union´s official research organization that includes 29 countries. He obtained permanent residence in the United States through the USCIS “Outstanding Researchers and Professors” program, which requires accrediting international recognition of the candidate´s professional career. He is also an elected Fellow of the prestigious Academic of Transdisciplinary Learning and Advanced Studies.

Gerardo graduated from the Executive Program on Evaluation at Harvard University and holds Ph.D.´s in the Social Sciences from the very prestigious New School for Social Research in New York and the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain. After graduating with Honors from a High School program focused on Mathematics and Science, he devoted his undergraduate college years to the study of Philosophy of Science, Epistemology, Logic and Music Theory. Trained in classical music since the age of seven, he obtained the degree of “Professor of Piano” after completing studies in Spain, and continued his musical education in New York City with the late concert pianist and Moscow Conservatory Professor Temuri Akhobadze, a heir of the Lisztian school of piano playing. For the past ten years Professor del Cerro Santamaría has focused on the study of architecture, engineering and physics, as part of his pursuit of a personal worldview in the spirit of the Renaissance masters.


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  • 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.