University of Pennsylvania Urban Planning Expert Succeeds Architect David Childs
NEW YORK, NY: March 2, 2012 – Vin Cipolla, president of The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), today announced that Dr. Eugenie L. Birch has been elected chair of the MAS board of directors. Professor Birch, an internationally known expert in urban planning, chairs the city and regional planning department of the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. At MAS she succeeds David M. Childs, who completed a three-year term as chair of the 119-year-old urban planning and preservation organization.
Said Mr. Cipolla, “We are indebted to David for his extraordinary leadership, which has further strengthened MAS’s role in New York City, and we’re so excited that Genie will follow him. She brings an exceptional thoughtfulness and an unusual breadth of knowledge and experience to thinking about urban life.”
“The Municipal Art Society is one of New York’s great urban planning organizations,” said Dr. Birch. “Its measured, nonpartisan approach to improving New York City’s livability is critical for the future of the city and a model for the best practices in urban planning. It has been an honor to sit on the MAS board member since 2005 and it will be a great privilege to serve as board chair.”
Said David Childs, “Genie’s extraordinary breath of knowledge and deep commitment to the field of urban planning will be invaluable to her as she spearheads MAS’s effort to make New York a more livable and resilient city.”
Professor Birch, who is known as Genie, is the Lawrence C. Nussdorf Chair of Urban Research and Education at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design, where she teaches courses in planning history and global urbanization. Professor Birch chairs the city and regional planning department, co-directs the Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) and co-edits the City in the 21st Century series for the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Long active in the field's professional organizations and in academia in the United States and abroad, Professor Birch is president of the International Planning History Society and has served as chairperson of the Planning Accreditation Board and the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College/CUNY; president of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning and the Society for American City and Regional Planning History; and co-editor of the Journal of the American Planning Association. She is a member of the board of directors of Scenic Hudson and the International Downtown Association, has been a member of the New York City Planning Commission and was a member of the jury that selected the designers of the World Trade Center site.
Professor Birch’s books include the forthcoming Hopeful Signs: Urban Revitalization, 1970-2000 (Island Press); Women’s Health and the World’s Cities (2011), with Afaf Meleis and Susan Wachter; Global Urbanization (2011); Neighborhoods and Life Chances: How Place Matters in Modern America (2011), with Harriet Newberger and Susan Wachter; Urban and Regional Planning Reader (2009); Local Planning, Principles and Practice (ICMA 2009), with Gary Hack, Paul Sedway and Mitchell Silver; Growing Greener Cities (2008); Rebuilding Urban Places After Disaster: Lessons from Katrina (2006), with Susan Wachter; and Who Lives Downtown (2005), published by The Brookings Institution.
Professor Birch received the Laurence C. Gerckens Prize from The Society of American City and Regional Planning History and three prizes from The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, the Margarita McCoy Award, the Jay Chatterjee Award and the Distinguished Educator Award.
Eugenie Birch and her husband, Robert, are longtime residents of New York City.
The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS), founded in 1893, is a non-profit membership organization committed to making New York a more livable city through education, dialogue and advocacy for intelligent urban planning, design and preservation. For more information visit MAS.org.
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