James Kostaras – Senior Fellow

B.Arch (RISD), MAUD (Harvard), AIA, AICP

During his 25-year career in the public and private sector, James Kostaras has created and implemented successful urban design and development strategies that have led to the revitalization of urban districts challenged by economic disinvestment. He has worked with communities and local governments to address the challenges of urban poverty, housing, rapid urbanization and urban climate adaptation of cities in Belize, Haiti, Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia and Morocco. Urban climate adaptation and resiliency through urban planning and sustainable community development is a major focus of his work.  Mr. Kostaras brings significant experience working in local government in the United States, serving as an assistant director at the Boston Planning and Development Agency (former Boston Redevelopment Authority) from 1985 to 2002 and as the Executive Director of the City of Somerville’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development from 2004 to 2007. In that position, he launched a major economic development strategy that has attracted over $1.5 billion in anticipated public and private investment in Somerville, and secured over $40 million in state and federal funding for affordable housing, parks, transportation and new infrastructure.  In 2010, Mr. Kostaras founded Acadia Strategic Planning LLC, a firm that provides strategic project and program consulting services to public sector clients. His projects have garnered the 2001 American Institute of Architects Honor Award for Urban Design; the American Planning Association Massachusetts Chapter Award for Comprehensive Planning and the Congress for the New Urbanism Charter Award of Excellence.

Mr. Kostaras has significant teaching experience, including as Lecturer of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design from 1997 to 2008. He lectures frequently at international conferences and universities worldwide, most recently at the 2016 International Conference on Urban Development: Accelerating Resilience and Inclusive Growth, Manila, Philippines at the invitation of USAID on the topic of financing urban resiliency and green infrastructure through land value capture. He is a registered architect in Massachusetts and a former member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Certified Planners. From 1979-1981, Mr. Kostaras served as an architect in the U.S. Peace Corps in Morocco.

Contact: kostaras@i2ud.org

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