James Kostaras – Senior Research Affiliate



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 brings significant experience working in local government, serving a project director at the 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.

More recently, he worked with Sasaki Associates providing consulting services to the City of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and 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.

He has significant teaching experience, including as a lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design from 1997 to 2008, and has lectured widely around the world. He is a registered architect in Massachusetts and a member of the American Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Contact: kostaras@i2ud.org

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