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Adam Tanaka

Adam Tanaka is an urban planner and educator. His research, teaching, and professional practice focus on the complex interplay of public and private interests in city building, with a particular emphasis on large-scale development initiated by public and nonprofit organizations.

Adam is a Senior Analyst at HR&A Advisors, an industry leader in economic development, real estate, and urban policy consulting. Adam’s work at HR&A has included negotiation support, financial analysis, economic and fiscal impact analysis, organizational design, and economic development strategy on behalf of public and private clients, including the Battery Park City Authority, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, the University of Pennsylvania, and Sidewalk Labs.

Adam is deeply involved in the education and mentorship of aspiring urban planners and developers. He was a visiting lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for the 2019-20 academic year and has delivered guest lectures on affordable housing and community development at MIT, NYU, Hunter College, and Yale University. Adam’s writing, filmmaking, and civic art projects have been published by the Boston Globe, CityLab, Crain’s New York, the Journal of Urban History, Slate, and the Van Alen Institute, among others.

Prior to joining HR&A, Adam received his PhD in urban planning from Harvard University, where his research focused on the history of large-scale, middle-income housing in New York City. While at Harvard, Adam taught courses on urban design and real estate finance, and helped launch an urban innovation summer program in partnership with the City of Paris. During his graduate studies, Adam also worked for the New York City Department of City Planning and the New York City Housing Development Corporation, analyzing the city’s Transferable Development Rights programs and contributing to the underwriting of affordable housing preservation deals.

Originally from London, England, Adam is a Fellow of the Urban Design Forum and previously served on the Program Committee for Open House New York, a non-profit organization that promotes public access to off-limits urban spaces.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
PLA6613‑1 Spring 2021
Built Environment Disruption: Partnerships and Urban Technology
Kate Wittels, Adam Tanaka
TU 7 PM - 9 PM
3 Points