Geeta Mehta

Geeta Mehta is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia GSAPP, and has worked on design projects in India, China, Austria, France, Ukraine, Colombia, Brazil, Jamaica, Ghana and Kenya. She received her B. Arch from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, M.S. AUD from Columbia GSAPP, and her Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo.

Mehta is the founder and president of Asia Initiatives, a nonprofit organization founded in 1999 that has supported over 200 micro credit banks, 40 village knowledge centers, and supported education and technology initiatives in partnership with MSSRF and other local partners in India and other developing countries. Geeta has also developed the concept of Social Capital Credits (SoCCs) inspired by carbon credits and MPesa. This breakthrough virtual currency for social good is currently in use in India, Ghana, Kenya and in Washington DC. SoCCs incentivize people to undertake projects in waste management, tree planting, neighborhood improvements, and river restoration in their communities and earn SoCCs. These are then redeemed for telephone talk time, healthcare, education and skill empowerment. Prof. Pedro Sanchez, Director of Columbia’s Tropical Agriculture and the Rural Environment Program, World Food Prize recipient and a MacArthur Fellow, has praised SoCCs as “the most transformative and simple idea since Mohammad Yunus launched the micro credit movement.”

Mehta is the co-founder of “URBZ: User Generated Cities,” located in Mumbai, with Rahul Srivastava and Matias Echanove. URBZ undertakes activist research, and also works with underserved communities to help them transform their neighborhoods through advocacy and by improving public spaces and homes. Magazine dell’ Architettura ranked URBZ among the 100 most influential design organizations in 2011.

She currently serves on the board of Women Strong International, on the board of advisors of Millennium Cities Initiative at the Earth Institute of Columbia University, and Friends of the University of Tokyo. Mehta co-authored five books on Japanese architecture and design while she lived in Tokyo. She has also served as the president of the American Institute of Architects’ Japan Chapter.

Mehta is a frequent juror for international design competitions and a speaker at international forums related to urban design and social capital.

Geeta Mehta at Public2015
Lecture held at Public2015 Ideas Forum in Perth, Australia.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A6851‑1 Spring 2018
Urban Design Studio III
Kate Orff, Ziad Jamaleddine, Laura Kurgan, Nora Akawi, Geeta Mehta, Julia Watson, Dilip da Cunha
M & TH 1:30 PM - 6 :30 PM, F 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Full Semester
9 Points