Urban planner, author and teacher Alexander Garvin dies at age 80


Alexandre Garvin (George Garvin)

Urban planning expert and author Alexander Garvin, a longtime professor at Yale, best known for his leading roles in the design of the Atlanta BeltLine, the reconstruction of Ground Zero, and New York’s bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics, died Friday at the age of 80 after prolonged illness.

His death was confirmed by his brother George.

Garvin was the head of AGA Public Realm Strategists, a company he founded in 2004 with the goal of “helping developers reduce risk, municipalities build public support, and communities build public support. better quality of life ”, and whose clients included municipalities, mayors, city planning departments and large development companies.

It was with this company that he developed a pioneering plan for the old railroad lines circling Atlanta that would eventually connect the city in ways never before imagined. His plan, “The Emerald BeltLine Necklace: Atlanta’s New Public Kingdom,” took what was proposed to be a transit corridor and turned it into a patchwork of living spaces, parks and green spaces throughout the city. It was his greatest pride according to his brother.

Still under implementation today, the proposal was a resounding success, which he reflected on emotionally in an interview with the Saporta report in 2019.

“Atlanta is a healthier place than it was 20 years ago,” Garvin told the publication. “The BeltLine has become a melting valve for the people of Atlanta. When you come to Atlanta and go to the BeltLine, you see people of all income, all ethnicities, all races, and all ages. It’s incredible. It changes Atlanta.

In 1996, Garvin was hired by New York City Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff as general manager of planning and design for NYC2012, the city’s ultimately failed bid for the Summer Olympics. of 2012. The centerpiece of this plan was the construction of an Olympic stadium atop the West Side rail yards – which included the extension of subway train 7 to what became Hudson Yards.

According to his brother, the plan required such a mass movement of people through the city, it would take a coordinated ferry system in five boroughs to do it – something that happened when Mayor Bill DeBlasio created the system. NYC ferry in the 2010s.

A long-time supporter of pedestrian cities, Garvin’s books on urban planning include “The Heart of the City: Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century” and the textbook “The American City: What Works, What Doesn’t. not work ”, among others.

Garvin had been an assistant professor at Yale since 1967, where he taught the “Introduction to the Study of the City” course for over 46 years. He also taught two classes at the Yale School of Architecture.

A longtime New Yorker who lived on the Upper East Side, he has played an important role in urban planning since the early 1970s.

First, he served under Mayor Abe Beame as Deputy Commissioner of Housing Administration and City Development from 1974 to 1977. He was appointed Planning Commissioner for New York City in from 1995 by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, holding this post until 2004.

He was also appointed by Giuliani and Governor George Pataki as vice president of planning, design and development of the Lower Manhattan Development Company, which was established in the aftermath of September 11 to rebuild and revitalize the Lower Manhattan.

Garvin was born to Jacques and Margarita Garvin on March 8, 1941. He is survived by his brother, who has declared that a celebration of his life will take place in 2022.


Margie D. Carlisle