The Urbanist: Dan Doctoroff 

Alexander Spatari, Getty Images

Join Open House New York, The Shed, and Monacelli for the launch of The Urbanist: Dan Doctoroff and the Rise of New York, a new book that reveals the never-before-told, behind-the-scenes stories of the role one man played in shaping the city we live in today. 

As Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding in the Bloomberg administration from 2002 to 2007, Doctoroff guided New York City through unprecedented growth and unleashed a wave of private and nonprofit construction, spurred by new neighborhoods, parks, office districts, and cultural venues, including The Shed. 

Behind each project and initiative is a story of how New Yorkers transformed an idea into reality and built a new generation of landmarks that define the city today. Dive into these stories with Rohit Aggarwala, Robert Hammond, Purmina Kapur, Andrew Winters, and Saundra Thomas. Hear about the unlikely alliance that unlocked the rebuilding of Ground Zero, how the Museum of Arts and Design outfoxed Donald Trump for a coveted site in Columbus Circle, how Citibike was saved from financial ruin, and much more.  

A reception will follow the conversation. 


About Dan Doctoroff

Daniel L. Doctoroff served as deputy mayor of economic development and rebuilding for the City of New York. Along with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Docotoroff led the city’s economic resurgence after 9/11 and played a key role in creating an array of iconic projects during this period, from the rebuilt World Trade Center to Brooklyn Bridge Park to the High Line and more. He spearheaded the effort to reverse New York’s fiscal crisis and oversaw the creation of PlaNYC, New York’s pathbreaking sustainability plan. In 2021, Doctoroff stepped down as chairman and CEO of Sidewalk Labs after receiving a diagnosis of ALS. His focus has since shifted to scaling up Target ALS, the organization that he founded in 2013, which has pioneered a new, collaborative approach to ALS research.



Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala was appointed Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the City’s Chief Climate Officer in February 2022. Under his leadership, DEP has embraced a leadership role on both stormwater and coastal resilience, streamlined its procurement processes to be able to invest more money in infrastructure each year, and improved DEP’s water revenues by reducing accounts receivable and delivering revenues $250 million above budget in his first year. As Chief Climate Officer, he also led the development of New York City’s most recent sustainability plan, PlaNYC. Prior to the Adams administration, Aggarwala served as the first Director of the New York City Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, where he led the creation of the first PlaNYC.

Robert Hammond is currently the President & Chief Strategy Officer for Therme Group US, where he is leading an initiative to bring large-scale bathing facilities to the United States. Prior to joining Therme Group US, Robert served as the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the High Line for over two decades. Alongside Joshua David he led in the transformation of an abandoned elevated railway line in Manhattan into an iconic urban park. Under his leadership, the High Line grew to become one of the most beloved public spaces in the United States, attracting eight million annual visitors annually with its innovative design, public art program, and community programming. Inspiring adaptive reuse projects around the world, he also created the High Line Network to foster community and share best practices among leaders of other infrastructure renewal projects.

Purnima Kapur is Harvard University’s Chief of University Planning and Design, and head of the Harvard University Planning and Design (HUPAD). In this role, she oversees all planning, design and regulatory approvals across all of Harvard’s real estate holdings. Purmina has more than 25 years of experience in the New York City Planning Department, culminating with her appointment by Mayor Bill de Blasio as the Executive Director of the City Planning Department, where she oversaw all land use planning and policies for the City of New York’s neighborhood planning studies, economic development, and resiliency initiatives.

Andrew Winters joined New York’s Olympic bid (NYC2012) in 1999 and became Director of Planning in 2004. Following the bid, Andrew was the founding Director of the Mayor’s Office of Capital Project Development, an office created by Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff to oversee complex, multi-agency projects, including the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park, BAM Cultural District, CitiField and Yankee Stadium and others. In that role, Andrew oversaw the early planning work for the Shed. Andrew was the Director of Development for the Cornell Tech project on Roosevelt Island and joined Dan at Sidewalk Labs in 2018, where he worked on large-scale urban projects and mass timber buildings. Andrew is currently the Director of Planning and Development for the New York Climate Exchange, overseeing the creation of a new climate solutions center on Governors Island.

Saundra Thomas (moderator) is Principal of SPT Consults and a driven professional with 30+ years in media and nonprofit leadership. SPT Consults focuses on nonprofit strategic planning, board governance and development. In 2020, Saundra filled the role of Interim Co-Executive Director at Open House New York during an executive director transition at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. She currently serves as vice chair of the organization. Prior to launching her consulting business, she spent 16 years as Vice-President of Community Affairs at WABC-TV, where she oversaw all on-air public service announcements and led the station’s strategic vision for community engagement, outreach and projects within the tristate.


About the Book

The Urbanist: Dan Doctoroff and the Rise of New York offers an unprecedented look at the central role one man played in the transformation of New York City. On January 1, 2002, Michael R. Bloomberg took office as the 108th mayor of New York City, with smoke still rising from the World Trade Center site. Many questioned whether the city could rebound from the worst terrorist attack in the nation’s history. Instead, New York thrived — entering a period of unprecedented growth, spurred by new neighborhoods, parks, office districts, cultural facilities, and more. At the center of many of these initiatives was Daniel L. Doctoroff, who served as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding from 2002 to 2007. Told through the eyes of the individuals who worked with Doctoroff to lead these projects and accompanied by more than 450 photos, The Urbanist: Dan Doctoroff and the Rise of New York tells the astonishing story of the role that one man played during one of its most transformative eras. 

OHNY Members*: $15
General Admission: $20
Book add-on: +$60

Pre-purchase a copy of The Urbanist with your ticket to receive an exclusive note from Dan Doctoroff to attendees of the event, a special book discount (retail $65), and a Phaidon/Monacelli tote bag. 

*OHNY Members have received a promo code for discounted tickets. If you need a promo code, please email

The Shed has accessible seating and visitors may check out assistive listening devices at the theater. The Shed’s online ticketing system includes the option to submit additional accommodation requests.

The Shed
545 West 30th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues)
New York City

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