New Sustainability Director in NYC Comes from Portland

Sunset over Lower Manhattan, New York City

How will a Portland superstar effect New York City as its new Sustainability Director?

New York has been doing a great job of becoming a greener and greener city in recent years, but one city that has probably outdone it is Portland, Oregon. A model of sustainable development and progressive urban planning and design, it seemed that Portland was used as a best practice model in every class I took as a graduate student in city and regional planning.

Rit Aggarwala, who previously led the PlaNYC 2030 sustainability agenda as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning & Sustainability, is reportedly off to California to live happily ever after with his new bride. And replacing him in NYC is David Bragdon. Bragdon was, most recently, “the president of the Portland, Oregon Metro Council, an elected body that oversees regional planning, protection of natural areas, handling of solid waste and recycling, and management of regional facilities for over one and a half million people in the Portland metro region,” Bonnie Hulkover of TreeHugger reports.

More on Bragdon via TreeHugger is as follows:

Bragdon brings with him ten years of experience coordinating Portland’s land use and transportation planning. Much of this role involved long term planning that will come in handy in his new position. Bragdon was termed out of being Metro Council President again because of term limits. Bragdon credits the City of Portland for giving him the experience of being at the forefront of green buildings, bicycles, and protecting open space. While President at Metro Council, Bragdon helped acquire more than 10,000 acres through two voter-approved bond measures, including a $227 million bond to protect natural areas and stream corridors. The Portland region also has an impressive 56.7% solid waste recycling rate.

Bragdon is also credited with improving the Portland Region Metro Council’s financial performance and bringing stakeholders together including local government agencies, businesses, and NGOs. Here is to hoping both these cities benefit from lessons learned through a productive, cross-pollination of ideas!

Following the relatively long (in the world of planning), successful, innovative work Bragdon did in Portland, I am curious and excited to see what he will do in the most famous city in the U.S. I’m expecting great things from him there.

Photo Credit: andrew mace— via flickr