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Former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger Joins Drexel as Distinguished Professor and Fellow

Greenberger was the deputy mayor for economic development and director of commerce for the City of Philadelphia from 2009 through 2015 under the administration of former mayor Michael Nutter.

February 10, 2016

A visionary leader in Philadelphia’s urban evolution, former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger will join Drexel University as a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Architecture & Interiors of the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, a cross-university strategic initiative that aligns Drexel’s academic work with the real-world need for urban revitalization.

“Alan Greenberger provided great leadership and partnership to businesses and non-profits pursuing an economic development agenda in Philadelphia over the past seven years, and our University greatly benefited from his counsel and expertise,” said Drexel University President John A. Fry. “As Philadelphia continues one of the most exciting phases of innovation in its history, we’re glad to have Alan join Drexel to help our students and faculty understand and contribute to it.”

With a career spanning a period of time during which Philadelphia experienced unprecedented population growth and redevelopment, Greenberger played a vital role in overseeing more than $11 billion in real estate projects through development concepts, including the Gallery and East Market, the Divine Lorraine, Baker’s Square and the W/Element Hotel, all completed or under construction.

During his tenure, he also oversaw major planning initiatives including rewriting the Philadelphia Zoning Code and a five-year long comprehensive plan for the city, entitled Philadelphia 2035.  In addition, he had primary roles in the evolution of plans for both the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers waterfronts.

Under his leadership, the city grew its job base to its highest level in 15 years, establishing Philadelphia as a hub for start-up businesses, both domestic and international. And through his leadership in partnership with Global Philadelphia Inc., Philadelphia became a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities, the first and only American city to gain such status.

“My professional career has deep roots at Drexel where a new vision for a great urban university has taken hold under President John Fry,” said Greenberger. “I am absolutely delighted to be back as a member of both the Westphal College and the Lindy Institute and look forward to working with colleagues throughout the university to grow the school and the city with it.”

As a Distinguished Teaching Professor, Greenberger will teach a variety of required and elective courses in the Department of Architecture & Interiors that will draw upon his deep expertise as a designer and urban planner and from his extensive experience in a wide range of roles in the City Government of Philadelphia working on issues of economic and real estate development.

He will be an active contributor in the creation of new interdisciplinary graduate programs focusing on the urban environment, and as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation he will contribute to public programming and research also centered on issues related to urban planning and the built environment.

Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey was named the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Lindy Institute last month.

“Alan’s influence can be seen across the cityscape of Philadelphia,” said Allen Sabinson, dean of the Westphal College. “We are thrilled to welcome Alan back to the Department of Architecture & Interiors where he taught for us for many years when he was in professional practice. Our students will have wonderful opportunities to learn from someone whose guidance has shaped our vibrant, thriving city.”

Greenberger was the deputy mayor for economic development and director of commerce for the City of Philadelphia from 2009 through 2015 under the administration of former mayor Michael Nutter. He also served as executive director and then chairman of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission during that period. Prior to that, he was in private practice as an architect and planner with MGA Partners and its predecessor, Mitchell/Giurgola Architects, firms that gained national and international stature for design excellence.

He has served on the boards of numerous civic and cultural organizations in Philadelphia including the Association for Public Art, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. He is also a co-founder of the Design Advocacy Group of Philadelphia, a 1000-member organization that is a model of design advocacy nationwide.

Greenberger has been the recipient of several personal honors including, most recently, the AIA Pennsylvania 2014 Government Award and the AIA Philadelphia 2015 John Harbeson Award for lifetime achievement. In 2009, he was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

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Alex McKechnie