I was born in Boston MA and grew up in Milton, a small town on the southern edge of Boston. After completing public school there, I attended Harvard College graduating in 1961, then Harvard’s Graduate School of Design from which I received a Masters in Architecture In 1964. After graduation I moved to Philadelphia to work with Edmund Bacon at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. My primary responsibility was the redesign of the Market East Project. Subsequent to my work at the Planning Commission I became director of planning and development for the Bicentennial Corporation and then, taking a break from Philadelphia, I moved to Austin, Texas, where I was Chairman of the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin, Associate Dean and, for a brief period, Acting Dean.
In 1976, I returned to Philadelphia at the invitation of Mayor Frank Rizzo and created the Office of Housing and Community Development of which I was the first director. After leaving City government four years later, I co-founded the consulting firm Urban Partners, with two partners. The firm, still in operation today, specialized in neighborhood planning, economic development and strategic planning for non-profit organizations. While the consulting work was rewarding, in 1992 I became involved with the YouthBuild program, a program to assist high school dropouts complete their education and also learned job skills. I was one of the co-founders of the program in Philadelphia, serving as board chair for 12 years and helping the transition to a Charter School in 1995. In that same year I accepted the position of Vice President for Field Services for YouthBuild USA and spent the next three years commuting bi-weekly between Philadelphia and Somerville, MA.
In 2002, after assisting the Preservation Alliance develop a new strategic plan I was appointed executive director, a position that I held until January 2013. During that time I was the principal public advocate for historic preservation in Philadelphia. My accomplishments were recognized in 2010 by AIA Pennsylvania’s award for contributions to the profession by a non-architect, in 2011 by Preservation Pennsylvania with the Henry Jordan Award for excellence in advocacy, in 2012 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation with the John Chafee Trustee’s Award for outstanding leadership in public policy and in 2013 by the Philadelphia City Policy Committee with its leadership award.
My current civic interests continue to include the YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School, where I serve as Chairman of the Friends of YouthBuild. I am also an avid pocket billiards player and a member of an APA team in Philadelphia. My essay on the history of billiards / pool in Philadelphia was published in the online Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia in 2015. I divide my time between Philadelphia and Bethlehem, PA, where my partner, a doctor/ psychiatrist from Pakistan, practices pain management. My older son, a professional photographer, his wife and my grandson live in Trinidad; my younger son‚ a filmmaker/photographer/clothing designer, lives in Los Angeles.
Writing has always been a part of my life, although generally secondary to my professional career. Publications related to my professional interests include:
Man-Made Philadelphia (MIT Press, 1972), co-author with Richard Saul Wurman; Philadelphia Architecture, A Guide to the City, Fourth Edition, 2016, (Paul Dry Books); The Planning of Center City Philadelphia:From William Penn to the Present, 2007, (Center for Architecture); and Sacred Sites of Center City, 2007, (Preservation Alliance).
I have also written about spiritual issues from my perspective as a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Those publications include Reflections from a Prayer Vigil for Peace (Pendle Hill Pamphlet 358), Reflections from a Solitary Meeting for Worship (PHP 469), and Be Patterns/ reflections on words of George Fox (PHP 473), as well as a number of essays in Friends Journal. In 2021, I self-published a second edition of my book Living in the Kingdom of God about the parables of Jesus of Nazareth. In addition, I enjoy writing fiction and self-published a collection of short stories entitled Photographic Meditations in 2013.