RPA President Emeritus Robert Yaro Appointed Potter Rose Visiting Professor of Planning at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

  • August 26, 2015
  • News

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with UT’s exceptional faculty and students on strategies to preserve the Texas Hill Country,” said Yaro. “This is one of the most beautiful natural areas in the country. The future livability of Austin, San Antonio and the fast growing I-35 corridor will hinge in part on our ability to safeguard its water, wildlife and scenic resources.” 


RPA President Emeritus Robert Yaro Appointed Potter Rose Visiting Professor of Planning at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture

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Robert Yaro, former president of the Regional Plan Association of the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan area, is joining The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture faculty in fall 2015 as the Potter Rose Visiting Professor of Planning. An internationally recognized leader in urban and regional planning, Yaro brings considerable expertise and experience in advocacy and public policy for transportation, economic development, and environmental sustainability. In 2014, Yaro retired after 25 years in leadership positions at RPA, including as president since 2001. He currently serves as RPA president emeritus and senior advisor.

During Yaro’s tenure, RPA was instrumental to improvements in transportation infrastructure, economic development in Manhattan’s Far West Side and post-9/11 lower Manhattan, the preservation of environmentally sensitive lands, the protection of water supplies for millions of residents, and the transformation of blighted infrastructure into urban parkland. In 2013, RPA initiated work on its Fourth Regional Plan, a comprehensive blueprint for the New York metro region’s growth, sustainability, livability, governance, and fiscal health for the next 25 years.

Yaro’s work and influence goes far beyond the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region. He established America 2050, RPA’s examination of long-range infrastructure demands in the U.S. He is a thought leader in large-scale planning for megaregions, identifying the interdependence of large regional areas on infrastructure and natural resources. In 2012, Yaro established the Global Lab, a joint venture with the World Bank to improve planning in emerging global cities.

Yaro has an extensive teaching background, serving as professor of practice in city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania since 2002. He has also taught at Harvard University; Columbia University; and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he cofounded the Center for Rural Massachusetts.

At The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, Yaro will teach a studio for community and regional planning and landscape architecture students on the Texas Hill Country—the extraordinary natural and scenic area abutting Austin, San Antonio, and the I-35 corridor. The studio will investigate how current and future development patterns will affect the region’s ground and surface water supplies, wildlife habitat, and natural and scenic resources.

Studio participants will also propose alternative strategies to better manage future development and landscape conservation programs. The studio will work closely with the Hill Country Alliance and other civic groups to develop its recommendations.

“Bob Yaro is among the most significant urbanists of his generation,” said Fritz Steiner, dean of the UT Austin School of Architecture. “I’m delighted that he will be teaching at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture this fall. The Hill Country studio will be an unparalleled experience for our students, and I expect that their work under Bob will inform future policy and practice to protect and preserve this beautiful part of Texas.”

Yaro’s appointment will begin on August 26 and is supported by the Potter Rose Professorship in Urban Planning, an endowment created by Deedie and Rusty Rose of Dallas in 2009. As philanthropists and civic leaders, the Roses have made considerable contributions to arts, architecture, and environmental causes in Texas and beyond. Mrs. Rose in particular has been an active leader in the creation of an arts district in Dallas and the long-term effort to improve urban design along Dallas’ Trinity River corridor. In 2009, the Roses made a gift to the Trinity River Trust and City of Dallas to create the Dallas CityDesign Studio, an office that works collaboratively to advise, plan, and consult with public and private entities on the importance of urban design in 21st century Dallas.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with UT’s exceptional faculty and students on strategies to preserve the Texas Hill Country,” said Yaro. “This is one of the most beautiful natural areas in the country. The future livability of Austin, San Antonio and the fast growing I-35 corridor will hinge in part on our ability to safeguard its water, wildlife and scenic resources.”