Amanda Burden, currently a member of the New York City Planning Commission and a graduate of Columbia University's School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, was named chair of the Commission by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on January 15.
"The City Planning Commission plays a critical role in the rebuilding of our great City," Bloomberg said. "Amanda Burden has the experience to energize efforts in order to bolster the physical vitality and economy of our City. When we plan our City, we plan our future and Amanda will help set the right course for New York."
As the head of the Commission, Burden also becomes the director of the Department of City Planning. The Commission and Department are responsible for the City's physical and socioeconomic planning, including land use and environmental review, preparation of plans and policies, provision of technical assistance and planning information for government agencies, public officials and community boards.
Bloomberg has named three other Columbians to posts in his administration: Benjamin K. Chu, M.D., senior associate dean at Columbia's College of Physicians & Surgeons' affiliation with Harlem Hospital Center, nominated to become president of the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation; Ester R. Fuchs, director of the Center for Urban Research and Policy at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs and a professor at Barnard College and Columbia, to be special advisor for governance and strategic planning, and Thomas R. Frieden, a joint MD/Master of Public Health '86 on the faculty at the Mailman School of Public Health in the Department of Epidemiology, appointed as commissioner of the Department of Health.
Prior to her appointment and her work on the City Planning Commission, Burden was director of planning at the Center for Court Innovation, coordinator for planning and development at the Midtown Community Court Project, vice president of planning and design at the Battery Park City Authority, and vice president of architecture and design at the New York State Urban Development Corporation.
Burden received a BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her professional degree in urban planning at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation.
As a Columbia student, Burden won the 1992 prize for best thesis in urban planning. "She was an outstanding student and has been an outstanding professional," said Elliott Sclar, director of Columbia's Urban Planning program." At this critical time, Amanda brings both breadth of vision and depth of understanding about the practical alternatives to make an important mark on planning New York for a new century."