Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Rohit Aggarwala

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Residence  Manhattan, NY

Name  Rohit Aggarwala
Rohit Aggarwala wwwcollegecolumbiaeducctarchivejanfeb08ima

Born  1971Manhattan, NY
Occupation  Principal Advisor to the Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change of the United Nations Secretary GeneralProfessor of Professional Practice in International and Public Affairs at Columbia University
Organization  Bloomberg Associates Columbia UniversityBloomberg Philanthropies
Books  Progressive Censoring: Theory, Methods, and Applications

Dr. Rohit T. Aggarwala, also known as Rit, is an American environmental policy advisor, transportation planner, and historian. He is currently the Chief Policy Officer at Sidewalk Labs.


Aggarwala is best known for his work as the Director of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability for New York City from 2006 until June 2010. In this role, he led the development and implementation of PlaNYC, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s long-term sustainability plan for New York City.

“PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York”, a long range plan for New York City’s continued growth through the year 2030. While maintaining the support of both the business and environmental communities, PlaNYC has led New York City to a 19% reduction in its overall carbon footprint since 2005. Mayor Bloomberg called him "the brains behind PlaNYC."

He serves on several boards, including that of the Regional Plan Association (RPA); the Urban Green Council; the advisory boards of the Eno Transportation Foundation and New World Capital. He is co-chair of the RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan, and was recently appointed to the Transportation Reinvention Commission of New York’s M.T.A.

In early 2013, he was briefly rumored to be a potential candidate to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Early Career and Education

Before joining the Bloomberg administration, Aggarwala was an associate at McKinsey & Company.

Aggarwala was born in New York City and grew up in White Plains, New York and Rome. Aggarwala holds a B.A., M.B.A., and Ph.D from Columbia University, as well as a Master’s degree from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

Director of New York City’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability

Aggarwala’s accomplishments spearheading PlaNYC include the drafting and passage of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan, a comprehensive package of legislation requiring energy efficiency improvements in existing large buildings; rules requiring hybrid taxis, which despite a Federal lawsuit have resulted in 25 percent of the yellow taxi fleet converting to hybrid vehicles; the establishment and report of the Green Codes Task Force; and the creation of the first-of-its-kind New York City Panel on Climate Change, which developed official climate change forecasts for New York City. He also played a leading role in the proposal to bring congestion pricing to Manhattan in 2007, which was a PlaNYC initiative.

Special Advisor to the C40 Chair

From 2010 to 2013, Aggarwala served as a Special Advisor to the Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a network of the world’s megacities taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Bloomberg Philanthropies

Aggarwala served as Environmental Donations Director for the Bloomberg Philanthropies during which time it made a $50 million grant to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Initiative.

Bloomberg Associates

Prior to joining Sidewalk Labs Aggarwala was the leader of the sustainability practice at Bloomberg Associates, a philanthropic consulting firm that serves city governments.

Columbia University

Aggarwala is an adjunct Professor Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. In the past, he has also taught at Stanford University.

Awards and honors

  • Urban Green Council Gala Honoree, January 19, 2012
  • PlaNYC Received one of the The Daily Green's 2009 Heart of Green Awards, Aggarwala accepted it on behalf of NYC
  • Selected publications

  • “Why Nonprofits Should Operate Commuter Trains,” Stanford Social Innovation Review, Summer 2013, 40-47.
  • “Not Predestination: New York Harbor and the Challenge of Philadelphia,” New-York Journal of American History
  • “Think Locally, Act Globally: How Curbing Global Warming Emissions Can Improve Local Public Health,” with Michael R. Bloomberg, American Journal of Preventive Medicine 35:5 (November 2008), pp. 414-423.
  • “Sustaining Leadership,” Hermes (Columbia Business School alumni magazine), Winter 2008, p. 44.
  • “Chants Plutocratic: Four Books on New York City’s Commercial Elites,” review essay, Journal of Urban History, 31:4 (May 2005), pp. 554-564.
  • “Whose Railroad is This, Anyway?: Opportunities and Challenges in Regionalizing the Northeast Corridor,” with Daniel L. Roth, Transportation Research Record 1785 (2002), pp. 1-9.
  • “‘Non-Resident Me’: John Bartlett Brebner, Nationalism, and the Canadian Historical Profession,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, new series 10 (1999), pp. 237-277.
  • “The States, New Modes, and Federal Transportation Policy: Lessons from History for High Speed Rail,”Transportation Quarterly 52:3 (Summer 1998), pp. 53-67.
  • Articles

  • “Why Higher Fares Would Be Good for Public Transit,” City Lab, July 2014
  • “How New York and New Jersey Can Fix the Port Authority,” Bloomberg View, June 2014
  • Changing the Conversation on Climate Change, February 3, 2013
  • Want Better Roads? Kill the Gas Tax, January 23, 2013
  • Low on the List of Life-Saving Ideas, November 1, 2012
  • Fiscal Games Can’t Hide True Cost of U.S. Roads, April 12, 2012
  • Interviews

  • C40 Cities’ Aggarwala says local governments can lead the way on climate action, July 27, 2011
  • Mayor Bloomberg Donates $50 Million to Sierra Club, July 21, 2011
  • Expert Voices: Dr. Aggarwala, Special Advisor to the C40 Chair, July 11, 2011
  • Interview with Rohit Aggarwala, NYC Director of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, November 2, 2009
  • References

    Rohit Aggarwala Wikipedia