Kate Ascher is Principal at Happold Consulting and the Milstein Professor of Urban Development at the Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation & Planning (GSAPP), Columbia University in New York City, USA.
She is also a member of the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction.
She teaches real estate, infrastructure and urban planning courses, and also has a strong academic background, with interests in privatization and municipal services, waterfront planning and development, infrastructure and environmental policy.
Kate Ascher leads BuroHappold Engineering’s cities group, which specializes in urban planning and development. She has a track record of effective leadership in infrastructure, transportation, economic development and real estate in public and private sectors. Her strengths are in planning and implementing urban development projects involving major financial, regulatory, organizational and political hurdles.
She holds a BA in political science from Brown University, Providence, USA and an MSc and PhD in government from the London School of Economics (LSE), United Kingdom.
Her public sector work has involved overseeing major infrastructure and master planning projects for the New York metropolitan region, including the development of energy, telecommunications and waste plans in cooperation with community, environmental, business and other advocacy groups. She has also been responsible for navigating and completing a series of major waterfront redevelopment projects in New York and New Jersey.
She is also the author of several books on public infrastructure and the delivery of municipal services including The Works: Anatomy of a City (Penguin, 2007).
She joined the Board of the LafargeHolcim Foundation in January 2020.