Board Members

Board Members


ALIYE P. CELIK, Chair, CSU Board














Lance Jay Brown, President & Founding Board Member

Lance Jay Brown is President and founding Board Member of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization (UN NGO). Born in Brooklyn, Brown previously taught at Princeton, was educated at the Cooper Union and Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) and former Chair and Director of the Spitzer School of Architecture, City University. He was 2014 President of the AIA New York Chapter, holds the title of Distinguished Professor for Life Emeritus from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), and received the coveted AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. He co-founded the AIA Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee. He was a UN-HABITAT III Policy Unit 8 member and 2016 Quito presenter. Prof. Brown was a two-term Board Member of the Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation and a founding Advisory Board Member of both the NYC Architecture Biennial and International Nighttime Design Initiative. He holds an M.Arch and M.UD from Harvard and was a Paris Fulbright Fellow. Publications include: Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space; The Legacy Project: New Housing New York; Urban Design for an Urban Century, co-authored ed I and II. He presented at the UN World Habitat Forums 5,7.9, and 10 and consults, teaches, and lectures nationally and internationally.


Aliye P. Celik, Chair, CSU Board & Founding Board Member

Aliye Pekin Celik, PhD, is immediate past President of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization (CSU). Prior to founding the CSU, Ms. Celik was instrumental in establishing innovative participatory mechanisms to build alliances addressing some of the world’s most pressing concerns in developing countries as the Chief of Economic, Social and Inter-organizational Cooperation Branch, UNDESA. She started the book series on the High Level Segment of Economic and Social Council, and worked on the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Countries Emerging from Conflicts. As the Head of New York office of UN-HABITAT, she directed preparations for the HABITAT II Conference in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996. She served UN-HABITAT Nairobi and New York, working on building technologies, sustainable urbanization, energy, and gender issues. As a principal researcher in the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey, Building Research Institute, and the Ministry of Construction and Resettlement and adviser to the State Planning Department, she worked on energy conservation and affordable housing. She has degrees in architecture from Middle East Technical University, Princeton University, and a PhD from Istanbul Technical University. Celik was a Fulbright Scholar and received numerous awards from OECD (1972), Princeton University (1979), AIANY (2009, 1997, 1970), and Soroptimist International NYC (2005), where she served as President from 2008 to 2010.


Rick Bell

Fredric (Rick) Bell is Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University where he also serves as Deputy Director of the Center for Buildings, Infrastructure and Public Space. He has also taught at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark. Rick is a registered architect in New York and New Jersey and previously served as Executive Director of Design and Construction Excellence at the New York City Department of Design and Construction. At DDC he was also Chief Architect and Assistant Commissioner of Architecture and Engineering. On leave from DDC, Rick served as Executive Director of the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects where he helped establish and animate the Center for Architecture on LaGuardia Place. After architectural studies at Yale and Columbia, he worked in offices in New York, France, and Switzerland. He has been an invited member of many juries at architecture schools in the US and for many architectural design competitions. A frequent lecturer at AIA, UIA, and other design conferences, he was on the advisory board of the inaugural NYC Architecture Biennial in 2020. Apart from his role on the CSU executive committee, Rick currently serves on the board of the Creative Exchange Lab and is a Commissioner of the Summit Environmental Commission. He is a member of the AIA, the Architectural League, the Urban Design Forum, and nycoba|NOMA. A Fellow of the AIA, Rick is also a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, conferred by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.


Gernot Riether

Gernot Riether is the Director of the School of Architecture and Associate Professor at the College of Architecture and Design at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He serves on the Board of Directors at ACADIA, Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture. Riether previously taught at Kennesaw State University, Ball State University, ENSA Paris La Villette, Georgia Tech, NYIT and Barnard College at Columbia University and is lecturing internationally. In his research he and his students are testing new novel computer controlled fabrication and manufacturing methods. Projects from his Digital Design Build Studio won architecture competitions, were presented at international venues such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, were featured in books on digital design and fabrication and were published in prominent publications such as Architectural Record and DETAIL. Riether’s research studio has been funded by the AIA, the Austrian government, non-profit organizations such as MainX24, material fabricators, the construction industry and universities. His forthcoming book, Urban Machines, co-authored with Associate Professor Marcella Del Signore, explores the relationship between public urban spaces and information technology. Riether received a DI from the University of Innsbruck, Austria and a MS from Columbia University.



As Vice President of Marketing, Emmanuelle is responsible for developing and driving the strategies, tools and communications needed to effectively convey the core values and principles of The Durst Organization’s brand in support of its business objectives. Emmanuelle has more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of new business strategy and marketing management, including branding, public relations, innovation, architecture, and real estate development. Prior to joining The Durst Organization, Emmanuelle served as a Principal and the Director of Strategy for CetraRuddy Architecture, where she led the 100-person, award-winning firm’s growth trajectory into new markets. Emmanuelle was also previously Vice President at The Seventh Art creative agency, where was responsible for marketing The Durst Organization’s One Bryant Park, among other high-profile luxury and sustainable real estate and hospitality projects. Emmanuelle holds a Master in Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University, is a LEED accredited professional, is fluent in five languages, and has taught International Marketing at Parson’s School of Design in New York. She is currently on the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) NY Management Committee as the Vice Chair of Membership after co-chairing the ULI’s Women’s Leadership Initiative Membership Subcommittee. She also sits on the Board of the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization, an organization affiliated with UN Habitat, which promotes a better understanding of the role of sustainable urbanization and resilient design.


H. Oner Yurtseven, Treasurer

H. Oner Yurtseven, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He served as Director, Department Chair, Associate Dean and Dean at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI before retiring in 2011. His areas of expertise are engineering and technology education, engineering accreditation, international engineering education, robotics, and renewable photovoltaic energy. He served as consultant for a number of United Nations Development Program projects; and held academic and administrative positions at The Middle East Technical University, Indiana University, and Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). For two years, he was Provost of the Indiana University- Tenaga Nasional Berhad Cooperative Program, which initiated US model engineering programs in Malaysia. He currently serves as board member for Electricore, director/board member for EarthSolar Technologies Corporation, and engineering program evaluator for Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). He received BS in Electrical Engineering from the Middle East Technical University, Turkey, and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the John Hopkins University in Baltimore where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He also worked as a member of the technical staff for the Computer Science Corporation at NASA Goddard Space Center, Maryland.


Theodore Liebman, Vice-President

Theodore Liebman, FAIA, is a Principal at Perkins Eastman and a leading expert in the planning and design of large-scale urban housing and mixed-use projects. Over the past 50 years, Liebman focused on issues of housing, lifestyle, and culture in the urban environment. He was Chief of Architecture at the New York State Urban Development Corporation (1971-75) and Chief of Architecture for Roosevelt Island (1973-75). From 1975-77, he was architectural/urban design advisor to the Harvard Institute for International Development in Tehran, Iran.  He was a founding partner of The Liebman Melting Partnership (TLMP), focusing on affordable housing and neighborhood development until 2007. Liebman served as 1984 President of the AIA NY Chapter, received the Andrew J. Thomas Pioneer in Housing Award (1988), and gave the Ratensky Lecture ( 2005), honoring individuals who made significant lifetime contributions for advancement of housing and community design. He is Adjunct Professor at NYU’s Urban Design/ Architecture Studies program; lectured extensively and served on architectural juries in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America.  He received a B.Arch. Pratt Institute, M.Arch. Harvard University GSD, the Rome Prize Fellowship in Architecture; and the Wheelwright Travelling Fellowship in Architecture from Harvard. Liebman attended Habitat I & II and represented CSU at Habitat III


Antonieta Castro-Cosio, PhD

Born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Dr. Castro-Cosío is a Senior Behavioral Researcher at Duke University’s Center for Advanced Hindsight, at its Common Cents Lab. She is also an Urban Design Forum Fellow, board of the Urban Resilience Research Network, and a board member at the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanization. She spent almost ten years in New York City, first pursuing her doctoral degree looking at ways that low- and moderate-income urban communities respond to financial challenges using ‘informal’ financial mechanisms, and later as a Research Associate at the policy evaluation firm, MDRC, and as a consultant for a private investment firm. Prior to that, she set up and managed a sustainable development cooperation program at the British Embassy in Mexico City. She holds a PhD. in Public and Urban Policy from the New School for Social Research and MSc. in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science.


Nicholas Hamilton, Secretary

Nicholas Hamilton is an urbanist experienced in launching and leading a diverse set of urban equity and sustainability initiatives, from a national network to revitalize America’s legacy cities to founding the NYC-Metro Urban Sustainability Meetup. Prior to launching his consulting practice, he previously served as Director of Urban Policy at Columbia University’s bipartisan policy institute, The American Assembly, as an architectural and urban designer at the firm Davis Brody Bond, and as an affordable housing provider in the Bay Area. He holds a Master of International Affairs from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University and Bachelors from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied Architecture, Planning, and Environmental Design in Developing Countries. He was selected as a Next City Vanguard in 2013 and currently serves on Next City's Vanguard Committee.


Danei Cesario

Danei is the 333rd Black woman in American history to earn her architectural license. She is an internationally licensed architect, project manager, + public speaker. She is currently an Associate at SOM, leading dynamic mixed-use development, healthcare + wellness projects. Her aptitude for managing the execution of multifaceted healthcare projects has led to broad system-wide improvements, as well as highly detailed technical spaces. Danei’s passion for architecture and advocacy has led her to becoming a champion for design professionals and a sought-after speaker. Her experience working in diverse, global environments has yielded speaking engagements at numerous conferences and private sector events, including the United Nations, SXSW, Royal Institute of British Architects, AIA National Conference and the New York Building Congress. She served as Chair of AIA New York’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee for over five years. She currently serves on the AIA New York State Board and as a contributor/ ambassador to national and international organizations such as the United Nations, the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, Parlour, Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and nycobaNOMA Executive Board. As a core member of these groups, Danei is dedicated to fostering Mentorship, Sponsorship and Leadership among the diverse design community as they navigate their careers within architecture and beyond. She founded WALLEN + daub to expand on these principles.


Axumite Gebre-Egziabher

Axumite Gebre-Egziabher is a Steering Committee Member and senior adviser at New World Programme, Global Water Challenge, Ethiopia. With over thirty-five years proven track record of leadership, management, and normative and operational experience in the United Nations, the private sector and government. Axumite has held senior level leadership positions and has significant experience in sustainable urban development and housing, including: policy and strategy formulation; strategic planning and co-ordination; technical cooperation in programme/project design, development, monitoring and evaluation; resource mobilization; designing and conducting policy and action-oriented research. Before Global water Challenge, Axumite worked for UNHabitat as the Regional Director for Africa, Director, Global Division Director NY Office. Prior to joining UN Habitat, she worked for the Ethiopian Civil service in the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Addis Ababa. Axumit got her PhD at UCL and a Master’s degree at Uniwersytet im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu; and her Bachelor’s Degree in Addis Ababa University.


Gizem Karagoz

Gizem Karagoz is a graduate student at Columbia University GSAPP pursuing a Masters of Architecture and Masters of Science in Urban Planning. Her research explores questions of informality, equity and resiliency in the built environment, with a focus on developing participatory design and planning strategies. Her previous research spans across scales, including a climate vulnerability analysis of New York City census tracts based on environmental and social risk factors, as well as, examining the links between labor, architecture and global networks with the Who Builds Your Architecture (WBYA?) coalition. She has also contributed to a UN-Habitat publication aimed to assist municipal governments with developing accessible, equitable and sustainable public space strategies. Prior to graduate school, Gizem worked with several New York based architecture practices including Bernard Tschumi Architects and GRO Architects. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Environmental Science from Barnard College, and currently serves as a Youth Representative for CSU.


Anna Rubbo

Prior to joining the Center for Sustainable Urban Development (CSUD) in the Climate School, Columbia University, Anna Rubbo, LFAIA, taught Architecture at the University of Sydney. A member of the UN Millennium Project Task Force (2002-04) on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers, she went on to lead the Global Studio (2005-12), an action research project with a social justice agenda to promote a ‘people as partners’ model for urban professionals. In 2012 she headed up People Building Better Cities, an exhibition shown in 18 cities and 10 countries to encourage debate on inclusive urbanization. Her recent project, the Local Project Challenge, profiles 111 SDGs oriented projects from the professions, education, and civil society. A member of the UIA23 Scientific Committee, and co-chair of ‘Design for Resilient Communities’ she is also an advisor to U-T Dublin on their new sustainability curricula. Publications cover design education, women in development, the SDGs and the design professions, and pioneering architect Marion Mahony Griffin. A co-founder of the journal Architectural Theory Review, she has been a regular presenter at the World Urban Forum since 2006. Recognition includes: Vassilis Sgoutas Prize mention for humanitarian work in education (2014); Australian Architectural Education Award (2011); 2009 Skandalaris Award for Entrepreneurship in Design; Marion Mahony Griffin Prize (2006).