Point/Line/Plane: Transit-Oriented Development in the Nation's Capital


Case Studies in Urban Development Symposium, 2009

"Point/Line/Plane: Transit-Oriented Development in the Nation’s Capital," examines the sustainable and green revitalization of the NoMa neighborhood in Washington, DC. Speaking at the conference are the major participants in the development effort including Harriet Tregoning, director of planning for Washington, DC; James Curtis, managing partner, Bristol Group; Liz Price, president of NoMa Business Improvement District; and Rustom Cowasjee ’80, managing director of design and construction for Tishman Speyer's Washington, DC, office.

The keynote address will be given by Michael Sorkin, distinguished professor of architecture and director of the graduate program in urban design at the City College of New York. "Point/Line/Plane" is the fourth in the annual Case Studies in Urban Development series that examines the multidisciplinary aspects of large-scale urban development both domestically and internationally.

This conference is made possible by the generous support of Matthew L. Witte '79. Sponsored by AAP and the Program in Real Estate.

Background on NoMA

NoMa is a rapidly developing neighborhood in Washington, DC, bound by Massachusetts Avenue to the south, Union Station to the east, North Capitol Street to the west, and New York Avenue to the north. The NoMa neighborhood is already home to the headquarters of CNN; XM Satellite Radio; CareFirst; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and the Department of Education. The newly opened Red Line Metro Station expands the NoMa neighborhood’s abundant people-moving options and solidifies its place as one of the most exciting redevelopment areas in the District of Columbia.

In March 2007, the District of Columbia City Council created and the mayor approved the NoMa Business Improvement District. The BID supports the emergence of NoMa as one of the District's most exciting mixed-use neighborhoods. Through a special assessment collected from property owners in a 35-block area, the BID is helping to make NoMa safe, clean, and attractive for businesses, residents, and visitors. Its main tasks include:

  • Providing cleaning and safety services
  • Promoting NoMa through marketing and community events
  • Coordinating public and private investments and services
  • Enhancing the community by promoting employment and community projects with NoMa neighbors.

The BID is governed by a board of directors comprised of nine property and business owners. The BID’s 2008 fiscal year budget is approximately $1.3 million and is funded by an assessment that applies to commercial property (including land and parking lots), residences of 10 or more units and hotels.


Friday, March 27, 2009

All lectures take place in Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall.

Keynote Address

Michael Sorkin, professor of architecture and director of the graduate program in urban design at the City College of New York

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Framing NoMa

  • Harriet Tregoning, director of the Washington, DC, Office of Planning
  • James Curtis, managing partner, Bristol Group
  • Elizabeth Price, president, NoMa Business Improvement District 

Shaping NoMa

  • Rustom Cowasjee, managing director, design and construction, Tishman Speyer
  • Mark Sexton, principal, Krueck & Sexton Architects
  • David Batchelor, artist

Roundtable Discussion


Michael Sorkin

Michael Sorkin is distinguished professor of architecture and director of the graduate program in urban design at the City College of New York. From 1993 to 2000 he was Professor and Director of the Institute for Urbanism at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Sorkin's long academic career has also included professorships at Cooper Union, Harvard, Yale (holder of the Davenport and Bishop chairs), Cornell (Gensler Chari) Columbia, Pennsylvania, Texas, Minnesota, Illinois. Michigan (Saarinen Chair), Nebraska (Hyde Chair). Sorkin lectures widely and is the author of several hundred articles on architectural and urban subjects. For ten years he was the architectural critic of the Village Voice and is currently contributing editor for Architectural Record. His books include Variations on a Theme Park, Exquisite Corpse, Giving Ground (edited with Joan Copjec), Wiggle, Local Code, Some Assembly Required, The Next Jerusalem, After the World Trade Center (edited with Sharon Zukin), Starting from Zero, Against the Wall, and Indefensible Space. Forthcoming are Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, Eutopia, All Over the Map, and Project New Orleans. Sorkin is also President of Terreform, a nonprofit engaged in urban research and advocacy and President of The Institute for Urban Design.

David Batchelor

David Batchelor is an artist and writer based in London. Batchelor’s work comprises three-dimensional structures, photographs, and drawings, and mostly relate to a long term interest in color and urbanism. Recent exhibitions include Backlights, Galeria Leme, Sao Paulo, (2008); Color Chart, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008); Unplugged, Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2007);  Extreme Abstraction, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York (2005); Shiny Dirty at Ikon Gallery Birmingham (2004), the 26th Bienal De Sao Paulo (2004);  Days Like These: Tate Britain Triennial of Contemporary Art, Tate Britain, London (2003). Chromophobia, Batchelor’s book on color and the fear of color in the West, was published by Reaktion Books, London, in 2000 and is now available in eight languages. Colour (2008), an anthology of writings on color from 1850 to the present, edited by Batchelor, is published by Whitechapel, London and MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. David Batchelor is represented by the Wilkinson Gallery, London; Galeria Leme, Sao Paulo; and is a senior tutor at the Royal College of Art, London. He studied fine art at Trent Polytechnic, Nottingham and cultural theory at Birmingham University.

Rustom Cowasjee '80

Rustom Cowasjee '80 is managing director of design and construction for Tishman Speyer. Cowasjee is responsible for the design and construction coordination and implementation between Tishman Speyer’s New York office and its operations in India. Since joining Tishman Speyer in 1999, he has been responsible for the design and construction of the company’s projects in Northern Virginia, District of Columbia, Chicago, and Boston. He has held leadership roles in the development of Woodland Park and all the buildings within that development as well as 1099 New York Ave, the NOMA project and One Metro Center. Prior to joining Tishman Speyer, Cowasjee worked for London and Leeds Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Hilton Group Plc., and was responsible for the design and construction of the commercial office building portfolio and the Hilton International Hotels in the Americas, including hotels in Canada, the Caribbean and South America. Cowasjee also worked as a designer for I.M. Pei & Partners in New York for eight years. Cowasjee graduated from College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University with a  bachelor of architecture and earned a master of architecture and urban design from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University in 1982.

James J. Curtis III

James J. Curtis III is managing partner and a founder of Bristol Group, Inc. Bristol Group is a leading investor, developer, and operator of industrial properties with a successful 30-year history in a wide variety of innovative real estate related value add opportunities.  The firm has created, acquired, and performed work outs on over 22,000,000 square feet of space and over 2,500 acres of urban and suburban land. Curtis is a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), Counselors of Real Estate, Lambda Alpha and the Wisconsin Real Estate Advisory Board. He has been a Trustee of the Urban Land Institute since 1996 and serves on the executive committee of the ULI Foundation. Curtis also serves as a Trustee for the Foundation of Counselors of Real Estate. He is a lifetime member of the James A. Graaskamp Center for Real Estate at the University of Wisconsin and is a former board member of the Stephen Hawk Center for Applied Securities at the University of Wisconsin. Curtis was co-founder of the University of Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association and U.W. Applied Real Estate Securities Program. He received the 1997 Graaskamp Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin Business School. In 2006 the ULI/Curtis Regional Infrastructure Project was initiated through the support of Curtis and the Rockefeller Foundation. The project seeks to improve infrastructure decision making by linking land use with regional transportation and responsible, sustainable development considerations. In 2008 Curtis received the prestigious Landauer/White Lifetime Achievement Award from The Counselors of Real Estate. The award honors individuals for their professional contributions to the real estate industry, commitment to community service and thought leadership. Curtis holds a master of science degree in real estate and urban land economics from University of Wisconsin and a bachelor of science degree in finance and economics from Marquette University.

Elizabeth Price

Elizabeth Price is president of the NoMa Business Improvement District. Prior to joining the NoMa BID, Price was actively involved for several years in the revitalization of the Anacostia Waterfront. As a vice president of the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, she oversaw the national search for a development partner for the Southwest Waterfront, a 50-acre, 2 million square foot mixed use redevelopment project. While serving under the deputy mayor for planning and economic development, Price worked on public financing negotiations and oversaw several waterfront projects including the pre-development planning for Hilleast, a 65-acre redevelopment of a former hospital and government campus. As a development manager at the National Capital Revitalization Corporation she oversaw planning, acquisitions, leasing, and business operations for the Southwest Waterfront. At the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Price served as a special assistant to the deputy assistant secretary responsible for the HOPE VI program, a $4 billion Federal grant program that redevelops severely distressed public housing projects into mixed income communities. Price received a bachelor degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a master’s degree in public and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.

Mark Sexton

Mark Sexton is a founding partner of Krueck & Sexton Architects and, along with Ronald Krueck, designs and manages all of the firm’s work. Sexton is responsible for the development and execution of design ideas, and for the coordination of project teams. His dedication to craftsmanship, material, and detail enables the firm’s built work to express the values of modern design with a timeless quality. Prior to starting Krueck & Sexton in 1991, Sexton worked at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Danforth Rockwell Carow, and Krueck & Olsen Architects. Sexton has served on numerous juries including serving as the jury chairman for the National AIA Honor Awards for Interior Architecture. His publications include Krueck & Sexton: Work in Progress (1997) and Spertus Institute: A Study in Light by Krueck & Sexton (2008). Sexton received his bachelor of architecture from Illinois Institute of Technology.

Harriet Tregoning

Harriet Tregoning is the director of Washington, DC’s Office of Planning, where she works to make DC a walkable, bikeable, vibrant, eminently livable, globally competitive, and sustainable city. Previously, she was the director of the Governors’ Institute on Community Design and cofounder, with former Maryland governor Parries Gleaned, and executive director of the Smart Growth Leadership Institute. Tregoning developed her expertise in state-level action in the state of Maryland where she served under Governor Gleaned as both secretary of planning and as the nations' first state-level cabinet secretary for smart growth. Prior to her tenure in Maryland state government, Tregoning was the director of development, community, and environment at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Tregoning's academic training is in engineering and public policy. She was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design 2003–04.