Jerold S. Kayden

Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design

Founding Director, Master in Real Estate Program

Jerold S. Kayden is the Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Founding Director of the Master in Real Estate Program. He previously served as co-chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design and director of the Urban Planning Program. His teaching and scholarship address issues of land use and environmental law, public and private development in cities, public space, urban disasters and climate change, and design competitions. His books include Privately Owned Public Space:The New York City Experience; Urban Disaster Resilience:New Dimensions from International Practice in the Built Environment; Landmark Justice:The Influence of William J. Brennan on America’s Communities; and Zoning and the American Dream:Promises Still To Keep.

As an urban planner and lawyer, Professor Kayden has advised governments, non-governmental organizations, and private and public real estate developers in the United States and around the world. He has argued court cases, authored or co-authored amicus briefs in United States Supreme Court cases, and served as expert witness. He has drafted zoning laws for various U. S. cities on inclusionary housing and privately owned public spaces. On international work, he has consulted widely for such institutions as the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the United States Agency for International Development, and the United Nations Development Programme, working principally in Armenia, China, Nepal, Russia, and Ukraine on drafting and implementing land use, real estate, and housing laws. Since 1991, he has served as principal constitutional counsel to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C. He leads Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space, a non-profit organization he founded based in New York City. From 2009 to 2011, he was Principal Investigator for the Harvard-Netherlands Project on Climate Change, Water, Land Development, and Adaptation, a collaborative project between Harvard, the Dutch Government, and the Deltares Institute.

Among Professor Kayden’s honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship, multiple fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and awards from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, the American Bar Association, the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Environmental Design Research Association. At the Design School, he was recognized schoolwide as “Teacher of the Year.” Professor Kayden earned his undergraduate, law, and city and regional planning degrees from Harvard and subsequently was law clerk to Judge James L. Oakes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Frank Backus Williams Professor of Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University was established in 1957 from a bequest from Frank Backus Williams, a prominent New York City lawyer who played a significant role in creating the 1916 New York City zoning resolution, the first comprehensive zoning law in the United States. Among many publications, he wrote The Law of City Planning and Zoning (Macmillan, 1922) and co-wrote Model Laws for Planning Cities, Counties, and States (Harvard University Press, 1935). Professor Kayden is the sixth holder of the chair. Previous holders include Martin Meyerson (1957), followed by Charles Abrams, Fernando Belaunde Terry, Brian Berry, and William Doebele.


  • Today’s Global

    Edited by Sarah M. Whiting and Rahul Mehrotra
    Remment Koolhaas, Malkit Shoshan, Bryan Lee, Mark Lee, Christopher C.M. Lee, Ron Witte, Farshid Moussavi, Jerold S. Kayden and Jennifer Newsom, Contributors

    May 2022

  • America

    By Mark Lee, Jerold S. Kayden, Jennifer Bonner, K. Michael Hays, Edward Eigen, Mack Scogin, Max Kuo, Sharon Johnston, Rahul Mehrotra, Kersten Geers, David Van Severen, Sean Canty, Michael Van Valkenburgh and Victor Jones

    February 2021