John Rahaim

Design Critic in Urban Planning and Design

John Rahaim is an urban designer and city planner.  He was the Planning Director for the City of San Francisco Planning for twelve years, the longest contiguous tenure of any Planning Director in the city’s history.  During his tenure, the Planning Department was a key player in managing the city’s dramatic changes, accommodating the most growth the city had seen in nearly a century.  21C San Francisco has also become the country’s poster child for the possibilities — and challenges — of a new era of urban growth.  The city exemplifies what Mr. Rahaim believes is the primary urban issues of our time.

Mr. Rahaim was born raised in Detroit, Michigan and is a first generation Lebanese American.  He received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Architecture (with an emphasis on urban design) from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

With 30 years of work in three planning agencies — Pittsburgh, Seattle and San Francisco – Mr. Rahaim’s work is now guided by the belief that cities can grow sustainably, gracefully, and without displacement.