Hillary Brown, AIA

HIllary BrownHillary Brown, AIA, is a principal with the firm of New Civic Works, consulting with governments and institutions to help mainstream green building practices. Previously, Hillary was the founding director of the City of New York’s Office of Sustainable Design where she was an Assistant Commissioner in the Department of Design. Her office facilitated over a dozen green public works projects, developing sustainable design policy, and performing education and outreach. Her office produced NYC’s High Performance Building Guidelines, recognized for its comprehensive approach to green building practices. Prior to this appointment, she served for seven years as the agency’s director of design.

Ms. Brown has been on the national Board of Directors for the U.S. Green Building Council, and is now Vice Chair of the Board of the New York Regional Chapter. She currently teaches courses in sustainable design at Columbia University, School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and Princeton University School of Architecture. She is also Affiliated Faculty with Bard College, Center for Environmental Policy.

In 1999, Ms. Brown was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where she organized a major public symposium (co-sponsored by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the School of Public Health) called Building Green: smart places for the public realm. In 2000, she received the NY Chapter of the American Institute of Architect’s Public Architect Award for “creating an institutional platform for policy development that serves as a national model to encourage environmental stewardship in quality design.” In spring 2001, she was a Bosch Public Policy Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin examining green building practices in Germany.

Work as CIUS Fellow

As the newest CIUS fellow, Ms. Brown has embarked on a special project to study how municipalities might broaden the definition of sustainable design and construction – from buildings to other components of urban infrastructure. This project has been initiated by the Design Trust for Public Space, in creative partnership with NYC’s Department of Design and Construction and CIUS . Environmental performance objectives will be introduced into street/ sidewalk/ and infrastructure design of new public right-of-way for a development in Brooklyn. The goal of this research and pilot project will be to ensure that to the greatest extent possible, infrastructure investment incorporates sustainable design criteria in addition to the traditional goals of longevity, aesthetics, functionality and economy. Practices being emphasized will likely include reducing storm water run-off, reducing the ‘embodied energy’ of materials, increasing recycled content, eliminating use of toxic materials in infrastructure components, and reducing the ‘urban heat island’ effect. It is hoped that this project can begin to demonstrate ways that improved infrastructure investment can improve public health, reduce detrimental impacts of air, soil and water pollution, serve multiple functions where possible, and instruct citizens about functional and aesthetic connections between the city and the natural resources that sustain it.

© 2012 CUNY Institute for Urban Systems