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180 Varick Street, Suite 1220
New York, NY, 10014



Terreform is a collaborative group of designers, social scientists, and urban researchers with experience in academia, private practice, public interest organizations, government and community activism. 

Michael Sorkin, President, is an architect and urbanist whose practice spans design, criticism, and pedagogy. Since 2000, Sorkin has been Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at City College of New York. He is the architecture critic for The Nation, contributing editor at Architectural Record, and author or editor of twenty books. Sorkin is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the recipient of the 2013 Cooper-Hewitt National Design Mind Award, and is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow. He is also Principal of Michael Sorkin Studio, an international design practice that works in close collaboration with Terreform.  

Vyjayanthi V. Rao, PhD, Co-director, is an anthropologist by training. Prior to joining Terreform, she held research and teaching positions at The New School for Social Research and at University of Chicago, where she also received her doctorate. From 2002 to 2004 she served as the Research Director of the Initiative on Cities and Globalization, Yale University, and as the Co-Director of Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research (PUKAR), an innovative urban laboratory in Mumbai, India. Her current work focuses on cities after globalization, specifically on intersections of urban planning, design, art, violence, and speculation. She authored many articles on these topics in noted journals, the co-editor of Speculation, Now: Essays and Artwork (Duke University Press, 2015) and is completing a manuscript on the spatial transformation of Mumbai. []

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Deen Sharp, Co-director, based in London and New York, is a geographer and a doctoral candidate in the Earth and Environmental Science program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the co-editor of Beyond the Square: Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings (Urban Research, 2016). His current doctoral project concerns the joint-stock corporation and urban space in Lebanon. His work has been featured in a number of publications, including, JadaliyyaPortal 9Arab Studies Journal and the Guardian. Previously, he was a freelance journalist and consultant based in Lebanon and has worked for several UN agencies, including UNDP and UN-Habitat, governments and international NGOs. []

Maria Cecilia Fagel, Executive Editor, is an architecture/urban researcher, critic, and writer. She has a BArch from the University of San Carlos — Technological Center, Cebu, a BBA in Design Management from Parsons, The New School for Design, and a MFA in Design Criticism from the School of Visual Arts. Prior to Terreform, she was a market research analyst for the New York City-based Advisor to Dentsu Japan. Her work was published in Architect’s Newspaper, Verlag form GmbH & Co. KG, and by Cooper-Hewitt’s DesignFile. []


Andrea Johnson, Research Director, coordinates numerous publications and collaborates on design research projects. Andrea has worked with Diana Wiesner Architecture and Landscape, the Bogotá Mountain Foundation, and Urban Think Tank. She is a graduate of the Master of Landscape Architecture program at The City College of New York where she has also taught Digital Representation. In 2015, she was named a National Olmsted Scholar Finalist. Prior to her landscape studies, Andrea provided immigration legal services in NYC and assisted women to start small businesses in Puerto Rico. []

Isaac Gertman, Design Director, is a graphic designer and educator. He leads design direction at The Independent Group, and is a member of the full-faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). He previously taught at Parsons, The New School for Design; City College, in the Graduate Department of Landscape Architecture; and Rhode Island School of Design. In 2014, he was named a Public Access Design Fellow by the Center for Urban Pedagogy and was Design Fellow of the Wassaic Project (2013–2014). His work has been recognized by the American Institute of Graphic Arts and the Society of Publication Designers, and has been featured in numerous books and blogs. His writing has appeared in Print magazine, Step magazine, Design Bureau, and the design blog SpeakUp. Isaac received an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a BFA from MICA.

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Luoyi Yin, Director (China Studio), is an architect, urban designer, and a current PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. Luoyi has over ten years of professional experience in architectural and urban design. He previously received a Master of Architecture Design from Columbia University (2008), and a Bachelor of Architecture Design from Tianjin University (2007). His current research focuses on urban regenerative design and sustainable urban form. 

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Nic Cavell, Senior Editor, is translating and editing the forthcoming UR book, Letters to the Leaders of China: Kongjian Yu and the Future of the Chinese City, working on our Open Gaza project, and contributing as a member of the Steady State team. He is a graduate of Brown University. []


Hilary Huckins-Weidner, Editor and Program Coordinator, contributes development and program planning support to Terreform. She is also working on the forthcoming UR book, Gregory Ain: Low-Cost Modern Housing and the Construction of a Social Landscape. Her personal work—which varies from writing, editing, art, and curating—explores representations of gender, space, and architecture in contemporary media. She is a graduate of The California Institute of the Arts. []

Damiano Cerrone, Principal Researcher, is a spatial planner and analyst with a BA in Urban Planning and Geographic Information Systems from La Sapienza University, Rome. He also holds a MSc in Urban Studies from the Estonian Academy of Arts, and currently is in its doctorate track in architecture and planning. In 2013, he co-founded SPIN Unit, a transnational urban planning research group. Damiano is a member of ESRI’s Young Professional Network and received the 2015 ESRI Young Scholar of the Year award. At Terreform, Damiano is working on the spatial visualization and analysis of the Gaza site for forthcoming UR book, Open Gaza.

Vineet Diwadkar, Principal Researcher, is a designer and urban planner. He is co-author of the forthcoming UR book, 50 Ways to Game a City: Loophole Planning in Contemporary Mumbai. He is also co-editor of "Planning for Conservation”, and led research and production teams for Harvard’s three-year project Kumbh Mela: Mapping the Ephemeral Megaci. Also at Harvard, he was a research associate with the Urban South Asia Project and Urban Theory Lab, and a community-based planner and faculty member at the National Institute of Design. Vineet received a MA in Urban Planning and in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a BArch from Georgia Tech. 

Aysegül Didem Özdemir PhD, Principal Researcher, is an urban planner with a doctoral degree in urban design from Istanbul Technical University and an MA in Urban Design from the City University of New York. She also holds a BA in City Planning and MA in Urban Conservation from Mimar Sinan University. For close to a decade, Didem worked as project coordinator at the Urban Design Group of the Metropolitan Planning and Urban Design Center of the Metropolitan Municipality of Istanbul. Didem is currently Terreform’s head researcher for the New York City (Steady) State project, Waste Not.     



Terreform works also closely with Michael Sorkin Studio whose members donate their time and skills to its projects. 

Makoto Okazaki is Partner and Principal Architect at Michael Sorkin Studio. Born and raised in Kobe, Japan, he has twenty-five years of experience in architecture, urban design, and construction management, with an architectural license approved by the Japanese Ministry of Construction (1995). He also holds a Masters in Urban Planning degree from the City College of New York. Makoto is devoted to both practical and theoretical projects at all scales, with a special interest in the city and green architecture. 

Ying Liu is an architectural designer at Michael Sorkin Studio and a LEED Green Associate. Originally from Liaoning, China, she holds a BArch degree from Tianjian University and an MArch from University of Southern California. Her graduate research work was included in the article, “Termite Urbanism,” published by AD (Architecture Design). 

Jie Gu is an urban designer at Michael Sorkin Studio. He has over ten years of working experience in architecture and urban design. Previously, he was middle senior architect at AECOM and the Beijing Institute of Architectural Design. Jie holds a Master of Urban Design degree from The City College of New York and a Masters degree in Urban Environmental Design from Beijing University. 




Supriya Ambwani is a senior in the Dual BA Program between Columbia University and Sciences Po Paris. At Columbia, she is majoring in Urban Studies with a specialization in Environmental Biology; at Sciences Po, she studied the social sciences with a focus on economics. Originally from New Delhi, India, Supriya lived in Le Havre, France, for two years before coming to New York last year. At Terreform, she is working on New York City (Steady) State. []


Sofia Butnaru is a student at the University of Chicago majoring in Sociology and minoring in Architectural Studies. Her work focuses on how political ideologies and collective consciousness are manifested in the built environment. She is currently writing her thesis on the spatial transformation of Caracas, Venezuela during Hugo Chavez’s Presidency. She also studies informality in Latin American Cities and Latin American architecture. At Terreform, Sofia is working on South Side Stories and an independent project studying the architecture of the Bolivarian Revolution. []


Grace Lee is a third year undergraduate at the University of Chicago double majoring in Art History and Public Policy with a focus on 20th century American architecture history and urban policy. During the academic year, she works as an urbanism research assistant, and volunteers for the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Grace is originally from Chicago by way of Beijing and Princeton, New Jersey. At Terreform, she is working on the South Side Stories project, studying the incoming Obama Presidential Center's impact on surrounding neighborhoods, and New York City (Steady) State. []



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