Chief of University Planning and Design
Purnima Kapur is Harvard University’s Chief of University Planning and Design, and head of the Harvard University Planning and Design (HUPAD). In this role she oversees all planning, design and regulatory approvals across all of Harvard’s real estate holdings. HUPAD consists of three units: Campus Planning, focused on working with the schools and central units on institutional planning, connectivity, sustainability, resiliency and design excellence within institutional campus; HUPAD’s Urban Districts Initiatives team focuses on long-term transformative scale mixed-use projects that straddle Harvard’s institutional campus in Allston, Longwood, and Cambridge; and significant as well as major performative infrastructure and significant new public realm projects; and the Planning Resources team supports planning, design, and management with information related to Harvard’s campuses and surrounding areas in three key areas: land and building archival records, geographic information, and interior space information management.
Purnima brings more than 25 years of experience in the New York City Planning Department, culminating with her appointment by Mayor Bill de Blasio as the Executive Director of the City Planning Department, where she oversaw all land use planning and policies for the City of New York’s neighborhood planning studies, economic development, and resiliency initiatives. Over the years, Purnima has also provided consulting services on projects in New York City, the United Kingdom, Australia, and closer to home, to Harvard’s Allston planning activities. Purnima served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University where she taught courses in zoning, planning, affordable housing, resiliency, and waterfront development. She is also a visiting faculty member at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.
Purnima serves on the Board of the Hudson River Park Trust in New York, as well as on the Skyscraper Museum Board. She has received several awards throughout her career including a Mayoral Citation for her service to New York City, Building Brooklyn Award by the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Award by the Zoning Advisory Council of New York, and New York Power Women 2018 Award by Bisnow among others.
Purnima holds a Master’s in City Planning and Architecture Studies and a Master of Science of Architecture Studies from MIT. She also holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture Delhi.
Ms. Kapur is trained as an architect and a city planner, with dual Masters degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Bachelor of Architecture degree from School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi.