While some students were enjoying the fun and maybe even some sun over spring break, Akiko Mori, an MPM student, was visiting New York City to interview an eminent urban designer, Mr. Alexandros Washburn, for her Capstone Project. Washburn is the Director of Urban Design for New York’s Department of City Planning. Akiko is writing her Capstone paper on strategic planning in Tokyo, where she is a government official. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) sponsors students each year to study in the MPM Program at GPPI.

In studying ways to improve planning in the TMG, Mori discovered that New York is doing some innovative work in many policy arenas—including public-private partnerships like the Highline. Other officials representing Japanese local government and based in NYC were also interested in learning from the NYC example, and asked to accompany Akiko to the interview with Washburn (shown in picture). These officials have been studying plaNYC , which is the blueprint from which NYC is now operating. “NYC and Tokyo may have different cultures and backgrounds, but it is my hope that we [in Tokyo] can learn from the planning processes of NYC and its leadership. I would like to take innovative ideas back to my office when I return there this summer,” said Mori.