Advisory Council

The evolution of cities and the profession of urban planning are in a profound period of change and disruption. The Advisory Council represents a diverse group of highly distinguished practitioners that provide program leadership with strategic insight into the rapidly evolving global trends shaping the future of cities and urban planning practice. The Advisory Council provides a critical perspective on the role of higher education in shaping the next generation of urban planning professionals.


Members of the Advisory Council:

  • Marcel Acosta, Executive Director, National Capital Planning Commission
  • Catherine Buell, Vice President of Policy & Programs, Greater Washington Partnership
  • Don Edwards, President, Justice & Sustainability LLC
  • Roger Lewis, Washington Post Columnist and Design Consultant
  • Harriet Tregoning, Director, New Urban Mobility Alliance, World Resources Institute
  • Andrew Trueblood, Director, District of Columbia Office of Planning
  • Sameh Naguib Wahba, Global Director, Urban and Territorial Development, Risk Management and Resilience, World Bank Group
  • Stan Wall P.E., Partner, HR&A Advisors

Member Biographies:

Marcel Acosta is the executive director of the National Capital Planning Commission, which is the federal government’s central planning agency. Through his role, Mr. Acosta oversees a team of urban planners, architects, historic preservationists, and other professionals who are committed to preserving and enhancing the extraordinary qualities of the National Capital Region. Before joining NCPC, Mr. Acosta served as senior vice president of planning and development for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the nation’s second-largest public transportation system. He holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin.

Catherine Buell is vice president of policy and programs at the Greater Washington Partnership (GWP). Ms. Buell is responsible for GWP’s multi-sector engagement in advancing workforce housing solutions across multiple jurisdictions and levels of government. Previously, Ms. Buell served as president and chief executive officer of the Atlanta Housing Authority, where she worked to help the city provide affordable housing to its low-income families. She holds a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Economics from Spelman College.

Don Edwards is the chief executive officer and principal of Justice & Sustainability Associates LLC (JSA), where he works on community mediation and civic engagement design. His work focusses on stakeholder conflicts associated with land use and urban development associated with diverse organizations including international, federal, regional, state and local government agencies; corporations; universities; foundations and community-based organizations. Prior to joining JSA, Mr. Edwards served as executive director of the Panos Institute-Americas, where he developed programs promoting environmental justice and sustainable development. He holds Master’s degrees in Public Health and Nursing from Yale University, and a B.A. in Political Science & History from Duke University.

Roger Lewis is a columnist for the Washington Post, a design consultant, and professor emeritus at the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation. Since 1984, The Washington Post has published Lewis’ award-winning "Shaping the City" column where he explores a broad range of issues associated with architectural and urban design; land use planning and regulation; affordable housing; historic preservation; smart growth; sustainability; and public policy affecting the built environment. He holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Harriet Tregoning is the director of the New Urban Mobility Alliance (NUMO) at the World Resources Institute (WRI). NUMO is a new collaborative effort that aims to guide policymakers, the private sector and people toward a shared vision of cities and urban mobility. Prior to joining WRI, Ms. Tregoning served in the Obama Administration as principal deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Community Planning and Development at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She also served as director of the District of Columbia Office of Planning under Mayor Fenty and Mayor Gray, where she worked to make DC a walkable, bikeable, eminently livable, globally competitive and thriving city. She studied Engineering and Public Policy at Washington University and was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Andrew Trueblood is the director of the District of Columbia Office of Planning, where he works to create sustainable, inclusive communities in the nation’s capital. Previously, he served as chief of staff in the D.C. Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) where he guided economic policy development, including legislative and budget proposals and oversaw the operations of the 80-person agency. Before joining the District Government, Trueblood helped stand up the operations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He holds a Master in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.A. from Princeton University. 

Sameh Wahba is global director of the Urban and Territorial Development, Disaster Risk Management and Resilience Division at the World Bank Group’s Social, Rural, Urban and Resilience Global Practice, where he oversees the formulation of the World Bank’s urban development strategy and the design and delivery of all lending, technical assistance, policy advisory activities and partnerships at the global level. He holds a Ph.D. and Master in Urban Planning from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Architectural Engineering from Cairo University.