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Richard Bradley

Richard Bradley serves on the faculty of the Urban & Regional Planning program and is principal of The Urban Partnership LLC.


Bradley is a distinguished thought leader in the planning, finance, development, programming and management of central city downtowns and commercial districts. As founding executive director of the Downtown DC Business Improvement District (DowntownDC), over a period of 20 years Bradley facilitated over $35 billion of public-private investment into Washington D.C.’s downtown, transforming and revitalizing a patchwork of abandoned historic buildings and surface parking lots into the third largest central business district in the United States. 

An expert in branding the human experience of urban places, Bradley grew DowntownDC from one of America’s first downtown partnerships into a comprehensive place management organization with an annual budget of $11 million. Among many other efforts, Bradley initiated countless public-private collaborations, coordinated numerous WMATA capital improvement plans, recruited new cultural institutions to the downtown, and introduced street markets into daily life. One of his most strategic legacies was to reposition the National Cherry Blossom Festival as the premier international cultural festival of Washington, D.C. Prior to coming to Washington, Bradley was the executive director of the International Downtown Association, and executive director of the Downtown Council of Hartford, Connecticut.

Bradley received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Downtown Association in 2016, Lifetime Legacy Award from the D.C. Chamber of Commerce in 2016 and the Annual Achievement Award from the DC Building Industry Association in 2013. In 2009, Partners for Livable Communities bestowed its Entrepreneurial American Leadership Award to Mr. Bradley and his wife, faculty member Ellen McCarthy for their efforts to revitalize Downtown D.C.

He holds a Master of Education and a B.A. from Cornell University.