The Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has appointed Rahul Mehrotra as the Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design and the John T. Dunlop Professor in Housing and Urbanization.

According to a statement from the GSD, Mehrotra will “set the vision and agenda for Harvard GSD’s renowned urban planning and design programs, advancing the department’s ability to take on urgent, global questions and projects.”

Mehrotra told RECORD that this time around he intends for the department to focus on two major issues: the climate crisis and urban theory as it relates to the global south. “Firstly, I would like the GSD to focus on the climate crisis and the implications that it has for design professionals, especially urban designers and planners,” he said via email. “What are the spatial implications and new formations of the urban environment in light of the disruption that climate change has and could cause? How do we design for these transitions? This is critical,” he continued. “The second, is what we may learn from the emergent urban conditions where the majority of the world’s population resides. What is the urban theory for the global south? How could these learnings be situated in productive ways in the discourse on urban planning and design in the United States?”

Most recently, Mehrotra—who is founding principal of the Mumbai and Boston–based firm RMA—served as the GSD’s Director of the Master of Architecture in Urban Design Degree Program and Co-Director of the Master of Landscape Architecture in Urban Design Degree Program. He has also been a professor of urban design and planning at the school. His new appointment will begin on July 1, 2020.