Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala works on cities, transportation, and the environment, from the perspectives of former public official, policy expert, and historian.
In addition to his teaching and research at SIPA, he currently serves as Special Advisor to the Chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, and leads environmental programs for Bloomberg Philanthropies. He is also co-chair of the Fourth Regional Plan of the Regional Plan Association of New York. From 2006 to 2010, Aggarwala was the Director of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability for the City of New York. In that role, he served as the chief environmental policy advisor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and led the development and implementation of New York City’s sustainability plan, PlaNYC: A Greener, Greater New York. Mayor Bloomberg called him “the brains behind PlaNYC.”
Aggarwala’s achievements at City Hall included the passage into law of a landmark set of mandates that will make all large buildings in New York City more energy efficient, by requiring benchmarking, periodic energy audits and operations tune-ups, widespread lighting retrofits, and submetering for commercial tenants. He also led the effort to make New York City’s 13,000 yellow taxis convert to hybrids, clean up the heating oil used in New York City’s buildings, and develop a greener construction code for New York. He was also one of the architects of Mayor Bloomberg’s effort to bring congestion pricing to Manhattan, and served as the mayor’s point person on Building America’s Future, a coalition the mayor created with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. He has testified before the New York City Council, the New York State Assembly, and the United States Congress.
Prior to joining the Bloomberg Administration, Aggarwala was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he mainly served clients in the transportation and logistics industry in the United States and Europe. In addition to work at the New York State Assembly and the Virginia Railway Express, he began his career at the Federal Railroad Administration. He serves on several boards, including that of the Regional Plan Association; the Urban Green Council; the advisory boards of the Eno Transportation Foundation and New World Capital (a private equity firm); and is a trustee of St. Stephen’s School in Rome, Italy.
Aggarwala holds a PhD in American History from Columbia University, where he studied under Professor Kenneth T. Jackson. His dissertation, “Seat of Empire: New York, Philadelphia, and the Emergence of an American Metropolis, 1776-1837”, looked at the causes that led New York to surpass Philadelphia as the leading city in America. He is currently revising that manuscript for publication as a book.