Adam Tanaka

Adam Tanaka is a PhD candidate in urban planning at Harvard University with a particular focus on affordable housing and real estate development. His research interests lie at the confluence of urban history, political science and business studies.

For the 2016-2017 academic year, Adam will be based at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study writing his dissertation on large-scale, middle-income housing in New York City. Offering a counterpoint to familiar narratives of postwar suburbanization and central city disinvestment, Adam’s dissertation analyzes a number of vast planned communities built for middle class New Yorkers from the 1940s through 1970s. The dissertation investigates the political and financial alliances that facilitated these projects – many of which remain the largest of their kind in the world – as well as the factors that abruptly terminated this “large-scale approach” in the mid-1970s.

Adam received a BA in art history and urban studies from Princeton University and an AM in Urban Planning from Harvard. For the 2015-2016 academic year, he was a visiting scholar at the NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Dissertation Fellow. Over the course of his doctoral studies, he has worked for a variety of New York City agencies on affordable housing, public finance and land use-related matters. He has also been invited by affordable housing advocacy groups to participate in televised interviews and testify at City Council hearings. 

Adam has experience teaching undergraduate, professional degree and executive education students, and received a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching in spring 2014 for his work in the FAS course "Designing the American City." In summer 2015, he taught the Harvard Summer School program "Biology and the Evolution of Paris as a Smart City," a project-based urban planning course in partnership with the Parisian municipal government.

CV available upon request.