AICP, Director of Urban Design and Planning
As the Director of SOM’s East Coast City Design Practice in New York and Washington, D.C., Keith O’Connor brings more than 20 years of diverse public, private, and nonprofit experience leading complex multidisciplinary planning and urban design projects. With expertise in landscape architecture, urban design, and city planning, O’Connor uses his work to address some of the most pressing challenges facing American cities today: climate change, resilience, mobility, affordability, and equity among them. He focuses on research and projects that contribute to the protection of natural, cultural, and historic resources and the design of the public realm.
O'Connor is recognized for spearheading public realm projects that elevate and redefine the value of public spaces in New York and around the world. His studio is currently working on projects including the transformation of a post-industrial strip mall into a vibrant mixed-use development in suburban Boston, a strategic urban design framework for five key sites in the South Street Seaport Historic District, an ambitious redevelopment and resilience project on over 50 acres of the Hoboken, New Jersey, waterfront along the Hudson River, and a campus master plan for Princeton University. Keith is also leading SOM’s efforts as Civic Partner on the Tidal Basin IDEAS LAB, an initiative dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of this unique cultural landscape on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Internationally, the studio is developing a master plan for an area surrounding a UNESCO World Heritage site in Turkistan, completing master planning efforts on a waterfront site in Bahrain, and starting work on a new airbase in Kuwait.
Prior to joining SOM, O’Connor led various large-scale urban design and city planning projects in New York, Boston, D.C., Chicago, Hong Kong, and Tel Aviv. His portfolio features framework and mixed-use master plans, public realm design and open space systems, and projects involving civic infrastructure. He has presented at Harvard University and Yale University on topics such as sustainable infrastructure, and the relationship between climate change and urban design. He was honored with the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award from Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning.