Geeta Mehta

by Abigail Richardson from MY HERO Staff

Geeta Mehta is an Indian-American social entrepreneur, urban designer, architect, and author. She is the co-founder of Asia Initiatives and URBZ, and an adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.

Mehta was born in Simla, India. She earned her bachelor's degree in Architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, a master's degree in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University, and a doctorate in Urban Engineering from the University of Tokyo.

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Geeta Mehta holds the position of adjunct professor of architecture and urban design at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation in New York City. Additionally, she serves as a research affiliate at the Center for Sustainable Urban Development within Columbia Climate School. Prior to her current roles, Mehta served as a professor of architecture at the Temple University campus in Tokyo until 2009.

Together with her business partner Jill Braden, Mehta established the interior design firm Braden & Mehta Design, which operates in Honolulu and New York City. Their firm's projects, which blend Western and Asian influences, span across the United States, Vietnam, and India, encompassing corporate and residential spaces.

Mehta featured prominently in the documentary film "Citizen Jane: Battle for the City," offering insights into the potential consequences of global development without adherence to the principles of activist Jane Jacobs.

In 2018, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Mehta to the Waterfront Management advisory board.

Mehta has delivered keynote addresses and participated in panel discussions on various topics including social capital, sustainable urbanism, and community-based change at events worldwide, including the Public Ideas Forum in Perth, Australia, and the Women's Summit in Sharjah organized by UN Women.

Mehta holds positions on the boards of WomenStrong International, The Center for the Living City, and Friends of University of Tokyo, among others. Mehta also co-founded Asia Initiatives with Krishen Mehta in 1999 in Tokyo, now a registered non-profit organization in New York City. Asia Initiatives focuses on projects aimed at empowering women through education, up-skilling, healthcare, and microcredit in underserved areas across India, Kenya, Taiwan, and the United States.

Mehta is credited with innovating Social Capital Credits (SoCCs), a community currency aimed at alleviating poverty by incentivizing community service. SoCCs have received recognition and awards including the MIT Inclusive Innovation Award and Fast Company's World Changing Ideas Awards.

Together with Matias Echanove and Rahul Srivastava, urban planner and anthropologist respectively, Mehta co-founded URBZ: User Generated Cities, a research collective recognized among the 100 most influential names in architecture by Il Giornale dell'Architettura magazine.

In 2015, Mehta was named by Women's eNews as one of the 21 leaders of the 21st century. In addition, she was honored by The Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India as one of the 75 women in STEAM to commemorate India’s 75th year of independence.

Page created on 2/7/2024 5:08:20 PM

Last edited 2/7/2024 5:25:26 PM

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Related Links

WomenStrong International - WomenStrong International advances progress toward gender equity by partnering with grassroots women-led organizations in urban and peri-urban areas that are dedicated to improving the lives of the girls and women they serve.
Asia Initiatives - Thier mission is to leverage the power of social capital to promote healthcare, education, improve livelihoods and sustainable development in underserved communities with a particular focus on women and their families.