Author: Christopher Leinberger

Christopher B. Leinberger, a land use strategist, teacher, developer, researcher and author, balances business realities with social and environmental issues. Mr. Leinberger has four institutional connections: Professor and founding Director at the Graduate Real Estate Development Program at the University of Michigan. The Program is a joint venture of the Ross Business School, law school and the Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, where it is housed. Please refer to Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC. He focuses on research, strategy and management of “walkable urban” places. Please refer to Founding partner of Arcadia Land Company, a New Urbanism/transit-oriented development and consulting firm dedicated to land stewardship and building a sense of community. His partners are Robert Davis, the developer of Seaside, Florida, and Joe Duckworth, who has run two Builder 100 home building companies and was the National Home Builder of the Year in 1992. The firm has active developments in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, a 5,000 housing unit with town center development in Independence, Mo., which is a joint venture with Forest City Enterprises. Arcadia was the managing partner in a catalytic developer for the revitalization of downtown Albuquerque, N.M. Please refer to President of Locus; Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, advocating for the upcoming transportation, climate change and energy bills before Congress. Locus is a partner and member of the executive committee of Transportation for America, a broad coalition of environmental, business, real estate, unions and government bodies. Please refer to Mr. Leinberger was voted one of the “Top 100 Urban Thinkers” of all time in a poll conducted by Planetizen, the international urban planning and architecture web site, in 2009 ( For 21 years, Mr. Leinberger was Managing Director and co-owner of RCLCO (formerly Robert Charles Lesser & Co.), the largest independent real estate advisory firm in the country that today works on over 600 projects a year for developers, corporations and municipalities. Mr. Leinberger has served on the boards of AvalonBay Communities, one of the country's most respected equity REITs (NYSE), and AMRESCO Capital Trust (NASDAQ real estate mortgage trust). He has been a member of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) for 30 years, serving on the jury of JC Nichols Award for Excellence in Urbanism and in the leadership of the Transit-Oriented Development Council. He has been a member of the Congress of the New Urbanism for 15 years. Mr. Leinberger has also been active on several committees of the National Academy of Sciences, including the creation of the National Biological Survey, sponsored by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt, and a panel to improve metropolitan governance. He is also on the National Advisory Board of The Conservation Fund and the National Real Estate Leadership Council of Enterprise Community Partners. Mr. Leinberger has written two books and contributed chapters for eight others. His most recent book is The Option of Urbanism, Investing in a New American Dream, published in 2008 by Island Press and released in paperback in 2009. It was selected as one of the top 10 books of 2008 by Planetizen, the urban planning and architecture web site. He is also the author of Strategic Planning for Real Estate Companies, originally published by ULI in 1993, which was revised by his former RCLCO partners and re-published by ULI in 2008 with the Introduction written by him. The next book by Leinberger is about strategy and management of walkable urban places, which will be published by Island Press, in 2011. He has written articles for periodicals, including The Atlantic Monthly, Urban Land, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Canada’s National Post and Los Angeles Times, among others. He is often quoted by periodicals such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Business Week, Associated Press, among others. His articles and quotes can be found at He has been profiled by CNN, Urban Land magazine, Today Show, academic journals, Canadian National Radio, USA Radio, CBS Radio and numerous times by National Public Radio, including Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Marketplace. Mr. Leinberger has given speeches to nearly every major real estate, downtown management and land use organization in the country and many abroad, as well as many chambers of commerce, councils of governments and environmental organizations. He has been a visiting lecturer at the Santa Fe Institute, Harvard University, Swarthmore College, University of Wisconsin, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Tech, University of New Mexico (as an adjunct professor), Rollins College, Simon Frasier University and other institutions of higher education. Mr. Leinberger received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Swarthmore College, where he double majored in Political Science and Urban Sociology, and a MBA from the Harvard Business School. He also attended the Martin Luther King School of Social Change, the Institute of Social Research at the University of Michigan, and was a Coro Foundation Fellow in Public Policy in Los Angeles. Mr. Leinberger lives in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, D.C., with his wife, Lisa.

Articles by Christopher Leinberger

  • Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change
    Published on March 24, 2011 in
  • Federal Restructuring of Fannie and Freddie Ignores Underlying Cause of Crisis
    Published on February 10, 2011 in
    Last week, the White House issued a white paper with ideas for the restructuring of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae, which are responsible for guaranteeing 90 percent of mortgages in the country today. Read what Christopher Leinberger thinks was the fundamental cause of the mortgage meltdown and what the federal government needs to do about it going forward.
  • Looking for a Few New Ideas for Employment Growth
    Published on November 10, 2010 in
    On Friday, President Obama called for “any idea, any proposal, any way we can get the economy growing faster so that people who need work can find it faster.” There is a tried and true idea that has always been used in past recoveries; activate the building of the built environment…but with a major twist.
  • Walkable Urbanism
    Published on September 01, 2010 in
    Metropolitan Washington, D.C., is a leading example of walkable urbanism, in which most daily needs can be met within walking or rail-transit distance of one’s home. Ten years ago, horsey suburban D.C. neighborhoods boasted housing prices 25 to 50 percent higher than those of walkable urban neighborhoods. But now, the situation has reversed, with home prices 50 to 70 percent higher per square foot in walkable urban neighborhoods than in high-end suburban neighborhoods.