As Closed Loop Partners’ first Executive in Residence, Rit is exploring a range of urban problems that relate to the circular economy but go beyond materials, including logistics, retail, street furniture, and buildings. He is working to identify opportunities where CLP’s expertise and platform might deliver solutions to these challenges.
Rit brings 20 years of experience at the forefront of urban sustainability, technology, and innovation. As New York City’s first director of long-term planning and sustainability, he led the development of PlaNYC, the city’s groundbreaking and world-renowned sustainability agenda. As president of the Board of Directors of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, he helped Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg turn that organization into a global institution. As the founding lead of the environmental grantmaking program at Bloomberg Philanthropies (also 2010-2013), he directed $130 million in grants to environmental organizations, including originating Bloomberg’s groundbreaking $50 million grant to the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal program. A member of the founding team at Sidewalk Labs, Alphabet’s urban technology company, he led sustainability and mobility initiatives at both product definition level and their application to specific real estate development proposals, including the company’s highly publicized Sidewalk Toronto project. In addition, Rit has been an advisor to mayors and city governments ranging from Los Angeles to Rio de Janeiro to Rome, as well as the Government of India’s 100 Smart Cities project.
Earlier in his career, Rit was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where his clients included global and national logistics, rail, and telecommunications companies, and served at the US Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration.
Rit is a member of several boards, including the Regional Plan Association, the Design Trust for Public Space, the Urban Green Council, the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, and St. Stephen’s School in Rome, Italy. He teaches at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and is a Senior Fellow at the Jacobs Cornell-Technion Institute at Cornell Tech.
Rit holds a PhD in American History from Columbia University, as well as a BA and MBA from Columbia University and an MA in Canadian History from Queen’s University in Ontario.