Developing standardized API & framework for environmental impact analyses to modularize & streamline public review processes
​​Paul is an urban technology leader and entrepreneur with a record of success developing disruptive solutions, driving business development, and contributing to both strategy and execution as founder and manager at award-winning startups. Most recently I co-founded & served as COO of the transportation technology startup ClearRoad where I led fundraising, business development, product strategy, and thought leadership. I am contributing as EIR to the Open Zoning project at the Urban Stack Lab at Harvard GSD. My background includes coming in as employee #1 at proptech startup Envelope, innovative urban planning work at WXY Studio, transportation & placemaking with the Project for Public Spaces, and tech consulting with Hewlett-Packard. 

I bring a rare combination of urban planning expertise and facility with emerging technologies, which I have leveraged in past roles as an intermediary & translator between public sector challenges and best-practice IT & software solutions. At this intersection, I specialize in geospatial regulations, including road pricing and zoning; future mobility, especially EV infrastructure; and government digital transformation. I am an experienced evangelizer of urban technology concepts & innovations to media, industry, and investors, and am driven by opportunities to enhance the city and public services in response to the climate crisis.

In addition to my work experience, I am a Certified Planner, former instructor in Clean Tech, and former NYU Rudin Emerging Leadership and Urban Design Forum Fellow. I hold a Master’s in Urban Planning from NYU Wagner and Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering from Columbia SEAS.  
Project Description

With communities across the U.S. struggling to respond to numerous, interrelated crises of affordability, economic dynamism, inequality, and climate change, environmental review processes have devolved into impediments to action rather than the integrators of environmental concerns and facilitators of community input that they were originally intended as. Recent planning and development efforts are rife with cautionary tales of canceled projects, multi-year litigation, and ballooning costs associated with review processes run amok.

Governments have embraced a small selection of more automated and responsive technologies for streamlining service delivery and public realm management, most successfully speed cameras and digitized permitting processes. With these efforts, municipalities have realized lower costs, sped up & more responsive processes, and demands for expansion from communities.

Public sector environmental impact assessments and reviews have so far failed to take advantage of 21st-century technologies despite attempts by numerous public interest-minded startups. Each of these companies eventually pivoted away from direct interface with governments or closed before they were able to. Their categoric failure to integrate into the formal processes of analysis or decision-making exposes a critical gap preventing the use of tech-based solutions: a lack of data and interoperability standards. Public Sector Data Standards to Enable Technology Adoption This project will develop standards for environmental and impact calculation data and exchange that accommodate the differing requirements across jurisdictions, including multiple types & categories of analyses and levels of complexities. This effort draws on the public sector-facing data standards GTFS for transit and MDS for micromobility, which enabled widespread adoption by technology companies and public agencies alike and created new market segments and products, even facilitating policy experimentation.

The developed standards will reduce processes into standard inputs and outputs within a modular framework for environmental & impact review, transforming analyses as dissimilar as shadow impacts and sewage system capacity constraints into modules that can be mixed and matched based on local needs and regulations. This vision takes inspiration from the simple, semi-public APIs Walk Score and GreatSchools, which have become essential modules for online real estate listings, alongside public & proprietary info on building & site characteristics, local taxes & fees, or transit access.

This project represents a continuation of Cornell Tech's urban tech leadership in the public sphere, with initiatives such as Rebooting NYC. It will draw on the Hub’s connections to and ability to convene governments, tech organizations, startups, and the larger Technion and Cornell communities.

Key outcomes from this project will be 1) the distillation of core input & output parameters and data necessary for common analyses across City, State, and Federal public review processes, 2) an open source Github repository of the API architecture for standardized environmental impact, 3) two or more demonstrations of end-to-end automated review processes using the API, one of which where the analysis is internally developed and another is externally developed by an urbantech startup, and 4) case studies describing the use and governance models for the developed standard.

The effort above will construct building blocks of impact calculations & assessments that can be integrated into streamlined and automated public review. This approach modularizes common public sector data and analyses, enabling the agile adoption of standards, technologies, and private sector services, connecting the dots between data collection, assessment, and action for a more responsive city.