Dhiru A. Thadani, AIA is an architect and urbanist who has been in practice since 1980, and has worked internationally. He has been principal designer of new towns and cities, urban regeneration, neighborhood revitalization, and infill densification.
Dhiru was born in Bombay, India and moved to Washington, D.C., in 1972 to study architecture. During his forty-five years in Washington, D.C. he has taught, practiced, and has strived to place architecture and urbanism in the public eye. Since its formation in 1993, Dhiru has been a charter member of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), and served as Task Force Chair and Board Member from 1997 to 2013.
In 2015 he was appointed to the inaugural CNU College of Fellows, and received the International Society of City and Regional Planners’ Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the recipient of the 2011 Seaside Prize, an award given for significant contributions to the quality and character of communi- ties. In 2001 he was a Knight Foundation Community Builder Fellow. He is recipient of six CNU Charter Awards.
Dhiru was part of the original charrette team for Kentlands held in June 1988, and a follow-up charrette in 2003. He is the author of The Language of Towns and Cities: A Visual Dictionary, published by Rizzoli in 2010, and co-editor of Leon Krier: The Architecture of Community published by Island Press in 2009. Thadani authored, Visions of Seaside: Foundations / Evolution / Imagination / Built & Unbuilt Architecture, which was published by Rizzoli in September 2013.
In this tsunami of global crises, which includes exploding global population, climate change, peak oil, public health, and adequate housing for burgeoning single households, planning is more important then ever to ensure a sustainable livelihood for future generations. These seemingly independent crises have all reached their tipping point in the beginning of the 21st century. Big business is promoting ‘smart cities’ which rely on high-capital technological solutions to solve these crises. These technocratic responses will be unable to solve the problems in their entirety.
New Urbanist communities such as Kentlands make a convincing argument for building sustainable, beautiful, and regional- ly-responsive places, within the financial constraints of development. New Urbanist communities have out-performed con- ventional suburban developments, both for return on investment and quality of life. The overriding success can be attributed to traditional planning principles and a commitment to creating beautiful public spaces, which add character, identity, and a unique sense of place.