We’re proud to announce that Larisa Ortiz, Principal of Larisa Ortiz Associates (LOA), has been selected by the American Planning Association – New York Metro Chapter to receive the Robert Ponte Award at this year’s annual meeting.

The Ponte is awarded to an individual who, through economic planning and development, has made a significant contribution to the vitality of the New York area. It is presented annually in honor of urban planner Robert W. Ponte, who, among other things, helped prepare master plans for Battery Park City and the 42d Street Redevelopment Project.

Larisa brings over 20 years of experience to her practice, where she focuses on providing strategic guidance, technical assistance and market analysis to urban commercial districts both nationally and internationally. She is a Mayoral appointee to the New York City Planning Commission and author of “Improving Tenant Mix: A Guide for Commercial District Management Professionals” published by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). She serves on the Board of the International Downtown Association and as Co-Chair of the ICSC Eastern Division Alliance Program. A former Fulbright Scholar and Watson Fellow, Larisa holds a B.A. with honors from Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

A long-time New Yorker, Larisa has worked for and advised a variety of New York City agencies and non-profits. While at the New York Economic Development Corporation, she led an inter-agency team charged with developing a comprehensive rezoning and regulatory framework for 125thStreet in Harlem. She served as Senior Director of Retail Attraction for the NYC Department of Small Business where she directed the development and execution of the award winning Neighborhood Leadership Program, now in its fifth year. The program is currently being replicated in Chicago as the LISC Business District Leadership Program, with Larisa’s guidance. Internationally, Larisa was a member of the consultant team that established Latin America’s first Business Improvement District in San Salvador, El Salvador.


Past awardees of the Robert Ponte Award include: Adam Friedman, Executive Director of the Pratt Center for Community Development; Josh Lerner, Ph.D.; Michael D’Angelo, Director of Research, Rockland County Planning Department; Dr. Pearl M. Kamer; Ira Hirschman, Ph.D.; Christopher Jones, Vice President For Research, Regional Plan Association; and Joseph J. Salvo.

This award was selected by the APA NY Metro 2015 Awards Committee and presented at the annual meeting on Friday, Oct 30 at Lerner Hall, Columbia University.