The Driving Force Behind NYC's Greening Effort

<p>Rohit Aggarwala, a Columbia-educated former business consultant, is helping to create and implement New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's sustainability plan -- PlaNYC.</p>
May 31, 2007, 7am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"Consultants at McKinsey & Co. often joke that they can double their salaries and cut their hours in half when they leave the firm for another private sector job. When Rohit Aggarwala left McKinsey last summer to head a new New York City agency, the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, he failed on both counts.

Mr. Aggarwala, 35, is the slim, soft-spoken technocrat who has spent the last year crafting PlaNYC, Mayor Bloomberg's 127-point roadmap for New York City to prepare for an expected influx of 1 million new residents by 2030. The plan includes a new tax on traffic in Manhattan and an effort to plant 1 million new trees in the city.

Mr. Aggarwala has a professorial air that befits someone who has earned four degrees from Columbia University, including a doctorate in history and an MBA. He has handed out more than 3,000 business cards over the past year. A mass transit devotee, he does not own a car and rides the E train to work at City Hall every day from his home in Hell's Kitchen. While he theoretically enjoys cooking, he acknowledges that his refrigerator has stood empty over the past 12 months while he has devoted himself to PlaNYC.

"My most typical lunch has been nothing," Mr. Aggarwala said in an interview at his office on Broadway, across the street from City Hall. Dinner often came delivered to City Hall in pizza boxes or in cartons from Zen Palate, and it has been months, he said, since his Blackberry was turned off or placed out of his reach.

If Mayor Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff have been at the center of the effort to explain PlaNYC to the public and get it passed in Albany, Mr. Aggarwala has been a crucial player behind the scenes, gathering input and building early support for the plan from business and civic leaders, community groups, elected officials, academic experts, and thousands of New Yorkers across the city."

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Published on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 in The New York Sun
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