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Biography

Deeply engaged in public design and its role as a catalyst for cultural innovation, Jeff Byles draws on fifteen years of experience as an author, editor, architecture journalist, and urban thinker.

Jeff’s writings on architecture, urbanism, and culture have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Metropolis, and he is the author and editor of books on architecture and design including Rubble: Unearthing the History of Demolition (Harmony Books, 2005), and A History of Design from the Victorian Era to the Present (Norton, 2011), co-authored with Ann Ferebee.

In addition to his work as a writer, Jeff collaborates on Being Here, a New York–based design and consultancy practice focused in part on bringing innovation to the public sector.

Previously, Jeff was Director of Research at Van Alen Institute, overseeing the Institute’s research initiatives in program areas exploring the intersection of urban form and human well-being, and, prior to that, he served as the Institute’s Interim Executive Director in 2012–2013, leading the organization's design competitions and public programs devoted to transformative design initiatives in the built environment.

Before joining Van Alen, Jeff was for two years Managing Editor of The Architect’s Newspaper in New York, collaborating on the award-winning publication’s coverage of city-shaping commissions, unfolding politics and debate, and cultural developments related to architecture and design across the nation.

Jeff studied English literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a MFA in creative nonfiction from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Jeff has lectured internationally on architecture, landscape, and the future of the city at venues including the National Building Museum, 92nd Street Y, New York Public Library, Skyscraper Museum, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and the Institute for Esthetic Research in Mexico City. Jeff currently serves as President of the Fine Arts Federation of New York, an advocate for design excellence in New York City and beyond.

A native of Portland, Oregon, he lives in New York City.