Richard D. Kaplan is an architect and Senior Trustee (and former Co-Chairman) of the J.M. Kaplan Fund, a private New York-based foundation noted for its commitment to innovative projects in urban affairs and the environment. The J.M. Kaplan Fund has been a supporter of the Regional Plan Association since 1957.
In 1994, Mr. Kaplan set up a three-part initiative to promote and assist the revitalization of lower Manhattan, which included helping develop a Master Plan for the area; the creation of a computerized three-dimensional Geographic Simulation System (GIS) model of the district, produced by the New School’s Environmental Simulation Center (which Mr. Kaplan co-founded); and the establishment of an innovative not-for-profit organization, Heritage Trails New York, to increase public awareness of the history, architecture, sites and attractions of Downtown New York.
Heritage Trails has created a system of four color-coded trails on the streets and sidewalks of the area, installed 42 permanent site markers that provide on-the-spot histories of local landmarks and which display its specially designed 3-D way-finding map of Lower Manhattan. Mr. Kaplan has received the City Club of New York’s Albert S. Bard Award for Merit in Civic Architecture and Urban Design; the George S. Lewis Award from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects; and additional awards and citations for his distinguished designs and projects in New York City, the Nation, and overseas.
Mr. Kaplan served as the first Chair of the Alliance for Downtown New York’s Committee on Tourism, Historic Preservation, Urban Design and Parks. He currently sits on, among others, the Boards of the Institute for Urban Design, and the Skyscraper Museum, of which he was a co-founder. Mr. Kaplan graduated from Harvard College, and received a Master of Architecture degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.