Stephen is a landscape architect and urban planner whose diverse pursuits share a concern for the environmental quality and social vitality of places. Raised in Cleveland and educated at Harvard, his professional training and practice has been based in New York City’s environs. He formerly served as Chief of Planning for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, where he was instrumental in many facets of New York’s physical rejuvenation: launching the City’s Greenway system, nurturing public-private partnerships, acquiring natural lands and neighborhood parks, setting standards for park creation and operation by private developments such as Riverside South, and managing the expansion of the USTA National Tennis Center. As a Principal of Saratoga Associates, his urban work expanded outward to address the planning and design issues of suburban and developing exurban communities. Starr Whitehouse represents a deliberate next step to join together a group of people who can serve clients, embrace complex planning issues, and deliver responsive, innovative design.
Rather than focusing on a single aspect of the work, he’s always been most fascinated by the juncture points. “Natural systems, patterns of settlement, infrastructure – seeing all these come together to make a place is interesting to me, not just as abstract concepts,” he says, “but in terms of seeing good results in the end.” He describes his role at Starr Whitehouse in terms of junctures as well. “I’m the translator,” he says, “I serve as the mediator between the specialists and the public. I like communicating with people, and seeing things shaped by the creative interactions of people and institutions.”