Simon Kates

Simon Kates


Associate Principal

"When I was studying and practicing architecture, I always viewed the act of building as a civic act—even private development projects have a spatial and experiential impact on the public realm. This way of thinking about design has carried through to my work as a planner, which involves learning from communities about their own challenges and aspirations, then developing policies to achieve the goals set by members of the community."

With a background in both urban planning and architecture, Simon has always been interested in learning about new places. One of the most rewarding things about working at BFJ Planning has been the opportunity to explore big cities and small villages to get a feel for how they work. As an associate principal at BFJ, he has developed a focus in planning issues related to sustainability and resilience to climate change. With a strong belief in community-based planning, Simon has experience developing comprehensive plans and waterfront plans, addressing economic development issues, and applying complex zoning strategies. Before shifting to urban planning, Simon practiced architecture in New York and Portland, Oregon. He currently serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute, where he teaches an introductory manual graphics course with a focus on teaching first-semester planning students how to communicate graphically.

Our Perkins Eastman

Simon heads up the sustainability and climate resilience focus area at BFJ Planning. In this role, he has managed post-Superstorm Sandy resilience plans, secured grant funding from NYSERDA for planning studies, and led efforts to incorporate principles of sustainability throughout BFJ’s work.


  • Phone:

  • +1 (212) 353-7657
  • Email:

  • Linkedin:

  • Education

  • Pratt Institute, M.S. City and Regional Planning
  • University of Oregon, M.Arch
  • Tufts University, B.A.
  • Associations

  • American Planning Association
  • American Institute of Certified Planners