David van der Leer

David van der Leer is an urban thinker and activator, and the Executive Director of Van Alen Institute in New York City. Since arriving at Van Alen in 2013, he has conceived a new mission statement, developed a comprehensive fundraising framework, initiated engaging thematic programming, and launched a competition for a recently completed street-level space for the organization. Van der Leer regularly speaks at universities and conferences, and in 2014, he was selected in the Urban Land Institute’s 40 Under 40 list of leading land use professionals. Under his leadership, Van Alen has also launched new competitions with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and National Parks Service, as well as a research initiative exploring the relationship between the built environment and addiction.

He was previously Associate Curator, Architecture and Urban Studies and Curator, BMW Guggenheim Lab at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. BMW Guggenheim Lab is a mobile urban laboratory traveling to major cities worldwide including New York, Berlin, and Mumbai. In addition, Van der Leer curated stillspotting nyc, a two-year multidisciplinary project that took the museum programming out into the streets of the five boroughs to find special moments of stillness. At the Guggenheim, Van der Leer first worked on the exhibitions Frank Lloyd Wright: From Within Outward and Contemplating the Void: Interventions in the Guggenheim Museum. In 2012, he was co-curator for the American Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale, and for the 2011 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, he curated an exhibition on new towns.

Images credits
  • Rebuild (photographer: Cameron Blaylock)
  • National Parks Now, Ultramoderne
  • Flatrion Plaza 

    (photographer: Cameron Blaylock)

  • Changing Course, USDA

  • Future Ground (photographer: Valerie Wozinak)