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Ian Carlton Named Executive Director of OU Institute

Noted urban development expert Ian Carlton has been named the new executive director of the Institute for Quality Communities at OU.

University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today announced that noted urban development expert Ian Carlton has been named the new executive director of the Institute for Quality Communities at OU. Boren made the announcement at the meeting of the OU Board of Regents.

Carlton assumes the position vacated by Blair Humphreys, the institute’s inaugural director who is now overseeing the planning and development of the Downtown Airpark for the family established Oklahoma City-based Humphreys development company.

“The University and the state of Oklahoma are truly fortunate to have a person of Ian Carlton’s stature come to OU as the new director of the Institute for Quality communities,” Boren said. “He will have a large impact on communities all over our state. We also welcome his family to our state. His wife, Rebecca Sanders, is also a distinguished leader in city and community planning and is expected to join the College of Architecture faculty on a part-time basis.” 

The Institute for Quality Communities was established in 2008 to enhance the quality of communities throughout Oklahoma and around the world. Building on OU’s success as an outstanding research university, the institute is uniquely positioned alongside the College of Architecture’s Divisions of Architecture, Regional and City Planning, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design and Construction Science.

Carlton will guide the institute in its work to build more vibrant, sustainable and equitable communities throughout Oklahoma and provide more research and educational opportunities for OU students.

“We are pleased to find an outstanding individual who has already shown by example his creative and innovative ability to further the direction and vision of the institute,” said Charles Graham, dean of the OU College of Architecture. “Continuing the institute’s mission of assisting communities in Oklahoma with planning, design, preservation and community development initiatives is furthered with Dr. Carlton’s hiring. The institute has a bright future under his leadership.”

Carlton will be accompanied to OU by his wife, Rebecca Sanders, who is expected to join the City Planning Division of the College of Architecture on a part-time basis, along with their two children, Vivian, and Everett, who was born this week. Sanders earned a Ph.D. in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked in that department since 2009, focusing on pedestrian, bicyclist and motorist mobility and safety in transportation corridors. She has lent her expertise as an appointee to the California Statewide Traffic Safety Committee and the Bicycle Committee of the Washington, D.C.,-based Transportation Research Board.

Carlton has served as the sole proprietor of a Berkeley, Calif.-based research and consulting firm since 2008. Committed to helping its clients turn visions of sustainable urban development into reality, the firm’s projects have included conducting numerous equitable transit-oriented development studies in major metropolitan areas across the country, examining ways to create livable communities near quality public transit. Among other projects, the firm has advised national nonprofits, like Transportation for America, on their urban policymaking efforts and helped the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office clarify its urban development strategy.

Carlton was also an economic project manager for Central Atlanta Progress, a downtown community development agency directed by Atlanta’s business leaders, and provided pro bono strategy consulting services to the City of Atlanta’s mayor while a senior associate consultant at Bain & Company.

He has helped teach city planning courses at the University of California, Berkeley since 2007, and he has led several pro bono community development studies for agencies such as the City of Berkeley Mayor’s Office and the Berkeley Public Works Department.

Carlton received his bachelor of science in architecture and a certificate in land development from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002. He earned his master of science in transportation engineering and master of city planning from UC Berkeley in 2009, and his Ph.D. in city and regional planning from UC Berkeley in 2013.