David Vega-Barachowitz
P/T Instructor, NYC program

B.A., Urban Studies with Architecture, Columbia University; M.C.P., City Design & Development, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

David Vega-Barachowitz is an Associate at WXY Architecture + Urban Design. As a city planner and urban designer, David’s work explores the instrumentality of codes in shaping the built environment. His practice focuses on the development of new tools, research methods, and design perspectives that investigate and challenge the DNA of cities, from zoning and building codes to street and engineering manuals.

David has spearheaded a range of projects and initiatives, including the development of neighborhood-based public realm plans, research on new and emerging mobility options, and guidelines for the design and retrofit of public housing complexes. He is a former Senior Urban Designer at the New York City Department of City Planning and the first Director of the Designing Cities Initiative at the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), where he spearheaded the production of NACTO’s Urban Street Design Guide (Island Press, 2013) and Urban Bikeway Design Guide (Island Press, 2012). David is co-author of Start-up City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun (Island Press, 2015), which he wrote with Gabe Klein. He holds a Master’s of City Planning from MIT and a Bachelor’s Degree in Urban Studies with Architecture from Columbia University.


  • NYCHA Connected Communities Guidebook (New York City Housing Authority, 2020)
  • Adaptation Blueprint (Contributing Author, Island Press, 2020)
  • “East Harlem Public Realm Vision” (unpublished) | NYC Planning (Project Manager, 2017)
  • NACTO Blueprint for Autonomous Urbanism (Project Advisor and Design Consultant, 2017-2019)
  • “Integrated Strategies to Address Emerging Freight and Delivery Challenges in New York City” (Contributing Author, WXY, NYSERDA Report No. 16-33 2017)
  • “Festival Modernism: Downtown Plans & Pedestrian Malls: 1956-1974” (Graduate Thesis, MIT, 2016)
  • “Rising Tides: Relocation and Sea Level Rise in Metropolitan Boston” (Co-author, LCAU, 2016)
  • Start-Up City | Island Press (Co-author with Gabe Klein, 2015)
  • NACTO Urban Street Design Guide | Island Press (Author, Project Manager, 2013)
  • NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide | Island Press (Co-author, Project Manager, 2012)
  • “Changing the DNA of City Streets” (Co-author, Institute for Transportation Engineers Journal, 2013)
  • “Rights of Way: Shared Streets and the Evolving Municipal Traffic Code” | Urban Omnibus (2012)
  • “Cycle Tracks and the Evolving American Streetscape” | Urban Omnibus (2011)