Gary Pivo

Professor of Real Estate Development and Urban Planning


  • Real Estate Development
  • School of Landscape Architecture and Planning
  • Urban Planning


Areas of Expertise

  • Sustainable Real Estate
  • Urban planning
  • urban water policy


  • PhD, City and Regional Planning, UC Berkeley
  • Master of Regional Planning, Cornell University
  • BA, Social Ecology, UC Irvine


Gary Pivo PhD works in the areas of responsible property investing, urban form, and sustainable cities. He holds professorships in the MS Urban Planning Program and the School of Natural Resources at the University of Arizona where he teaches courses on land development and sustainable cities. Pivo’s research has been cited by scholars in many different fields including urban studies, transportation, environmental studies, planning, public health, engineering, geography, economics, and more.

Previously, Pivo was Dean of the Graduate College and Associate Dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture at Arizona and Chair of the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington. While Dean of the Graduate College he was recognized as Administrator of the Year by the Graduate and Professional Student Council. 

Dr. Pivo has published extensively on socially responsible property investing, sustainable urban water policy and sustainable urbanization. His work has been widely cited in scientific journals, text books, professional reports and government studies. In 2012, Dr. Pivo won the prestigious Legacy Award from the American Real Estate Society Journal of Real Estate Research for his paper Income, Value, and Returns in Socially Responsible Office Properties. His most recent work (with Xudong An of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia) examines the effects of sustainable property features on default risk in the CMBS market. He also recently completed a report on low income housing gaps in Pima County for Family Housing Resources, Inc. In 2015, Dr. Pivo was appointed Deputy Director of the Urban Water Innovations Network, a National Science Foundation Sustainability Research Network. His work has formed the basis for market innovations including the Real Capital Analytics Walk Score Commercial Property Price Indices, which was the first index to quantify the price value of walkability for commercial properties, the NCREIF Green/Sustainability Data Set that allowed institutional investors to monitor the financial performance of sustainable real estate and the Vert Global Sustainability Real Estate Fund, which for the first time allowed US investors to buy shares in a mutual fund composed of the world's most sustainable real estate investment trusts.

Dr. Pivo has been invited to speak at meetings convened by leading organizations and institutions including the United Nations, BOMA Intl., the US and World Green Building Councils, the National Science Foundation, the National Building Museum, the Urban Land Institute, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Tokyo Institute of Technology. His comments on urban planning have been carried by The Economist, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio and dozens of other local and national publications. 

Professor Pivo has an extensive record of consulting and public service including work as the Special Assistant to the Governor’s Growth Strategy Commission (Washington), which laid the groundwork for the Washington State Growth Management Act. He was also co-founder and Advisor to the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative Property Working Group, co-founder and President of 1000 Friends of Washington (now Futurewise) and co-Founder of the Responsible Property Investing Center (now the ULI RPI Council). He has served on committees for many leading organizations including the World Green Building Council, the Congress for New Urbanism, the Global Reporting Initiative, the Initiative for Responsible Investment at Harvard University, and the National Institute of Building Sciences. Dr. Pivo is an alumnus of the U.S. Presidential Management Fellows Program and holds a B.A. in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine, a Master’s in Regional Planning from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from U.C., Berkeley.

News, Research and Projects

Downtown Tucson

Report by Planning Professor Gary Pivo Informs Regional and National Articles on Tucson Gentrification

A 2021 study by Gary Pivo, "Equity and Sustainability Assessment of Tucson's Government Property Lease Excise Tax (GPLET) Program," was cited by Phoenix Business Journal and Planetizen on articles about gentrification and affordable housing in Tucson, particularly in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods.