The Zero Waste Design Guidelines were developed for New York City by the Center for Architecture, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation. They are an extensive resource for architects, developers and policy makers to address the crucial role that the design of our buildings and city play in achieving circular material loops. The impact of applying the Guidelines goes beyond reducing waste, to improvement of public space, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and trucks on city streets, and more sustainable, just and resilient cities.

The Center for Zero Waste Design was created in April 2019 to share knowledge on Zero Waste Design, adapt the strategies within the Guidelines to the context of other cities, expand the database of case studies, and develop research and policy tools for designing cities and buildings for zero waste. The Center consults with design teams, community organizations and municipalities to integrate best practices for zero waste into programming and design of buildings and the public realm. 


Clare is an architect and systems thinker with experience designing buildings to Passive House, LEED Platinum, Living Building Challenge and AIA COTE Top Ten standards. She has over 20 years of architectural experience, most recently at Kiss + Cathcart, Architects where she helped develop their philosophy of “productive” architecture. Clare led the development of the Zero Waste Design Guidelines through a multidisciplinary and collaborative process. As a certified biomimicry professional, she finds inspiration from natural systems that she applies to the built environment. Clare has also founded a consultancy – ThinkWoven – to develop strategies to weave urban systems into ecosystems. From 2017-2021 Clare was co-chair of the AIANY’s Committee on the Environment.

Parker Limón is an architectural designer, researcher, and artist. He holds a Bachelor’s of Architecture from the Cooper Union. His research forward process investigates objects of social and cultural value. In addition to his architectural work, he has experience in the non-profit sector, in archives, and working with grassroots organizations in Brooklyn.

Jennah Jones is a multidisciplinary designer pursuing a masters in architecture at Columbia GSAPP (’24). Her approach to architecture is informed by her experience in product design, a discipline that centers ethnographic research and community-centered design. She’s passionate about environmental justice and biomaterials, her projects often reimagining waste management through a generative justice lens. Previously she has held design research positions at Julia Watson LLC, the Natural Materials Lab at Columbia GSAPP, and BlocPower.

Emily deGrandpre is an artist researcher interested in expansive relational systems for evolving ecosystems, both intangible and tangible as well as new economic thinking. Previously she investigated socially driven design research at (interviewing Harvard GSD Loeb Fellows) and Sidewalk Labs (2019).

Peter Schon is an industrial designer with over 17 years of experience in product development. While the bulk of his career has focused on medical devices he has, in recent years, turned his attention in toward addressing waste through design. Most recently, he has collaborated with the NYC Department of Sanitation, AIA, and Van Alen to develop the BetterBin competition; an international challenge to redesign NYC’s litter basket. He also co-developing Hack:Trash:NYC; a hackathon-style event to develop innovative solutions to reduce waste in NYC through the theme of “reuse”.

Benjamin Miller is the senior research associate for Freight Programs at the University Transportation Research Center, Region II. A former director of policy planning for the New York City Department of Sanitation (where he was project manager and principal author of the City’s first Solid Waste Management Plan), he is the author of Fat of the Land: Garbage in New York, the Last 200 Years and numerous reports and articles on environmental policy issues.