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World-renowned urban development planner speaking on topics pertaining to:


  • Urban Investment

  • Neighborhood Revitalization

  • Land Development Planning

  • Market Capture

  • Historic Preservation

  • The Confidence to Invest

  • Transportation Planning

  • Middle East Development

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Rebuilding Planning

  • Zambia Development Planning

  • Baseball Bats

  • New Paradigm for Housing Construction

  • Wetlands Banking

Ralph Tharp, AICP, Principal

Investment programming for urban development projects worldwide has been the focus of Ralph Tharp’s professional urban development career. As an AICP life member, American Institute of Certified Planners and Principal of INNOVACITY he has consulted for clients' unique investment portfolios related to their urban, regional and statewide land holdings, investigating environmental impacts of their projects, investment viability with lending institutions and market expansion desires.  


His objective in development planning has been to create the “The Confidence to Invest” ® in each of his award-winning development projects throughout his 35-year career. He has stated often to clients and peer groups alike, that the essence of urban planning and urban development is investment. Creating that important confidence to use private or public funds wisely when developing sites and protect other’s investments within those targeted communities is essential.


During his mid-career in the 1990s, Tharp created and led the Land Strategies Corporation to focus on the optimum development scenarios for urban place making and development platforms. He was an early pioneer in concepts of wetland banking and taught coursework at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design related to site development planning in regard to wetlands, stormwater drainage, natural landscapes and site design amenities. He has consulted for Walmart, Amazon, Costco, Parsons, Michael Baker International, US Agency for International Development, US Geospatial Intelligence Agency, US Department of Defense, US Army Corps of Engineers, and over 200 communities and counties within the US. His global investment projects include the countries of Germany, England, Qatar, Zambia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Jordan. 


Tharp believes in engaging personally in community change. He renovated the historic Creole Cottage in the City of St. Louis’ Benton Park Neighborhood, a struggling neighborhood near Anheuser-Busch Headquarters where he had written the neighborhood revitalization master plan a few years earlier. That home became the 11th most historic home in St. Louis, receiving an award for historic preservation and restoration. Chosen as the Missouri Planner of the Year in 1994, he was the project lead for the Missouri State Fairgrounds Master Plan of 1997. 


While Vice President of EN Engineering in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tharp led a team of engineers and planners in creating a master plan for the Las Vegas Monorail, a privately-funded project with no government expenditures involved which linked several casinos. In the same capacity, he led a team in master planning the Las Vegas to Los Angeles High Speed Rail project while working closely with Bombardier of Canada in train car designs. His later Thoroughbred Rail Link connecting the Kentucky cities of Louisville with Lexington was noted for its ingenuity and affordable designs. He was honored with a commission as a Kentucky Colonel for his work in creating the Kentucky Capital Development Corporation. 

As a Director of Planning of The Foundation of the Carolinas, he was sent to New York City on loan to develop the Master Plan for Lower Manhattan after the destruction of 9/11. From this project, he was designated to lead a team in the reconstruction of the country of Iraq after the 2003 invasion. In 2008, his master plan for the revitalization of the International Zone of Baghdad was chosen as the most outstanding US Government Master Plan from over 650 federally sponsored master plans conducted that year. It was recognized as a beneficial plan for the country of Iraq by General David Petraeus. His Global Port Baghdad Investment Plan has received $3B in investments since its inception. He was subsequently invited to master plan the revitalization of Afghanistan in 2010 authoring the Comprehensive Investment Plan for Afghanistan.

INNOVACITY is currently developing a paradigm-shifting affordable housing platform made from insulated concrete panels. With communities being impacted negatively by climate change, his EnviroHome concept will provide a hurricane-resistant, flood-resistant and fire-resistant residence that will save investors and insurance companies billions of dollars in damage claims while protecting the lives of homeowners. He has met with the cities of Cleveland, Detroit, Columbus, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Nashville and Louisville to provide special-use areas for these affordable single-family structures. 


Tharp has performed on all aspects of transportation planning and development. His projects include St. Louis’ MetroLink light rail; Mid-America Airport in St. Clair County, Illinois; Las Vegas Mono-Rail; Baghdad International Airport; California High-Speed rail; and Interstate Highways 255, 370, 70 and 39. 

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