Monthly Event

A Fireside Chat with Prema Gupta and Rebecca Johnson

This Event Has Passed


Thursday, January 18, 2024

6:00 PM - 7:30 PM


In-Person at the Center for Architecture - 1218 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA


Prema Gupta will become president and CEO of the Center City District on January 1, 2024.  She will join us on January 18th at a Fireside Chat with Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director of AIA Philadelphia. Gupta, in dialogue with Johnson, will share stories of her professional development, perspectives on the economic health and vibrancy of Philadelphia, and her experiences shaping the future of Center City, and the larger Philadelphia community.


Light refreshments will be served.


RSVP is not required (since we're in person), however it helps us get a head count. 

Previous DAG Monthly Events

Archived | 2023-12-14

Unlocking the Benjamin Franklin Parkway's Potential as a Great Urban Park

Archived | 2023-11-02

Fireside Chat with Anne Fadullon

Archived | 2023-10-19

A Conversation about 76 Place with David Adelman and Jordan Goldstein


Prema Gupta

Prema Katari Gupta is Vice President of Parks and Public Realm for
Center City District (CCD) and Executive Director of the Central
Philadelphia Development Corporation (CPDC). Her wide-ranging experience as a strategic leader in economic development, public-private real estate development and place-making has positioned her a leader who can span the breadth of the work of Center City District.


Gupta’s tenure at CCD began in February 2020 as Vice President for Parks and Public Realm. In that role, she leads oversight and supervises staff and management of physical assets, operations and infrastructure of the four parks currently owned by or leased to CCD: Dilworth Park adjacent to City Hall, which hosted 8.9 million visitors in 2022; Sister Cities Park, a multigenerational park with a focus on engaging families with young children; Cret Park on the 1600 block of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway; and John F. Collins Park on the 1700 block of Chestnut Street. More at

She oversees the day-to-day management and continuous improvement of these parks, as well as the extensive streetscape enhancements that the CCD has made during the last two decades and continues to expand and maintain. These include pedestrian-scale and building facade lighting, planters, street trees, directional signs, pedestrian counting technology and other streetscape improvements across the entire downtown. More at


In February 2022, Gupta was appointed Executive Director of the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation (CPDC), succeeding CCD President and CEO Paul R. Levy. In that role, her responsibilities include busines recruitment and retention, communications, meeting content and logistics. She also manages CCD/CPDC planning and research projects, including the annual State of Center City report.


Immediately prior to joining CCD, Gupta served as Senior Vice President of Planning and Real Estate Development for the Philadelphia Navy Yard at PIDC (2015-2020). In that role, she led a team managing all aspects of strategic partnerships, planning, leasing, real estate development, marketing, communications, capital projects, site stewardship, public transportation, and property management at the Navy Yard on behalf of PIDC.

From 2010 to 2015, was the Director of Planning and Economic Development at University City District, where she was responsible for the development, execution and stewardship of several prominent civic real estate projects, including The Porch at 30th Street Station as well as other innovative public space improvements throughout University City, such as Philadelphia’s first parklets.

From 2007 to 2010, she worked for PIDC in the Real Estate Services group, where she managed a variety of real estate transactions and planning efforts in PIDC’s Center City real estate office. Additionally, she has worked at Yale University and as scholar-in-residence at the Urban Land Institute, where she wrote a book about place-making and mixed-use development entitled Creating Great Town Centers and Urban Villages, published in 2008.

Gupta is a member of the Urban Land Institute national council on public-private partnerships, she serves on the board of the Fairmount Park Conservancy and is a trustee of The Philadelphia Award. She has been recognized by the Philadelphia Business Journal as “40 under 40,” and in 2019, was recognized by CREW Philadelphia as one of 20 Women Changing the Philadelphia Landscape.

Originally from Connecticut, Gupta lives in West Mount Airy with her husband and two school-age children. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College, a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design and a certificate in real estate development from the Wharton School.

Rebecca Johnson

Prior to joining AIA Philadelphia and the Center for Architecture, Johnson served as executive director of the Fairmount Community Development Corporation (CDC), where she advised developers on commercial and residential projects. She also led initiatives to grow the Greater Art Museum Business Alliance (GAMBA) in the Fairmont community. Johnson, a Philadelphia resident  for the past 12 years, has served as a land-use and zoning attorney at Scenic Philadelphia (formerly SCRUB), and other law offices in the greater Philadelphia area, where she worked on land development projects, land use legislation, building codes, and design standards.