Ralph Tharp, AICP had created his urban development consultancy, Innovacity LLC, in order to bring the essential “confidence to invest” into the community revitalization arena. Urban and regional security is essential to our community economic viability.
Mr. Tharp was a professional military intelligence analyst for the U.S. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency for over ten years. He was brought to Afghanistan by the Coalition forces to conduct countrywide security and force protection analysis. He has also conducted force protection analysis in Iraq, and most recently at the Government of Iraq Air Force Base at
Balad Air Base.
Ralph has recently surveyed the Detroit urban environment and included some of his objective findings in an article for, ThisBigCity.com, on April 10, 2014 titled “Buffalo Falls and Detroit One: New Urban Monikering in the Global Economy”
Mr. Tharp is a professional member of the American Institute of Certified Planners with over thirty years of professional experience. Ralph began the first years of his career as a Senior Cartographer and GIS Specialist for the US Air Force’s Defense Mapping Agency in St.Louis, Missouri, which is now the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency; and worked with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He has a Bachelor Degree in Geographic Information Systems and a Master’s Degree in City and Regional Planning, both from Southern Illinois University. He has completed work on an MBA with concentration in Project Management from Webster University of St. Louis.
Mr. Tharp has over twelve years of professional development experience within the International community and has numerous awards for his work in various project locations. These projects encompassed his work with CH2M Hill and Michael Baker International, two leading global firms in community development.
His transportation planning experience includes urban rail, commuter rail and light rail planning and development projects worldwide. He has also been invited to perform expert witness testimony on the major light rail system in Missouri, Illinois, California, Nevada, Arizona; the Middle East and the planning for their corridors and subsequent TOD projects, and several EIS studies for major interstate highway systems. Mr. Tharp was the lead planner for a feasibility and design study for a high-speed rail project linking Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Nevada. He completed master planning for the new Las Vegas Monorail System and its TOD along the Las Vegas Strip. He has completed brown-field redevelopment projects throughout the Midwest, specifically in Chicago and the largest wetlands mitigation projects in North Carolina and Illinois.
Throughout his extensive career Mr. Tharp has engineered many innovative and proven urban and development planning tools. Of those used specifically for commercial development planning purposes has been the development of “commercial planning districts” and “development platforms” for use in planning programs for development firms and within large communities or counties. An additional process has been the development of a very popular public participation tool in planning, that of the “Town Planning Charrettes TM” which was presented at the first National Mayors Conference on Urban Design almost twenty years ago. Ralph has planned, designed and developed the master plan and zoning documents for two of the largest commercial development projects in the State of Illinois at the 1,000 plus acre Collinsville Eastport Development Park and at the 2,000 plus acre Columbia Southport Development Park. He has also worked on surveying projects with NASA on satellite imagery applications in land planning and design. His professional civilian airport planning and design experience includes Lambert International Airport- St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas City International Airport-Kansas City, Missouri; O’Hare International Airport- Chicago, Illinois; McCarran International Airport Las Vegas, Nevada; Baghdad International Airport- Baghdad, Iraq and Kabul International Airport-Kabul, Afghanistan.
Ralph participated as an urban planner for redevelopment planning with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, New York, after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. From this assignment he was invited to Iraq to work with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. He worked on Iraq Reconstruction Management involving over $5B of AFCEE contracts in 2004-2010. His “Baghdad International Zone Redevelopment Master Plan” was named the “Most Outstanding US Federal Plan of 2008” and was additionally recognized by an award from General David Petraeus. He completed a Master Plan called “Global Port Baghdad” for the US Coalition Forces and the Government of Iraq, which has received $13B in worldwide investment to date. In 2006 he was tasked with completing a nationwide comprehensive plan for military facilities across Afghanistan. Through this contract he completed the Master Plan for the Afghan Military Academy at Charge with assistance from the US Military Academy at West Point. He was bestowed the honorary title of “Kentucky Colonel” by Governor Steven Beshear in 2010. He recently presented at the Fifth World Symposium on International Urban Planning and the Environment at Oxford University in England; worked closely with the Chief Planner for the City of London; presented at the Royal Town Planning Institute in Birmingham, England; and at the World Heritage Sites Symposium in Telford, England.