Geeta Mehta is a faculty affiliate of the Center for Resilient Cities and Landscapes and an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), supporting third-semester Urban Design Studio coursework and academic partnership development.
Geeta has worked on design projects in India, China, Austria, France, Ukraine, Colombia, Brazil, Jamaica, Ghana, and Kenya. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, her M.S. Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia GSAPP, and her Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo.
Geeta is the founder and president of Asia Initiatives, a nonprofit organization started in 1999 that has supported over 200 microcredit banks, 40 village knowledge centers, and supported education and technology initiatives in partnership with local partners in developing countries. Geeta innovated the concept of Social Capital Credits (SoCCs) inspired by carbon credits and airline points. This breakthrough virtual currency for social good is currently in use in India, Ghana, Kenya, and the USA. SoCCs incentivize people to undertake projects in waste management, tree planting, neighborhood improvements, and river restoration in their communities and earn SoCCs, which are then redeemed for telephone talk time, healthcare, education, and skill empowerment. Pedro Sanchez, Director of the Columbia Tropical Agriculture and the Rural Environment Program, World Food Prize recipient, and a MacArthur Fellow, praised SoCCs as “the most transformative and simple idea since Mohammad Yunus launched the microcredit movement.”