Alex Bitterman, MArch, PhD is Associate Professor of Architecture in the Golisano Institute of Sustainability (G.I.S.) at the Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.) in Rochester, New York. G.I.S. is a multidisciplinary academic unit of R.I.T. that undertakes world-class education and research missions in sustainability. G.I.S. academic and research programs focus on the development and analysis of sustainable products, places, spaces, and systems. Faculty and research at G.I.S. collaborate with organizations locally, nationally, and internationally to create pragmatic solutions to meet the complex and ever-changing sustainability landscape.
Dr. Bitterman is an internationally recognized expert in branding, organizational identity, and identity systems. After many years of research he has recently developed a taxonomy of place brands which provides a basis for testing the efficacy of place brands. Over the past decade Dr. Bitterman has made more than 30 conference presentations around the world, and various media appearances including radio and television. Commentary and interviews with Prof. Bitterman have appeared in a number of newspapers, news weeklies, and online publications.
Dr. Bitterman investigates the effectiveness, typology, and functional usability of identity and wayfinding systems for public transit systems along with his research partner, Daniel Baldwin Hess who is on faculty in the School of Architecture & Planning at the University at Buffalo. His work with Dr. Hess on the identity of Bus Rapid Transit systems was recognized with honors in 2005. The team has presented highlights of their innovative research around North America, Europe, and Japan. Scholarly articles stemming from their research have been published in Disability & Society and the Journal of Public Transportation. Drs. Bitterman and Hess work with various public transit agencies across North America to develop responsible and effective public transit brands.
Dr. Bitterman recently completed a three-year research program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts to design and test a brand to identify universally designed spaces, places, products, and systems. Bitterman developed a statistical model to test the effectiveness of the innovative system, and has since presented the design and testing methodologies at the Vision Plus 12 meeting of the International Institute of Information Designers in 2007 in Schwarzenberg, Austria and to other industry and government leaders around the world.
Dr. Bitterman is the founding editor and current editor-in-chief of three scholarly journals, the now defunct Diversity and Design; Multi: the Journal of Diversity and Pluralism in Design a refereed scholarly publication serving a global audience; the journal examines issues of social responsibility in design practice and design education; and the forthcoming Journal of Responsible Architecture & Design that will be published by Berg Publishers. He is also the author of Buffalo is a Cool Place to Live (May 2006 k629 Press, ISBN-13: 978-1-4116-8751-6), as well as Design Survey: a Workbook Introduction to the Design Disciplines (November 2010, Pearson, ISBN 0-536-51736-3) now in its second edition. Previously, as Fred R. Brunkow Fellow at the University at Buffalo, Dr. Bitterman was the editor-in-chief of Intersight and oversaw the development of its first digital edition.
Prior to joining the architecture faculty at R.I.T., Dr. Bitterman was on the design faculty in the R.I.T. College of Imaging Arts and Sciences, home to the world renowned School for American Crafts and Vignelli Center for Design Studies. Prior to coming to R.I.T., Bitterman was a Research Assistant Professor at the School of Architecture & Planning at the University at Buffalo and Director for Information Design and Dissemination at the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDeA). The IDeA Center is a multi-million dollar research center funded by the U.S. Department of Education focusing on developing public and industry awareness and academic pedagogy to underscore the many benefits of inclusive design.
Dr. Bitterman was appointed area chair in 2009 for Material and Design Culture for the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association. He maintains an active relationship with DIS, Denmark’s Institute for Study Abroad, as a guest professor and design critic where he will be a Visiting Professor of Architecture in Spring 2012. He was recognized by the New York State Council for the Humanities and was named a Council Fellow in 2006. He is the proud recipient of the prestigious Richard and Virginia Eisenhart Provost’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at R.I.T. and the Buffalo State College President’s Award for Equity and Diversity in Teaching.
Dr. Bitterman has served on 15 institute committees at R.I.T and recently completed terms as a member at large of the President’s Commission for Diversity and Pluralism, the R.I.T. Architecture Program Study Group, Institute Curriculum Committee for Sustainability, and on the R.I.T. President’s ad hoc Quarter-to-Semester Transition Study Group. Currently he is a member of the G.I.S. Promotion and Tenure Committee, The Campus Aesthetics Committee and the President’s G.L.B.T. Task Force.
Bitterman earned his PhD in American Studies at the University at Buffalo and his dissertation, Brandtopia, surveyed the phenomenon of place branding from 1975 until the present. Bitterman also earned a Masters in Architecture from University at Buffalo.
Dr. Bitterman resides in Buffalo, New York.