Neil Kleiman

Neil Kleiman
Clinical Assistant Professor of Public Service

Neil Kleiman has spent nearly 20 years building a career at the intersection of many sectors—policy, media, philanthropy, government and academia. He has established new organizations and divisions within organizations focused on developing innovative and practical policy solutions. Neil has written and edited over thirty policy reports and his work has been featured in many media outlets including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week and National Public Radio.

In February 2011, Neil joined New York University to create new vehicles focused on urban innovation nationally and globally. Neil has established the first set of initiatives including projects with Bloomberg Philanthropies, federal agencies in the Obama administration and the New Cities Foundation.

Neil was previously the Director of Policy and Research at Living Cities, a collaborative of the nation's largest foundations and corporate philanthropies, where he was responsible for developing and advancing the organization's policy agenda. In this capacity he produced reports on environmental sustainability, home foreclosure and public/private partnerships. In 2008, in partnership with the Kennedy School at Harvard University, he helped to create the Project on Municipal Innovation, which is currently the only forum in the country where mayoral advisors meet to learn about and begin implementing innovative policy reforms.

Neil began his career as the founding director of the Center for an Urban Future, a New York City-based think tank whose work is consistently cited in local media outlets. The group has been the source of transition ideas for numerous mayoral and gubernatorial candidates and administrations, and is widely credited with providing the framework for new approaches to local governance including: a more comprehensive cultural strategy; the merger of workforce and economic development functions; and an enhanced tech-focused approach to job growth.

Neil holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has taught urban politics at Barnard College and John Jay College-CUNY and been a visiting fellow at Williams College.

Neil is on the board of Next City and Civic Consulting USA.

Semester Course
Spring 2015 URPL-GP.2629.001 Innovations in US Cities: New Ideas in Policy Management and Planning

Governments are undergoing a shift—some might say a revolution—in their approach to operations, service delivery and policy making. With the rise of infinitely complex issues such as globally linked economies and climate change, as well as growing gaps in confidence in the ability of the public sector to address these challenges, prevailing governance approaches no longer seem adequate. There is a move to more innovative approaches – that tap into open platforms, cross agency collaborations, public/private partnerships, and public engagement to extend reach and enhance public value creation. 

With a focus on local government, this course will provide a comprehensive overview of the many facets of a new government paradigm that is taking root in various forms throughout the US. The curriculum is designed to function as a live-lab in which students learn new approaches and tools and directly engage in innovations as they’re happening.  Students themselves will be contributing to the understanding of this nascent field.     

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