Ken Zimmerman is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Urban Planning of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. Ken’s research examines new forms of social advocacy and policy development in the urban environment, with a special focus on evolving mechanisms for civic engagement and innovative approaches to address growing inequality. Ken, a noted policy maker, fair housing expert, and civil rights attorney, has devoted his career to justice and equality issues. Prior to joining the NYU Furman Center, Kenn served as the Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Foundations, where he oversaw the annual dissemination of over $100 million in grants to organizations focused on equality, fairness, and justice. Before joining Open Society Foundations, he served as part of the Obama Administration’s presidential transition team for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and served as senior advisor to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. Previously, he was a litigation partner for the pro bono practice group at Lowenstein Sandler PC, chief counsel to New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine, and founding Executive Director of the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice. Early in his career, Ken served as a Senior Trial Attorney, then Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Programs, in HUD’s Office of Fair Housing. He also served as a Skadden Legal Fellow at the Legal Aid Society of Alameda County, California, and at the Washington D.C. Legal Clinic for the Homeless. Ken graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Yale University in 1982 and earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School, also graduating magna cum laude, in 1988.
This course expands upon an introductory understanding of housing and community development policy by focusing on how key policy drivers, the current political moment, and core stakeholders are likely to create and/or limit opportunities moving forward. The course will examine the ways that policy does and does not change, primarily by focusing on selected high-profile issues such as gentrification, efforts to address racial inequality, and the shifting relationship between the public and private sectors. It will also use the leading policy proposals from 2020 Presidential candidates to better understand the dynamics at play. A key goal for the course is to further students’ policy development understanding and skills through examination of the key political factors that influence the development of housing and community development policy and the leverage points and forms of intervention that public and private sector actors use.