Sarah Ludwig is founder and co-director of New Economy Project, based in NYC. Founded in 1995, New Economy Project seeks to build an economy rooted in racial and economic justice, cooperation, neighborhood equity, and ecological sustainability. As a longtime leader in the movement for community financial justice and neighborhood equity, Ms. Ludwig has testified at numerous public hearings, trained hundreds of community organizers and advocates, and built and led effective coalitions that address manifestations of structural racism and other systemic inequities in our economy. Ms. Ludwig serves on the board of directors of the Center for Responsible Lending, and from 2003 to 2017 taught and co-taught courses in community equity and wealth-building at NYU Wagner School, as well as several urban planning Capstone courses. Ms. Ludwig is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, received a master’s degree in urban planning from NYU Wagner, and a law degree from NYU School of Law, where she was an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Fellow.
There is no profession more noble than public service, and no arena more exciting than New York. Our objective is to gain insight into how our city and state governments make decisions, informed by a foundational and wide-ranging understanding of the forces at work and issues that face policymakers today. I am teaching this class because of my longstanding—and ever-expanding—interest in the practice of public policy and a deeply held belief that the effectiveness of our government depends on the quality of those who serve in it. In the first half of the semester, we will examine the structures of New York City and State government and the recent historical and political context in which they operate. This background will be used in the second half of the semester to explore a range of public policy debates in areas such as economic development, transportation and infrastructure, public education, public safety and housing and homelessness. Emphasis throughout will be placed on the practicalities of decision-making and the messy, politicized and conflict-rich environment in which public policy is hammered out. We will be joined by a number of guest speakers from the worlds of journalism, government, business and advocacy.