The Walter Stafford Project: Inequality in New York City

Bringing together specialists from diverse disciplines and practices to address inequality in New York City

Economic, racial, and social inequalities have always existed in New York City, but they have especially worsened in recent years. The late Walter W. Stafford, NYU Wagner Professor of Public Policy, studied and engaged these issues all his life. The Walter Stafford Project on Inequality in New York City invites academics to continue his work. Consistent with Professor Stafford's research, community activism, and engagement with public policy, the Project seeks to deepen research on inequality in New York and make that research useful for activists, policymakers, and academics as they seek to reduce inequality.

In the last half-century, academic and public policy writing on inequality in New York City has been characterized by specialists working in isolation from one another. The results are extensive micro-views of people, communities, and issues. The dialogue is missing a broad overview of what has occurred, identification of important trends, and bridging work between diverse sectors. The impacts of decision-making and economic developments on people and communities have been largely unrecorded. The focus of this project is to bring together specialists from diverse disciplines and practices to begin to understand what has and is occurring regarding inequality in New York City.

In the Fall of 2016 the WS Project organized a symposium on the Structure of Race and Inequality in NYC.  Paper presented at the symposium by academics and policy researchers were discussed by invited practitioners,  policy makers, and community activists. After the symposium authors of the papers presented worked with the organizers of symposium to revise their respective papers .  The papers have been edited and compiled into an anthology entitled, Racial Inequality in New York City: Looking Backward and Forward. The anthology will be released by SUNY Press this year.

Organizers of  the Walter Stafford Project are currently planning a series of roundtable  community conversations on a number of the areas covered in the anthology including: Housing, Policing, Health, Education and Immigrants. Read more about the Symposium, or please consider donating to support this project as in continues into its next phase of Community Conversations.

Project organizers:

Project sponsor:
New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service


To promote and publicize the results of the symposium and the community dialogues, we will disseminate these results in two ways. One is that an anthology comprised of revised symposium papers that reflect the discussions a the symposium will be published in fall 2018. The other is that we will hold post-publication events/discussions to distribute the anthology and to consider recommendations on how to better monitor and reduce inequality.

Event dates and locations will be listed here as they become available. 

Key Dates

  • October 13-14, 2016: Symposium
  • Fall 2017: Revising, editing and preparing the Anthology for publication
  • Fall 2018: Community Roundtable Conversations and Policy Prescriptions.


Chelli Devadutt

Andrea Gordillo, Graduate Assistant,


We greatly appreciate efforts to support this project.

Donate Now

We ask that you join us if support of the Walter Stafford Project on Inequality in New York City. Your donation to this very important initiative will help fund the planning and implementation of the symposium as well as the publication and dissemination of the symposium anthology. Together, we can advance research and better understand inequality in New York City.

Donate now to ensure important conversations, research, and policies that address NYC's economic, racial, and social inequalities continue to be present, relevant, and effective.