Advanced Economic Policy Analysis

How to make decisions in light of pervasive uncertainties? How to think about incentive structures faced by decision-makers, and think through unintended consequences of one’s decisions?

Economics, for better or worse, is organized common sense. No more, also no less. This class makes use of the toolkit given to us by economics and applies them to real-world policy problems.

Environmental Infrastructure for Sustainable Cities

Sustainability requires the efficient use of resources.  The least carbon- and energy-intensive pattern of settlement today is in compact, walkable cities whose integrated networks of infrastructure that allows us to move, eat, drink, play, and survive extreme weather.  As our population shifts to urban and coastal areas, we will need to build more infrastructure systems to accommodate growth and to increase sustainability.  Yet we are building too little, too slow to maintain our existing infrastructure, let alone to facilitate next generation systems that will accelerate our society to a

Climate Economics

Economics—misguided market forces—is at the core of most environmental problems. Economics—guiding market forces in the right direction—is also fundamental to the solution.

In this course we develop some of the fundamental economic tools for environmental policy analysis and management: Economics 101 applied to environmental problems—often, though not exclusively, focused on climate change.

We will also go well beyond that initial Econ 101 take, narrowly defined. In fact, focusing exclusively on Econ 101 may sometimes be positively misleading.

Managing for Environmental Sustainability

This 7-week short course provides a general introduction to environmental sustainability and touches on the science, concepts, and strategies used to “green” businesses, organizations, and individuals’ lifestyles. Modern consumers are demanding sustainability from organizations where they utilize or buy goods and services and in which they invest. Modern management and policy leaders, then, need to know what environmental sustainability is and which tools are available to improve the footprint of their organizations and businesses. 

Environmental Finance and Social Impact

This course will provide students a thorough understanding of how key environmental challenges can be addressed through innovative financing and investment strategies.  Topics will include an overview of the main financial instruments and the key thematic areas of the growing field of environmental finance.  Students will be introduced to instruments, structures and investment approaches to achieving positive environmental outcomes and impact including, but not limited to private market investments, renewables, climate and green bonds, water investments, and conservation finance.

Topics in Urban Studies: The Uprising for Racial Justice

Seemingly out of nowhere, the largest movement in U.S. history ignited in 2020, when an estimated 15 to 26 million people protested the televised killing of a handcuffed, unarmed man named George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. A wide range of law enforcement reforms have followed, including the use of body-worn cameras, community-based anti-violence efforts, decriminalization of minor offenses and retraining of officers.

Geographic Information Systems

Understanding geographic relationships between people, land use, and resources is fundamental to planning. Urban planners routinely use spatial analysis to inform decision-making. This course will introduce students to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a tool to analyze and visualize spatial data. The course will emphasize the core functions of GIS: map making, data management, and spatial analysis. Students will learn cartographic best practices, how to find and create spatial data, spatial analysis methodology, and how to approach problem solving from a geographic perspective.

Transportation, Land Use, and Urban Form

This is an introductory course in urban transportation planning. The course is divided into 3 parts. Part One is a foundational review of theories and research about the complex relationships among transportation, land use and urban form.  Part Two examines certain key factors that today’s transportation planners deal with as transportation and land use interact in the context of planning and projects. Part Three involves a review of some of the most notable transportation and land use plans, projects and problems facing the New York City metropolitan region.

Water Sourcing and Climate Change

In the coming decades, water will be the central issue in global economic development and health. With one in six people around the world currently lacking access to safe drinking water (1.2 billion people), and more than two out of six lacking adequate sanitation (2.6 billion people), water is already a critical factor affecting the social and economic well-being of a sizable proportion of the world's population.

Planning for Emergencies and Disasters

The consequences of disastrous events are escalating across the world, for example, in terms of lives lost, injuries, adverse social conditions, economic costs and environmental destruction. Furthermore, the rapidity of action required when an emergency arises poses unique challenges to traditional planning and the provision of public services.

Public Policy and Planning in New York

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.

Urbanization Policy in China: Untangling the Mystery

In the past 20 years, China moved about 300 million people, similar in size to the US population, from rural to urban areas. The same trend will likely continue in the next 20 years. The massive and rapid urbanization poses tremendous challenges to the environment and sustainability, but also offers great opportunities for industrial restructuring and economic development. Interestingly, many policies in China could be categorized as anti-urbanization as they discourage population migration to large cities, especially Beijing and Shanghai.