Doctoral Program in Public and Urban Policy

Explore the most recent blog posts below to learn more about the program. Visit the PhD in Public and Urban Policy page on The New School’s official site to learn about degree requirements, application information, program faculty, FAQs, other PhD students and graduates, and more.

News and Notes | Fall 2019

Awards and Honors

Helidah Ogudeh was awarded a Fellowship at Oxford’s Refugee Study Center to work on her Ph.D. for a term of 10 weeks

Writing and Research

Andres Bernal was a featured co-author in Business Insider and was interviewed in Colombia’s El Tiempo speaking on the Green New Deal.

Cristina Handel co-authored the article Gating Tegucigalpa, Honduras: The paradoxical effects of “Safer Barrios” now available on Taylor & Francis Online

Nicole Mader co-authored a report on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to end use of the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) published by the Center for New York City Affairs

Presentations and Appearances

The Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law at Harvard Law School presented “Attempted Sin: Thought Crimes in Jewish Law” a lecture by David Bashevkin on September 16, 2019.

Andres Bernal was a panelist at this year’s International Conference on Modern Monetary Theory Conference and the Working Together for a Green New Deal event in Austin, Texas.

David Lopez Garcia co-organized a panel titled: Mobility and Social Inclusion for Local Economic Development: Towards New Understandings of Urban Accessibility at the Latin American Annual Conference of the Regional Studies Association (RSA) in Bogota, Colombia.

Martha Susana Jaimes presented at the Poster Sessions at the Retirement Research Consortium Meeting in Washington DC as one of three Dissertation Fellows from the Social Security Administration and the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Martha will also be presenting at the workshop “Productivity, International Economics, and Gender” in Cali, Colombia.

Kea Fiedler Research Colloquium | Spring 2019

Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Hudson Yards: The Cost of Redevelopment
Presentation by Bridget Fisher, Associate Director, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) and Flávia Leite, SCEPA Research Associate
Tax increment financing (TIF) has exploded in popularity on the municipal finance landscape as cities increasingly compete for scarce public resources to fund economic development projects. Previous studies evaluate TIF’s efficacy and its ability to spark economic growth. This research expands the evaluation of TIF by questioning the widespread understanding of TIF as a “self-financing” tool through an analysis of its risks and full cost to taxpayers. We present a case study of the Hudson Yards redevelopment project in New York City, the country’s largest TIF-type project. Our analysis reveals a project that, rather than being “self-financing,” cost the city $2.2 billion, largely due to tax breaks to incentivize development and standard development risks and costs. We conclude that positioning TIF and its variants as “self-financing” is incomplete and that analyzing costs and risks associated with TIF and TIF-variant projects is necessary to provide a robust cost-benefit analysis to those municipalities considering its implementation.

Bridget Fisher, Associate Director, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA)
Bridget Fisher is a communications specialist with a background in government and public affairs. Before joining SCEPA, she was a senior press officer in The New School’s communications department working with social science departments across the university. She came to higher education from government. In New York, she served as chief of staff for a member of the New York City Council and director of communications for the Working Families Party. On Capitol Hill, she served as press secretary and legislative assistant for a member of the U.S. Congress. Bridget graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., with a bachelor’s degree in public communication and women’s studies. She received her master’s degree in public administration with a focus on urban economic development from CUNY’s Baruch College.

Flávia Leite, SCEPA Research Associate
Flávia Leite holds a MS in Urban Policy Analysis and Management from Milano (2017) and a BA in economics from the University of São Paulo (2014). She is currently working as an advisor at São Paulo Parcerias, a mixed capital company linked to the municipality of São Paulo, Brazil. She is also a research assistant at SCEPA, investigating the financing structure and impacts of the Hudson Yards Project in NYC. Her areas of specialization are urban planning and development and housing policy. Previously she served as an analyst at P3urb, a Brazilian Consultancy, as Public Policy fellow for the Citizens Budget Commission in NYC and interned for the International Finance Corporation (IFC- The World Bank).

Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Is the Social Security’s Delayed Retirement Credit Regressive? The effect of differential mortality rates
Presentation by Martha Susana Jaimes, Public and Urban Policy PhD student
Using Health and Retirement Study (HRS) data linked to administrative Social Security records, this study investigates the relationship between claim age and subsequent mortality, and the impact of the trend towards greater dispersion in claim ages on Social Security finances. To answer this question, I use a hazard model to examine 1) the extent to which those who delay claiming have lower mortality, and 2) whether adverse selection reflects correlations between socioeconomic status and both claim ages and subsequent mortality or the influence of subjective mortality beliefs. My preliminary studies using self­reported data indicate that early claimers have substantially higher mortality than those who delay. An implication of this result is that the Social Security’s delayed retirement credit might be more than actuarially fair to those who actually delay claiming.

Martha Susana Jaimes is a doctoral student in the Public and Urban Policy program at the New School. She has a BS in Economics and MA in Economics from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. Her research focuses on retirement policy and gender. She is a former research associate at the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) at The New School as part of the Retirement Equity Lab team. She has taught different economics courses, including History of Economic Thought, Economic Theory Analysis, Economic History, and Macroeconomics.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019
Black Workers and the Rise of Precarious Employment in the U.S.
Presentation by Ofronama Biu, Public and Urban Policy PhD student
Workers in nonstandard employment arrangements–those that are on-call, temporary, or contract-based–are more susceptible to poverty. Precarious jobs offer fewer employment protections, lower pay, and are less likely to provide benefits such as health insurance and retirement coverage. These growing trends have implications for workers who tend to be in the most vulnerable positions in the labor market.

American jobs have been mostly segregated since the middle of the 20th century. Black women and men have been systematically crowded into low wage occupations (such as sales) and crowded out of high wage occupations (such as management), even when they have the requisite educational requirements for the jobs. Given that occupational crowding exists based on wages, this work tests the hypothesis that Black workers are also overrepresented in precarious employment.

This presentation explores the existing research on occupational crowding and how Black women and men are under or over-represented in nonstandard work in today’s labor market. Ultimately the goal of the research is to understand how precarious employment impacts other aspects of the social safety net for vulnerable workers.

Ofronama Biu is a PhD candidate at the Milano School of Policy, Management, and the Environment at The New School. Her research interests include labor market policies and racial and gender stratification

Monday, April 1, 2019
Challenging the Role of Incentives for Urban Development: The Case of privatized Public Space in NYC and Tel Avi
Presentation by Liat Eisen, Public and Urban Policy PhD student
The use of incentives by the public sector as a means to rely on the private sector to provide public amenities has became a catalyst for urban development in the past three decades. Privatized urban public space is the spatial manifestation of such incentives, which constitutes a platform for a broad debate among sociologists, political scientists, economists and policymakers about the notion and consequences of commodification of urban public space.

This presentation discusses the role of incentives for urban development by examining the case of privatized urban public spaces in NYC as a result of 1961 zoning resolution and its impact on the proliferation of Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) in advanced global cities.

Case studies of POPS in Tel Aviv known as exaction – developers’ requirement to provide public amenities as a condition for receiving permits – reflect the struggle of implementing the NYC model without a well-established infrastructure of laws and regulations. This study critically evaluate the process of exactions, which also takes place as ‘planning deals”. It raises questions about the notion of POPS as a truly public space by investigating the effectiveness of using incentives. Are incentives the only choice? What can be the alternatives?

Liat Eisen is an architect, urban planner and a PhD candidate for public and urban policy at the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environmental at the New School. Liat’s research interests include privatization of urban public space, incentives for urban development, spatial politics and conflict resolution in divided cities.

In her last position, as part of her PhD field work in Israel, she served as the chief architect of Jerusalem at the Planning Administration at the Ministry of Finance where she played a pivotal role in the decision making process on municipal issues and in determining future policies in accordance with the demographic, economic and political changes. Liat achieved her master degree in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University. Upon graduation Liat joined IBI group Gruzen Samton and worked on urban renewal and government projects in NYC and Washington DC. Additionally, she has gained international experience in teaching architecture and urban design in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Paris and NY.

Thursday, April 25, 2019
Globalization as Intra-Regional Urban Planning Design and Policy: Case Studies from the UAE to North Africa
Presentation by Emie Eshmawy, Public and Urban Policy PhD student
This presentation explores and observes the effects of globalization on the decision-making process which leads more developed Arab states to design, plan and implement megacities in socio-culturally similar developing countries. The UAE has successfully exported megacity urban designs to intra-regional North African nations; examples include Capital Cairo in Egypt and the Tunisian Economic City in Tunisia where lookalike cities highly resemble Abu Dhabi and neighboring Dubai. Megacities conceptualized and designed in Gulf states by firms for developing Arab countries represent a modern intra-regional “flow of ideas”. Globalized cities in the UAE meet the demands of the 21st century, ultimately becoming desirable to neighboring developing nations seeking to increase urban economic productivity and revitalize urban neighborhoods. However, a systematic study on the influence Gulf initiated city designs have on North African nations has been minimal. By analyzing the opinions and perspectives of stakeholders designing and planning megacities in Abu Dhabi for nearby Arab States, the research seeks to understand the impacts of globalization on the “flow of ideas” intra-regionally in the Middle East.

Emie Eshmawy is a two time Fulbright alternate, a former Presidential Management Fellow, and former National Security Education Program Boren Fellow currently serving as the New York & New Jersey Regional Relocation Specialist in the Division of Community, Planning and Development with the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) in New York City. In addition to HUD, Emie has held rotations at State Department and the Library of Congress. She is a Milano PhD candidate with ABD status and an approved doctoral proposal, and, a teaching fellow at the New School in the NSPE, Lang and Parsons departments. By trade, Emie is an urban designer/planner and infrastructure economist focusing on federal policy in the United States and Arab states. Her academic research focus is on globalization, Arab national urban planning policies and infrastructure economics.

The Colloquium is a space where scholars and students of the Public and Urban Policy doctoral program and share their ongoing research with The New School community. It is organized by the Public and Urban Policy Doctoral Student Association and co-sponsored by The New School University Student Senate and the Milano Dean’s Office.

Public and Urban Policy Doctoral Student Association advocates for the needs of doctoral students at Milano; facilitates networking, community building, and career opportunities; supports student research; serves as ambassadors for the program; and contributes to the development of the program and its students.


Recent PhD Public and Urban Policy Posts

The Magnitude of Low-Paid Gig and Independent Contract Work in New York State

Photo credits: Matias Campa By Lina Moe, James A. Parrott, and Jason Rochford Apps and algorithms have had a profound impact on the way we live and work. In recent years, the rise of on-demand labor platforms (e.g. Uber and TaskRabbit) has dominated headlines and offered one vision of what the future of work might hold. While contract jobs mediated through labor platforms promise flexibility and the opportunity to earn supplemental income for some workers, such “gig work” is often unstable, low paid, and lacks the basic labor protections and benefits afforded to traditional employees. In the wake of California's ...
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Pooya Ghorbani (MS ’11, PhD ’18) Named Lincoln Institute Scholar

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy hosts a program that provides recent PhDs specializing in public finance or urban economics the opportunity to work with senior economists. Pooya Ghorbani (MS ’11, PhD ’18) is one of nine junior scholars named a 2019 Lincoln Institute Scholar. Pooya’s research project focuses on taxation of commercial properties in New York City, and explores the outcomes of an alternative taxation methodology in terms of maximizing aggregate property values and improving tax consistency across locations and property types. In developing this work, he will receive feedback from senior economist Daniel McMillen, Professor of Economics at ...
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Milano Students Co-Author New Report Released by the Center for New York City Affairs

  Nicole Mader, Melanie Quiroz, and Carmen Cheung co-authored a new Center for New York City Affairs (CNYCA) study on the proposal to change admission policy at the city’s specialized high schools. Nicole told the New York Daily News that the new plan isn’t “a simple matter of winners and losers, like a lot of people assume. It’s not a zero-sum game.” Nicole is a senior research fellow at the Center and Ph.D. candidate in public and urban policy at The Milano School. Melanie is an education policy data analyst at the Center pursuing a master’s degree in public and ...
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New Director of the Public and Urban Policy Doctoral Program

Michael Cohen has been named the new director of the PhD program in Public and Urban Policy at the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment. Michael will assume directorship of the doctoral program on July 1, succeeding Darrick Hamilton, who became the Executive Director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University. In accepting this appointment, Michael noted, “I have been very encouraged by the broad faculty interest in contributing to the doctoral program across the University and the shared belief between students and faculty that collectively we can build on ...
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Congratulations, Spring 2019 Graduates!

Highlights from the Milano School Master’s, PhD, and Certificate Candidates Recognition Ceremony, May 16, 2019 2019 Milano School Recognition Ceremony   The Evening in Pictures:  Recognition Ceremony 2019 Slideshow 2019 Student Speaker  Grace Saraspi Peñaranda 2019 Student Awards Recipients of the Distinguished Student Award Hanin Haithan Khawaja Grace Saraspi Peñaranda Recipient of the John Clinton Outstanding Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management Student Award Caroline Thompson MS in Environmental Policy and Sustainability Management Best Paper Award Maria C. Coello, Exploring the Impacts of Aerial Fumigation on Communities Near Banana Farms in the Province of Los Rios, Ecuador Recipient of the MS ...
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