Master of Science in Public and Urban Policy

Our graduate program produces leaders committed to public service who are prepared to go out in the world—and change it. Visit the Master of Science in Public and Urban Policy page at to learn about degree requirements, application information, program faculty, and the urban policy lab.

Master of Science in Public and Urban Policy Fact Sheet

Master of Science Public and Urban Policy
2019 Graduate Student Award Winners

Angela Clare Butel | Jacob M. Kaplan Award
Angela Butel focused her studies in the Public and Urban Policy program around quantitative methods and design strategies; her capstone project looked at implementation of service design initiatives in city government. Outside the classroom, she worked as a research assistant at the Center for New York City Affairs, contributing to reports on child care, child welfare, and the City and State budgets. This summer, Angela is moving to Portland, OR, to begin a fellowship with the City Budget Office with the City of Portland.

Emily Jane Oppenheimer | Best Professional Decision Report: “Designing Equitable and Sustainable Models for Microgrids” for WE ACT for Environmental Justice
In May 2019, Emily Oppenheimer earned an MS in Public and Urban Policy from the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment. Her final project was a Professional Decision Report for the Harlem-based nonprofit WE ACT for Environmental Justice entitled “Designing Equitable and Sustainable Economic Models for Microgrids.” Her report focused on New York’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” strategy, which is a set of resolutions aimed to incentivize utilities to embrace new roles in the energy market that enable them to better and more fairly incorporate distributed renewables like rooftop solar and wind. It includes a full analysis of the implications of this strategy for microgrid development, increased incorporation of distributed renewables into the central grid system, and the potential for low-income communities and communities of color to leverage new technologies and policy tools to increase their own capacity for local, democratic planning around energy use and resiliency. She plans to pursue work in the fields of environmental, climate, and energy policy.

Nicholas Bohan Martin | Best Professional Decision Report: “Vacant Property Speculation and Vacant Property Registration in New York City” for Picture the Homeless

Applied Hands-on Learning. Collaborative. Solution Focused.

Now more than ever, there is a need for sound public and urban policy that upholds our values of equity and social justice. Cities are where inclusive and innovative policies are tested and grown and we use these settings as laboratories for informing effective public policies that give back to the community.

Urban Policy Lab | Featured Projects

The Urban Policy Lab course taken in the second semester of the first year is an applied policy-analysis experience in which students work together in small teams to resolve a policy issue for a public or nonprofit decision-maker.

Workforce Development in the Food Sector

Urban Policy Lab Student Team: Keri Springett, Angela Butel, Eben Fenton, Hugo Fausto Torres-Fetsco, Alix Scherer

Client: Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration)

Central Policy Issue: How can Restoration offer opportunities for career advancement in the food sector?

Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the nation’s first Community Development organization, asked the student team to enhance their workforce development program and increase retention. The team focused on the food industry, concentrating their research on institutional dining, catering, inventory management, and grocery. In their analysis of these areas of the food sector, the team considered such criteria as the number of job openings, opportunities for career advancement, and training costs, and recommended that Restoration concentrate their efforts on the grocery industry. The team presented their recommendations in an oral briefing and subsequent report. They recommended that Restoration build targeted partnerships within the grocery industry, close the skills gap with training, and add programs to assist with employment retention.

Improving Lease-Up Rates for Housing Choice Voucher Holders

Urban Policy Lab Student Team: Heather Beck, St. Clair Logan, Antonio Parisi, Alix Scherer

Client: NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

Central Policy Issue: How can HPD improve lease-up rates for Housing Choice Voucher holders?

Housing Choice Vouchers help low-income households pay for housing in the private market. “Leasing-up” refers to the ability of voucher recipients to find an apartment and sign a lease. Lease-up rates have decreased in recent years and HPD asked the students for ideas on how to reverse this trend. The team explored what cities around the country are doing to address the issue in order to determine how New York City can improve lease-up rates. Drawing on academic literature, interviews with housing expects and program administrators, the team identified several barriers to leasing up, and compared several ways of addressing these barriers. Their analysis led to the following recommendations: modify the process for inspecting apartments prior to lease up; enhance tenant supports; and build landlord outreach.

Recent Urban Policy Lab Projects

Advanced Seminar Capstone Projects | Professional Decision Reports

In their final semester of study, students work with a client to analyze and present solutions to real-world issues faced by practitioners in the field producing a professional decision report (PDR) as the final requirement to complete the MS degree.

U.S. News & World Report “2020 Best Graduate School” named the Milano School to the Top 100 Public Affairs Schools and #11 in the Urban Policy specialty area.

The Public and Urban Policy program is accredited by NASPAA, the membership association for graduate programs in public administration, public policy, and public affairs—the Global Standard in Public Service Education. Milano is the proud recipient of the NASPAA 2015 Social Equity Award.

*The Master of Science in Public and Urban Policy is the program formerly known as Urban Policy Analysis and Management.

Public and Urban Policy MS News

James Parrott, Economist at the Center for New York City Affairs Presents the Facts About the Upcoming Economic Crisis

The Coronavirus crisis is affecting every aspect of American life, and the toll on the local and national economy is likely to be long-lasting. James Parrott, the Director of Economic and Fiscal Policies at the Center for New York City Affairs (CNYCA) at The New School, is one of the leading authorities on the local economy and since the crisis began has been a go-to source for the press and for policy advocates searching for timely data–and for a sense of how the epidemic will affect the economy. “I’m trying to shape public understanding of what the economic impact will ...
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New Graduate Minor in Design and Urban Justice

The Design and Urban Justice minor offers students methodologies, theories, practices, and policy approaches for advocating for social and spatial justice through design and applied urban strategies. In light of increasing economic polarization, social segregation, urban inequality, and concerns over access to basic necessities in urban environments, new design paradigms are emerging involving collaborations and alliances with citizens, activists, community organizations, and social-oriented institutions to create alternative ways of producing livelihoods and sustaining cities. Addressing education, food, housing, public space, the environment, and social and urban infrastructure, this minor enables students to apply critical research, thinking, and design in creative ...
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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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Are de Blasio’s Rezonings a Trojan Horse for Gentrification? Probably Not.

By Alex Schwartz Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Housing New York” plan currently projects building or preserving 300,000 affordable housing units by 2026 – 120,000 through new construction and 180,000 through preservation. The aspect of this plan that has received the most attention (and criticism) is its embrace of mandatory inclusionary zoning – a policy that some opponents have come to see as a kind of Trojan Horse for the forces of neighborhood gentrification. Mandatory inclusionary zoning applies to neighborhoods that are rezoned for higher densities and also to individual sites granted higher-density zoning variances. It offers developers several options, all ...
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Time for a Real Look at How the New York State Workers’ Compensation System Treats Workers

By James A. Parrott and Nicholas B. Martin (MS '19) Despite an early history as a national leader in safeguarding the interests of workers injured on the job, New York’s workers’ compensation system has eroded considerably over the years, as legislative and administrative changes have often focused on curtailing benefits rather than adapting to changes in the economy, workforce, and business practices. While legislative changes in 2007 and 2017 included some positive measures, for the most part changes significantly lessened the adequacy of worker benefits. The unfortunate result is that the focus of workers’ compensation in New York has shifted ...
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The Daunting Math of Solving New York’s Housing Crisis

By Alex Schwartz New York City’s unprecedented and ongoing efforts in the realm of affordable housing show what cities can – and can’t – do strictly on their own to solve a deep and persistent affordability crisis. Since 1987, New York has invested more than $17.5 billion (adjusted for inflation) of its own capital resources on constructing and preserving more than 450,000 housing units. No other city has drawn on its own tax base to anywhere near this extent to help finance affordable housing, and no other city has sustained an analogous level of commitment for so many years under ...
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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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Whole Earth Curriculum

Professors Mindy Fullilove and Leonardo Figueroa Helland are 2019-2020 Tishman Environment and Design Center Faculty Grant Recipients for their project “Whole Earth” Curriculum. The project will use teach-ins, workshops and popular education to help the Milano School integrate climate issues in relation to justice, sustainability, diversity, and systemic change into every part of our activities. Learn More ...
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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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Engaging a New Generation in Public Service

[easingslider id="444067"] This September, The New School’s Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment hosted its first Public Service Weekend, partnering with the Public Policy and International Affairs Program (PPIA) and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA). Thirty-two undergraduates and recent graduates from across the metropolitan area, and beyond, visited The New School to participate in the weekend conference around the theme of “Engaging a New Generation to Restore Trust in Public Service.” The Public Service Weekend began with a keynote from University Professor Maya Wiley, who spoke about the importance of people with a ...
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