About

The NYU Stern Urbanization Project harnesses the growth of cities to speed up global progress. The world’s urban population will more than double between 2010 and 2110. After 2110, urban growth will largely level off. This presents a window of opportunity in which countries can shape urbanization in ways that improve the quality of life for billions of people.

There are two ways to channel this rapid urbanization: existing cities can expand, and new cities can emerge. These two processes, already underway, are at the heart of the Urbanization Project’s two primary initiatives.

The Urban Expansion initiative, led by Shlomo Angel, works with cities to make room for their rapid growth. The initiative is based on evidence that mayors and civic officials can make minimal preparations to shape cities that are vibrant, inclusive, and affordable.

The Charter Cities initiative, led by Paul Romer, focuses on the potential for startup cities to fast track reform. By building new cities in special zones, countries can leverage the 21st century’s unprecedented scale of urban growth, generating new options for reform-minded leaders and new choices for families in search of better places to live and work.

The Labs initiative incubates new ideas at the Urbanization Project. New cities and urban expansion are the ways accommodate billions of new urban residents, but we’re always experimenting with new ideas. Labs explores applied research projects that have the potential trigger new initiatives or generate new insights for urban leaders and residents.

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Paul Romer

Director

paulromer.net

Paul Romer, an economist and policy entrepreneur, is University Professor at NYU and founding director of the NYU Stern Urbanization Project, where he also leads the Charter Cities initiative. He is also the interim director of NYU's Marron Institute on Cities and the Urban Environment. Whereas the Urbanization Project focuses on rapidly urbanizing countries, the Marron Institute conducts research on the challenges faced by cities in all countries.

Before coming to NYU, Romer taught at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. While there he took an entrepreneurial detour to start Aplia, an education technology company dedicated to increasing student effort and classroom engagement. Prior to Stanford, Romer taught in the economics departments at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Chicago, and the University of Rochester. In 2002, he received the Recktenwald Prize for his work on the role of ideas in sustaining economic growth.

Romer earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago after doing graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Queens University.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Paul Romer

Shlomo (Solly) Angel

Shlomo (Solly) Angel

Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Scholar

sollyangel.com

Shlomo (Solly) Angel is an adjunct professor at NYU and senior research scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project, where he leads the Urban Expansion initiative. Angel is an expert on urban development policy, having advised the United Nations, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). He currently focuses on documenting and planning for urban expansion in the developing world.

In 1973, he started a program in Human Settlements Planning and Development at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok. He taught at the Institute from 1973 to 1983, while researching housing and urban development in the cities of East, South, and Southeast Asia. From the mid-80s to mid-90s, he worked as a housing and urban development consultant to UN-Habitat, the Asian Development Bank, and the Government of Thailand. In 2000, he published Housing Policy Matters, a comparative study of housing conditions and policies around the world. From 2000 onward, he prepared housing sector assessments of 11 Latin America and Caribbean countries for the IDB and the World Bank.

Angel earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a doctorate in city and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Shlomo (Solly) Angel

Alain Bertaud

Alain Bertaud

Senior Research Scholar

alainbertaud.com

Alain Bertaud is a senior research scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. At the moment, he is writing a book about urban planning that is tentatively titled Order Without Design. Bertaud previously held the position of principal urban planner at the World Bank. After retiring from the Bank in 1999, he worked as an independent consultant. Prior to joining the World Bank he worked as a resident urban planner in a number of cities around the world: Bangkok, San Salvador (El Salvador), Port au Prince (Haiti), Sana’a (Yemen), New York, Paris, Tlemcen (Algeria), and Chandigarh (India).

Bertaud’s research, conducted in collaboration with his wife Marie-Agnès, aims to bridge the gap between operational urban planning and urban economics. Their work focuses primarily on the interaction between urban forms, real estate markets and regulations. Bertaud earned the Architecte DPLG diploma from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Alain Bertaud

Brandon Fuller

Deputy Director and Research Scholar

Brandon Fuller is deputy director and research scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. He is also deputy director of New York University's Marron Institute. The Marron Institute deepens the fundamental understanding of cities by working with civic innovators to improve urban management. Prior to joining NYU, Fuller was director of Charter Cities, a non-profit focused on the potential for new cities to drive reform in rapidly urbanizing countries. He previously worked for an education technology startup, Aplia, that offered online experiments and problem sets aimed at increasing student effort and engagement in the college classroom. Fuller was also an adjunct professor of economics at the University of Montana after earning his master's degree there in 2003.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Brandon Fuller

David DeGroot

David DeGroot

Research Scholar

Dave DeGroot is a Research Scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project and manages the Urban Expansion initiative in Ethiopia. Dave has 35+ years of experience with urban development, slum upgrading, municipal finance and capacity building in East and South Asia and in Africa.

In 1977 Dave began woking on slum improvement projects in the Philippines, and established a low cost housing NGO in Davao in 1986. Since 1988 Dave has focused on urban development in East and Southern Africa, and retired from the World Bank at the end of 2009,  In addition to the Bank, Dave has worked with USAID, the Gates Foundation, SIDA, several UN agencies as well as scores of local governments around the world. He is currently focussed on assisting 4 key regional cities in Ethiopia to prepare and begin implementing 30-year expansion plans. This methodology will be ramped up to include dozens of additional Ethiopian cities in 2014.

Dave earned a PhD in Urban Anthropology from the Univ. of Colorado in 1979.

Nicolás Galarza

Research Scholar

Nicolás Galarza is Research Scholar at the Urbanization Project, focusing on the Urban Expansion initiative in Latin America. Nicolás holds a Masters of Urban Planning from NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Prior to pursuing his Masters in New York City, Nicolás served as advisor to the Program Director of the National Poverty Alleviation Strategy and to the High Presidential Commissioner for Social Action on Civic Technology and Innovation in his native Colombia.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Nicolás Galarza

Kari Kohn

Kari Kohn

Research Scholar

Kari Kohn is a Research Scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project and Director of Programs at Charter Cities, a non-profit focused on the potential for reform zones in the developing world. Kohn also has experience as a special situations investment analyst at several buy side funds and at Morgan Stanley. She holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and an undergraduate degree from Duke University.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Kari Kohn

Patrick Lamson-Hall

Patrick Lamson-Hall

Research Scholar

Patrick Lamson-Hall is a Research Scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. He recently completed his Masters in Urban Planning at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. His research interests include urbanization in the developing world, development economics, and historical urbanization.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Patrick Lamson-Hall

Naoko Kumada

Naoko Kumada

Associate Research Scholar

Naoko Kumada is Associate Research Scholar at the Urbanization Project.  She is an anthropologist of Myanmar (Burmese) society and culture and the only researcher since 1962 to have done extended ethnographic fieldwork in rural Burma.  She combines an understanding of Burmese culture and society with knowledge of the legal systems of Burma, Japan, and the US.  She was previously Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford University.  She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University, a BA in Law from Keio University and contributes to publications in Japanese on Myanmar.

Maya Salwen

Maya Salwen

Program Manager

Maya Salwen is Program Manager of the Urbanization Project. She is pursuing a dual Masters in Business Administration / Masters in Public Administration through NYU Stern School of Business and NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service with a concentration in international policy and management and social entrepreneurship. She holds an undergraduate degree in Biology from Duke University.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Maya Salwen

Reuben Abraham

Reuben Abraham

Non-Resident Scholar

Prof Reuben Abraham is Executive Director of the urban focused Centre for Emerging Markets Solutions (CEMS) at the Indian School of Business (ISB). Since 2007, CEMS has focused on conducting and commercializing research undertaken at the centre in affordable housing, healthcare, education and energy. 

Reuben is a Legatum Global Fellow for 2013, and on Wired Magazine’s “Smart List 2012: 50 people who will change the world.” He was selected a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2009, where he serves as Vice-Chair on the Global Agenda Council on Emerging Multinationals. He is an independent director on the board of the Soros Economic Development Fund; a member of the international advisory board of Unicredit Bank; the advisory boards of the Center for Civil Society, India’s leading classical liberal think tank; and THNK, the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership. He is on the board of First Home Solutions, which builds the cheapest private sector housing in India, which was spun out of CEMS. He completed his M.A., M.Phil and Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Marie-Agnes Bertaud

Marie-Agnes Bertaud

Visiting Scholar

Marie-Agnes Bertaud is a non-resident scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. She is an expert on remote sensing satellite and Google Earth images interpretation for urban planning. She has conducted a number of urban land use studies around the world, most of them related to projects financed by the World Bank. Most recently, using GIS (Geographic Information System) she completed land use and population density studies for cities of India, Indonesia, and Vietnam, and used census population data and land use to evaluate the feasibility of infrastructure and transport projects.

Matthew Kahn

Matthew Kahn

Non-Resident Scholar

sites.google.com/site/mek1966/

Matthew E. Kahn is a non-resident scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. Matt is Professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment, the Department of Economics, the Department of Public Policy, the Anderson School of Management and the UCLA Law School. He is the author of Green Cities: Urban Growth and the Environment and Climatopolis. His research focuses on environmental, urban, real estate, and energy economics.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Matthew Kahn

Mauro De Lorenzo

Visiting Scholar

Mauro De Lorenzo is a Visitng Sholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. Before joining NYU, De Lorenzo was Vice President at the John Templeton Foundation and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. From 2007-2010, De Lorenzo served in a pro bono capacity as the deputy to Senator Bill Frist on the board of directors of the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Alejandra Rangel Smith

Research Scholar

Alejandra is a Research Scholar at the Marron Institute.  She is also an Architect and has a Master in Urban Planning from New York University. She has experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors, mainly in urban and transportation issues. In the public sector, Alejandra has worked for the New York City Department of Transportation and for the Mexico City Urban Development Department. In the nonprofit sector she was Director of Mobility and Urban Development for the Center for Sustainable Transportation in Mexico focused on non-motorized mobility, transit-oriented development, public space and sustainable urban design. She has worked with Mexico´s federal governments as well as dozens of local governments in Mexico in designing policy and infrastructure to promote new models of urban development and transportation. Her mission is to help achieve communities that are active, safe and provide high quality of life.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Alejandra Rangel Smith

Jonathan Stewart

Research Scholar

Jonathan Stewart is a Research Scholar with the Marron Institute. Prior to joining the Urbanization Project, Stewart worked as a Financial and Economic Analyst at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  He holds an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business with concentrations in Finance, Economics and Social Innovation and Impact.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Jonathan Stewart

Jeremy Coleman

Jeremy Coleman

Administrative Aide

Jeremy Coleman is an Administrative Aide at the Marron Institute. He is pursuing a Masters in Music Technology at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

Jaime Vasconez

Jaime Vasconez

Consultant

Jaime Vasconez is an architect with expertise in Urban Planning. He graduated from the Central University of Ecuador (1980). Currently, he is team leader for the Urban Expansion initiative in Latin America and The Caribbean, working as an external consultant for the NYU Stern Urbanization Project.

Early in his career Vasconez worked at an urban planning firm in Ecuador. Later, he was an independent consultant for various cooperation agencies in Ecuador as well as municipal, regional, and national governments throughout the region. From 1998 to 2005 he was Regional Advisor for the Latin American and The Caribbean Regional Office of the Urban Management Program (UMP-LAC), part of UN-Habitat/UNDP. In this role, he provided support to over 50 cities throughout the region. More recently, he directed the International Centre for Urban Management (CIGU), a NGO based in Quito. CIGU worked with international agencies such as the World Bank, UN-Habitat, and GTZ, consulting on projects in areas such as urban planning, urban management, and local government. Vasconez has also taught at the School of Architecture in the Catholic University in Quito.

Zoe Johnson

Zoe Johnson

Zoe Johnson is an Office Assistant at the Urbanization Project. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in French with a minor in Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU College of Arts and Science and NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Benjamin Wise

Benjamin Wise

Visiting Scholar

Ben Wise was a fellow at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project the summer of 2013. Prior to joining the Urbanization Project, Ben was a consultant at L.E.K., a global strategy consulting firm, where he returned the fall of 2013. He also co-founded and managed a startup company to build mixed-income, sustainably designed housing in Rwanda, and held various positions in international development and the affordable housing industry. He holds an MBA from NYU’s Stern School of Business and an undergraduate degree in Urban Studies from Brown University.

RECENT ARTICLES BY Benjamin Wise

Kathryn Charlie  Frisbie

Kathryn Charlie Frisbie

Visiting Scholar

Charlie Frisbie was a fellow at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project the summer of 2013. She recently completed her Masters in Urban Planning at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service. She researched New York’s Commissioners’ Plan of 1811, and focused on Gouverneur Morris’s role in the plan’s development. Her additional research interests include public service delivery in slums and financing regional and local governments in developing countries.