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Urban Policy Analysis and Management



Students in the Urban Policy Management program learn the theories, techniques and practices necessary for improving the quality of life for urban communities. Click here to find out more.

Designer, Meet Policymaker – A Collaborative Effort

The Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, Urban Policy Lab has collaborated with Parsons to take a stab at prison reform. After a yearlong campaign,  the Correctional Association of New York is contemplating a major makeover—from both a policy and design standpoint. Students from both programs have had the opportunity to collaborate and experience the importance of each specialty. Jeff Smith a part time professor and overseer for the lab states, “Today, so many of our policy problems have major design processes,” says Smith. “Policy analysts and designers need to cohesively interact in order to maximize political feasibility and impact.”Parsons_Milano-796

The lab now in its second year is composed of four eight-student teams equally representing Milano and Parsons—develops policy recommendations and designs for a range of real-world clients. Over about six weeks’ time, teams complete two proposals that they then present. Many of the clients end up incorporating the students’ proposals into their existing strategic plans or campaigns.



Summer and Fall 2014 Milano Course Schedules

Click here to view the Summer 2014 Milano Course Schedule (PDF).

Click here to view the Summer 2014 Language Course Schedule (PDF).

Click here to view theFall 2014 Milano Course Schedule (PDF).

Click here to view Fall 2014 GPIA courses by Concentration (PDF).  

Click here to view the Fall 2014 Parsons Courses of Interest to Milano Students (PDF).

Please note that schedules are subject to change, the links above are to the most recent schedules available.

Creating a Route to Success

Interview conducted by Benjamin Ndugga-Kabuye


Kassa1Kassa Belay, an urban policy student in his last semester at Milano, took some time out to describe his academic journey for us. Creating a clear route to future goals is central to student success. Wide experiences coming into Milano and during his time here gave Kassa a thoughtful outlook on creating an academic focus despite wide ranging interests. Our conversation highlighted the classes and professors that helped Kassa go from three broad fields of study down to a specific focus area. We discuss how centering on a particular area of study can mean a deeper understanding instead of a narrow perspective. Take some time to read how Kassa’s experiences at Milano empowered him to impact New York’s nonprofit and public sectors.



Urban Policy Professor Rachel Meltzer on the Impact of Business Improvement Districts

Photo - Rachel MeltzerThe goals of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs)are to make business blocks look better, attract more customers, and draw good merchants to vacant properties. Currently there is a stark contrast in funding and benefits between Manhattan BIDs and those in the outer boroughs.

In a recent article by the Bronx Bureau, Urban Policy Professor Rachel Meltzer is quoted, saying “When you have the smaller BIDs, you just are not at a scale where you can really benefit from economies of scale…Maybe a third of your budget is going towards administrative cost, and that leaves very little for actual service provision. So economically, it’s harder for it to make sense and make an impact for the smaller BIDs.” The article also refers to Meltzer’s 2012 study, which demonstrated that BIDs are more likely to form, and reap benefits, in neighborhoods that are already at an economic and political advantage.



Urban Policy Professor Jeff Smith Discusses The Relationship Between Democratic Mayors and Republican Governors in The Atlantic

jeffreysmithProfessor Jeff Smith had an article featured on The Atlantic’s website entitled “Why Black Democratic Mayors and GOP Governors are BFFs,” Smith wrote about the seemingly unorthodox, but somewhat common relationship between black urban mayors and their white Republican governors. He cites as his two primary cases the relationships between Newark mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey governor Chris Christie, as well as the ties between Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed and Georgia governor Nathan Deal.

Smith goes on to detail the ways in which both parties benefit from these relationships, with little to no cost to them politically, at least usually. Although given recent events surrounding both governors, Smith cautions both Booker and Reed to reconsider these ties.