Making the Emergent City: A Panel Discussion

The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute and
World Policy Institute present:

Making the Emergent City
A Panel Disucssion

Registration for this event is required. Priorty registration is given to World Policy members. If you're interested in joining this discussion, please register at by Thursday, May 8th with your name and affiliation. 

Monday, May 12, 2014 | 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Reception 5:30 PM; Program 6:00 PM, RSVP Required
The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College
47-49 East 65th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues)
New York, NY

If the 21st century belongs to the city, very few will look like New York — wildly prosperous and growing slowly but steadily. The majority of cities will veer toward one of two extremes — the explosive megalopolis and the shrinking austerity city. For wildly differing reasons, in both Lagos and Detroit the formal sector has proven unable to house, transport, and employ residents. So what role can the informal sector play in building more inclusive and resilient cities? What can urban agriculture, informal manufacturing (i.e. “maker” culture), homesteading, and “lean urbanism” teach us about the challenges facing cities and solutions proposed by citizens themselves?

Featuring Panelists:

  • Jill Simone Gross, Associate Professor, Hunter College Urban Affairs and Planning
  • Marc Norman, Director, UPSTATE: Center for Design, Research, and Real Estate
  • Emeka Okafor, Co-founder and curator, Maker Faire Africa

Moderated by Kavitha Rajagopalan, Co-director, Emergent Cities Project at the World Policy Institute

With an introduction by Dr. Jonathan Fanton, Franklin D. Roosevelt Visiting Fellow and Interim Director, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College

If you're unable to make it to the panel discussion, you can live-stream the event courtesy of the Roosevelt House here.


Jill Simone Gross is an Associate Professor of Political Science in the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College, and has taught at Barnard College, Columbia University, New York University, Queens College, and Brooklyn College. She serves on the governing board of the Urban Affairs Association, where she chairs the committee on International Urban Linkages. She teaches and conducts research in comparative urban politics and development in Western European and North American cities, with an emphasis on issues of equity, participation, and inclusion. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and an MSc in British Government from the London School of Economics. In 2012, she was awarded a Fulbright Shuman Award to research the Governance of Migrant Political Integration in European Cities. She co-authored Governing Cities in a Global Era, and is currently completing her next book project on the topic of  Ireland, Migrants, and the Fiscal Crisis. She is co-editor of two special journal volumes on Chinese Urban Governance forthcoming in Cities and the Journal of Urban Affairs.

Marc Norman (@upstatesyr)is the Director of UPSTATE: Center for Design, Research, and Real Estate. He is trained as an urban planner and has worked in the field of community development and finance for over 15 years. With degrees in Political Economics (U.C. Berkeley, B.A. 1989) and Urban Planning (UCLA, M.A. 1992) he has developed and financed over 2,000 units totaling more than $400 million in total development costs. He has worked for for-profit and non-profit organizations, committed to community development and affordable housing. He has taught courses on real estate and housing policy in the School of Architecture and implements initiatives at UPSTATE: in collaboration with City, State, and University partners.
Emeka Okafor (@emeka_okafor) is an entrepreneur and a venture catalyst. He is the co-founder and curator of Maker Faire Africa and was the director for TED Global 2007. He is currently an advisor to TED Fellows, which he helped found. His interests include sustainable technologies in the developing world and paradigm breaking technologies. His blog Timbuktu Chronicles seeks to spur dialogue in areas of entrepreneurship, technology, and the scientific method as it impacts Africa. 
Moderator: Kavitha Rajagopalan
Kavitha Rajagopalan (@kxraja) is a Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute and director of the Emergent Cities Project, which seeks to activate resilient urban spaces in the economically troubled and shrinking cities of the West using lessons from emergent cities in the developing world. She is the author of Muslims of Metropolis: The Stories of Three Immigrant Families in the West, a narrative nonfiction exploration of integration and identity formation in the urban Muslim diaspora. Her projects include research and advocacy on the causes and consequences of undocumented migration, urban informality, and minority access to mainstream financial systems. She writes widely on global migration and diversity and has taught related courses at NYU's Center for Global Affairs.


About the Sponsors

A center for global thought leadership, the World Policy Institute focuses on the crucial but neglected challenges and opportunities of an increasingly interconnected world. We stress innovative, transformative thinking; diversity of ideas; and a global perspective. World Policy Journal, fellows, events, and policy projects provide channels for supporters, thought leaders, decision makers, experts, and citizens to identify, debate, and develop constructive solutions. 

Roosevelt House, an integral part of Hunter College since 1943, reopened in 2010 as a public policy institute honoring the distinguished legacy of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Its mission is three-fold: to educate students in public policy and human rights, to support faculty research, and to foster creative dialogue. The Institute provides opportunities for students to analyze public policy and experience meaningful civic engagement; for faculty to research, teach, and write about important issues of the day; and for scholarly and public audiences to participate in high-profile lectures, seminars and conferences.


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