News & Events

IPK Named Lead Partner in Rebuild by Design, an International Design Competition to Rebuild Post-Sandy


The Institute for Public Knowledge is partnering with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the President's Hurricane Sandy Task Force to organize REBUILD BY DESIGN, a multi-stage regional design competition to promote resilience for the Sandy-affected region.  IPK will serve as Lead Partner for Stage Two, which will provide an analysis of the region through a collaborative process with local communities, regional stakeholders and international experts.
The goal of the competition is two-fold: to promote innovation by developing regionally-scalable but locally-contextual solutions that increase resilience in the region, and to implement selected proposals with both public and private funding dedicated to this effort. The competition also represents a policy innovation by setting aside HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding specifically to incentivize implementation of winning projects and proposals. Examples of design solutions are expected to range in scope and scale – from large-scale green infrastructure to small-scale residential resiliency retrofits. The competition process will also strengthen our understanding of regional interdependencies, fostering coordination and resilience both at the local level and across the US.
For more detail on the competition, including information on how to apply and an initial survey of available data sets, please follow the below links:

The Task Force issued a Request for Qualifications (see page 8 of the Rebuild By Design Brief) on Thursday, June 20, 2013. Responses must be sent to   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than 5:00 pm on Friday, July 19, 2013.


Eric Klinenberg Contributes his Thoughts on the Oklahoma Tornado to the New Yorker

IPK's Director Eric Klinenberg contributed his thoughts on the role of government in disaster preparedness in Moore, Oklahoma in a May 24th post on the New Yorker blog.

Moore, Oklahoma, is not unfamiliar with tornadoes: it gets hit by one about once every five years. But the one that touched down there on Monday seemed especially cruel. The storm laid waste to nearly everything in its seventeen-mile path, destroying thirteen thousand homes, causing approximately two billion dollars in property damage, injuring two hundred and thirty-seven people and killing twenty-four, including nine children, so far. Powerful as it was, this week’s tornado pales in comparison to the one that hit Moore fourteen years ago, which tore up thirty-eight miles of land and killed thirty-six people, and to the one that hit Joplin, Missouri, in 2011, which left behind three billion dollars in damage and a hundred and sixty fatalities. The rebuilding effort in Oklahoma is already under way, but everyone in the state knows that more devastating twisters are coming, perhaps soon.

IPK Visiting Scholar Neil Gross on CSPAN

On Monday, April 29th, the Institute for Public Knowledge and Public Books celebrated the launch of IPK Visiting Scholar Neil Gross's new book, Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? The author was in conversation with Nicholas Lemann, Dean and Henry R. Luce Professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and Paul Starr, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, and Stuart Professor of Communications and Public Affairs, Princeton University.

C-SPAN filmed and broadcasted the event, and it is available to view online.

Some observers see American academia as a bastion of leftist groupthink that indoctrinates students and silences conservative voices. Others see a protected enclave that naturally produces free-thinking, progressive intellectuals. Both views are self-serving, says Neil Gross, but neither is correct. Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? explains how academic liberalism became a self-reproducing phenomenon, and why Americans on both the left and right should take notice.

Academia employs a higher percentage of liberals than nearly any other profession. But the usual explanations—hiring bias against conservatives, correlations of liberal ideology with high intelligence—do not hold up to scrutiny. Drawing on a range of original research, statistics, and interviews, Gross argues that “political typing” plays an overlooked role in shaping academic liberalism. For historical reasons, the professoriate developed a reputation for liberal politics early in the twentieth century. As this perception spread, it exerted a self-selecting influence on bright young liberals, while deterring equally promising conservatives. Most professors’ political views formed well before they stepped behind the lectern for the first time.

Why Are Professors Liberal and Why Do Conservatives Care? shows how studying the political sympathies of professors and their critics can shed light not only on academic life but on American politics, where the modern conservative movement was built in no small part around opposition to the “liberal elite” in higher education. This divide between academic liberals and nonacademic conservatives makes accord on issues as diverse as climate change, immigration, and foreign policy more difficult.

Neil Gross taught at the University of Southern California and Harvard University before joining the University of British Columbia faculty in 2008. Trained at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Ph.D., 2002), and holding a BA in Legal Studies from the University of California, Berkeley (1992), Gross has special interests in sociological theory, politics, the sociology of ideas and academic life, and the sociology of culture.  He is the editor of Sociological Theory, a quarterly journal of the American Sociological Association.

Public Forum Series: Sandy, Climate Change, and the Future of New York City

The Institute for Public Knowledge is organizing a Public Forum Series on Sandy, Climate Change and the Future of New York City with the Marron Institute on Cities and the Urban Environment. The aim of this series is to engage scholars across New York University to think broadly about Superstorm Sandy, climate change, and the future of our city. All events in the series are free and open to the public, and feature scholars from NYU departments including Environmental Studies; Urban Planning; Sociology; Photography; Media, Culture, and Communication; Interactive Telecommunications; and Metropolitan Studies. The series is building off the conversation started at an IPK public forum in December 2012.

April 22, 5PM Housing and Hurricane Sandy
Vicki Been & Ingrid Gould Ellen

April 26, 6PM Technology, Art, and Disaster
Jacques Servin & Marina Zurkow

May 1, 6PM Rethinking Homeland Security for the Age of Climate Extremes
Eric Klinenberg & Harvey Molotch

May 2, 7PM Carbon and the Built Environment
Dale Jamieson, Eric Sanderson, and Katrina Wyman

May 8, 6PM Occupy Sandy and Emerging Forms of Social Organization
Nick Mirzoeff, Michael Ralph, Andrew Ross & the Superstorm Research Lab

May 13, 6PM Photography and Climate Change
Mark Bussell, Fred Ritchin & Joseph Rodriguez

May 14, 7:30PM Infrastructure
Mitchell Joachim, Constantine Kontokosta & Rae Zimmerman

The Institute for Public Knowledge (IPK) brings theoretically serious scholarship to bear on major public issues. Located at NYU, it nurtures collaboration among social researchers in New York and around the world. It builds bridges between university-based researchers and organizations pursuing practical action.

NYU’s Marron Institute on Cities and the Urban Environment is a new University-wide effort to advance interdisciplinary and international research and teaching on cities and the urban environment.

Video Available: Triggering the Debate: Race, Gun Control, and Mental Illness

IPK's public forum on race, gun control, and mental illness which was held on March 8th, 2013 was filmed, and video is now available

About the event:

Recent mass shootings in Newtown, CT and Aurora, CO have reignited a perennial debate about gun control and mental illness in America.  Both shootings involved individuals with publically reported diagnoses of mental illness, and both also involved firearms that were banned just a decade ago.  The political arguments for ensuring the safety of citizens often take one of two forms: Keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them, or keep certain guns out of the hands of all people.  We also know that gun laws historically have been enforced differently in urban and rural areas, and between individuals of different races. But the existing regulations we have vary between municipalities and states, and all reflect some set of views across a range of questions and spectrum of values.  Who should have access to firearms?  What weapons should be legal for private citizens--and how should we enforce these laws?  Should mental health be a factor in gun ownership eligibility--and if so how do you determine mental illness, and protect the privacy rights of the mentally ill?  What role does race play in policy formation and in enforcement, and how can we make the system more just?

Participants included:

Jonathan M. Metzl (Moderator), Frederick B. Rentschler II Professor of Sociology and Medicine, Health, and Society; Director, Center for Medicine, Health, and Society; and Professor of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University.

Gary Belkin, MD, PhD, MPH; Associate Professor and Director, Program in Global Mental Health, New York University School of Medicine; Senior Director of Psychiatric Services, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.

Bill Finch, Mayor of Bridgeport, CT and a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Lorin Latarro, choreographer and activist; organizer of CHICAGO>ART=AMMO Artists In Support of Gun Control.

Joy-Ann Reid, managing editor of, an on-air contributor to MSNBC, and a political columnist for the Miami Herald.

José M. Serrano, New York State Senator for the 29th Senate District in the South Bronx.

Cosponsored with support of the Vanderbilt University Center for Medicine, Health, and Society, NYU Metropolitan Studies, and the NYU Department of Social and Cultural Analysis.

Call for Participation: Dissertation Workshop | Social Mobility, Inequity and City in the Global South

Social Mobility, Inequity and City in the Global South

 3rd Joint Dissertation Workshop

University of Copenhagen and New York University

21-22nd June 2013

In 2012, the annual World Economic Forum at Davos convened under the theme of ‘the great transformation’ wrought by economic liberalization in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In 2013, the UNDP Human Development Report, The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World, similarly argues that rapid progress in the Global South is driving a historic shift in global dynamics, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty, bringing billions into a new global middle class, In the dark shadow of the unfolding economic crisis in the Global North, this optimism focuses on ‘emerging markets’ where the gains of liberalization are said to have built new foundations for prosperity anchored in vast expanding consumer populations. Nations in Asia, Africa and Latin America are now routinely showcased for global investors and policymakers as success stories ‘opened up’ by structural adjustment and economic reforms. Such direct linkages between state policy and social progress have been debated throughout modern history but are now particularly poignant as a world financial crisis and mounting social inequity and disruption generate social costs that call into question the capacity of ‘free markets’ and neo-liberal economic reforms to sustain human improvement.

Cities are focal points for the social mobility and prosperity that signify ‘the rise of the South,’ and also highlight the social immobility and deprivation that produce our planet of slums and agrarian and environmental crises. In this multi-disciplinary dissertation workshop, we focus on the inequity of globalization in and around urban centers of the global South, from various theoretical and empirical perspectives, including but not limited to fields of history, sociology, anthropology, political science, political economy and development studies. We invite PhD students who have completed substantial dissertation research on any aspect of urbanized inequity in the world of globalization to discuss their work at a two-day workshop in New York City on 21-22 June, 2013.   

Prospective participants should send (1) a letter describing their research and reasons for joining the workshop, (2) a curriculum vita, and (3) a short writing sample drawn from their dissertation, in one combined PDF file email attachment, to David Ludden This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  (New York University) and Dr. Ravinder Kaur This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  (University of Copenhagen) by 15 April 2013.