College of Social Sciences and Humanities Professor, Public Policy and Urban Affairs
Joan Fitzgerald focuses on urban climate governance and the connections between urban sustainability and economic development and innovation. Her third book, Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development (Oxford Univ. Press), examines how cities are creating economic development opportunities in several green sectors and discusses the state and national policy needed to support these efforts. Emerald Cities builds on her 2002 book, Economic Revitalization: Strategies and Cases for City and Suburb (Sage), which identifies strategies for incorporating sustainability and social justice goals into urban economic development planning. In 2012 she published a three-volume anthology, Cities and Sustainability. Fitzgerald has published in academic journals such as Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Local Environment, Economic Development Quarterly, Urban Affairs Quarterly, Urban Affairs, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and the political quarterly, The American Prospect. Her academic and consulting work has been supported by the Funders Network for Smart Growth and Sustainable Communities, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, Annie E. Casey, Rockefeller Brothers, Rockefeller, Surdna, Century, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations and the Urban Sustainability Directors’ Network. She has also conducted research for the U.S. Department of Labor, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, the Boston Housing Authority and other government agencies. She is currently working on her next book, Greenovation: Urban Leadership on Climate Action, which examines how cities advance green technologies. In addition, she is examining governance of green storm water infrastructure. She teaches “Cities, Sustainability and Climate Change” and “Urban Revitalization.” Before coming to Northeastern University, Joan taught urban planning and policy at the New School University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Ohio State University.
She is the former director of the Law and Public Policy program at Northeastern University and also served as interim dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs from 2012 until 2014. Under Joan’s leadership, the school established new connections across Northeastern and throughout the Boston community. Through the Smart and Sustainable Cities hiring initiative, Joan transformed the faculty of the Policy School. She fostered and led new programmatic initiatives such as the Urban Informatics master’s degree and certificate programs and the development of the Resilient Cities Lab. She expanded SPPUA’s Open Classroom series to include topics such as climate change, health policy, and water in an era of climate change.