Mildred Warner

Cities across the world are faced with the challenges of fiscal stress, service delivery restructuring, and the imperative to promote economic development. Mildred Warner is an international expert on restructuring local government services, how to plan for more child and age-friendly cities, and how to promote environmental sustainability at the local level. Decentralization has elevated the importance of local government worldwide, but social protection is challenged by devolution, privatization, and fiscal crisis. Cities must pick up the slack and Warner's research explores how. She has authored more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and professional reports, and has received major research grants from government and foundations. Warner works closely with local government, planners, policy analysts, economic developers, and union leaders both in the U.S. and abroad. She received her B.A in history from Oberlin College, and her M.S. in agricultural economics and Ph.D. in development sociology from Cornell.

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Community-based planning and development
  • Economic development 
  • Gender- and age-based planning
  • Infrastructure planning
  • International studies in planning
  • Social policy
  • Sustainability
  • Economic development planning and public finance
  • Urban and regional governance
  • Environmental policy and planning
  • Urban inequality
  • Urban poverty
  • Urban water and sanitation services
  • Rural development

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Classes (Selected)

  • CRP 4120/6120 Devolution, Privatization, and New Public ManagementLocal governments across the world must address the twin challenges of devolution and privatization.  Scholarly research debates whether these market approaches promote efficiency, regional equity, local economic growth and citizen voice. Students will review the theoretical bases for these claims and the empirical evidence from around the world.  Students will write theory papers as well as engage in group work on practical policy questions facing cities.  
  • CRP 5074 Economic and Community Development WorkshopEconomic and Community Development workshop courses focus on the economics of neighborhoods, cities, and regions with the intent of producing more informed and effective economic development policy. Topics of study include, among others, the application of analytical tools needed to produce first-rate economic development plans, the special needs of excluded, poor and segregated communities, use of quantitative and qualitative methods to address social inequalities, the politics of planning, relationships between economic development and community development.
  • CRP 7201 Research DesignThis course will help Ph.D. students select appropriate research design and field methods for dissertation research.  The course provides a comprehensive review of the research design process and will result in each student developing his/her dissertation proposal.  The course focuses on articulating research objectives, managing the research process, ethics, funding and professional development as a scholar. The course also explores how to select the appropriate data collection strategy: case studies, interviews, focus groups, surveys and archival data as well as a review of major approaches to quantitative or qualitative analysis.
  • CRP 6590 Urban Development Planning: Austerity and City ResponseThis course addresses pertinent issues relative to urban development planning. Topics vary each semester.  
  • CRP 4160 Rome WorkshopThis course focuses on the city as a system through the analysis of (1) a set of neighborhoods and (2) issues affecting these neighborhoods. We will consider the relationship of these neighborhoods and issues to the functioning of the contemporary city of Rome and the wellbeing of its residents. This course will emphasize fieldwork and experiential learning that is supported with readings, class discussions and lectures.  Field activities will take place during scheduled class times plus supplemental hours that are scheduled informally for an average of 12 hours per week, in addition to time spent on reading, writing, and the field trips.

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Age-Friendly Rural Communities – Linking Economy, Planning, Services and Health, $500,000, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Competitive Program (2019–22)
  • State Policy and Local Fiscal Stress: Implications for Rural Governments, $500,000, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Competitive Program, 2017–21)
  • Excellence in Research Award from the Rural Sociological Society (August 2019)
  • Best Contribution to the Planning Profession, "Livable Communities for All Ages: International Planner Engagement and Best Practices," American Planning Association (April 2019)
  • Outstanding Student Project Award, New York Upstate Chapter of the American Planning Association, for Economic and Community Development Workshop: Addressing Fiscal Austerity (CRP 5074), Cornell (May 2018)
  • Rural Sustainability: Linking Economics and The Environment, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Competitive Program (014–18)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • "The future of SIBs and social welfare: Can we discipline private actors?" presented at Social Outcomes Conference, Oxford University, Oxford, U.K. (September 5, 2019)
  • "Crowding Out Development: Does Decentralization Undermine Inclusive Growth?" presented at workshop, Rethinking the Political Economy of Place: Challenges of Productivity, Inclusion and Policy, Cambridge, U.K. (July 11–12, 2019)
  • "Re-municipalization in the U.S.: A Pragmatic Response to Contracting," presented at international workshop, Re-munipalisation of Municipal Services in Europe and U.S.: A trend or a Hype? Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (January 14, 2019)

Publications (Selected)

  • Warner, Mildred E. and Zhang, Xue, "Planning Communities for All Ages," Journal of Planning Education and Research (forthcoming)
  • Mann, Cory L. and Warner, Mildred E., "Power Asymmetries and Limits to Eminent Domain: The Case of Missoula Water's Municipalization," Water Alternatives, 12, no. 2, 725-737 (2019)
  • Homsy, George C., Lu Liao, and Warner, Mildred E., "Sustainability and Disaster Planning: What Are the Connections?" Rural Sociology (2019)
  • Liao, Lu, Warner, Mildred E., and Homsy, George C., "Sustainability’s Forgotten Third E: What Influences Local Government Actions on Social Equity?" Local Environment, 1197–1208 (2019)
  • Aldag, Austin, Kim, Yunji, and Warner, Mildred E., "Austerity Coalitions or Pragmatic Municipalism? Local Responses to Austerity in New York State," Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 51, no. 6, 1287–1305 (2019)
  • Complete list of Mildred Warner's publications