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
  • Regional science
  • 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)

  • State Policy and Local Fiscal Stress: Implications for Rural Governments, $500,000, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Competitive Program, with L. Lobao, Ohio State University and Y. Kim, University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  • Grant from Engaged Cornell for Planning Age Friendly Roman Neighborhoods, ($5,000, 2017–18); and Local Government Fiscal Stress in New York State ($5,000, 2018–19)
  • American Planning Association Divisions Council Award for "Planning through a Gender Lens: Inclusive Planning for Aging and Livable Communities" (2016)
  • Grant from the AFRI Competitive Program of the USDA for Rural Sustainability: Linking Economics and The Environment, with George Homsy, SUNY Binghamton (2014–18)
  • Best journal article from the Academy of Management (Public and Nonprofit Division) for Bel, Germà, Xavier Fageda, and Mildred E. Warner. "Is private production of public services cheaper than public production? A meta-regression analysis of solid waste and water services." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 29, no. 3 (2010), 553-577. (2010)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • "Outputs, Not Outcomes: Does SIB Market Discipline Narrow Social Rights?" presented at Social Impact Bond conference, Oxford University, Oxford, UK, September 2018
  • "Descentralización necesita asimetría: Experiencia de los EE UU," presented at international conference, Colombia construida desde las regiones: Diálogos sobre descentralización, March 2018, Bogotá, Colombia
  • "Do Sustainability Plans Matter? A comparison of local government sustainability actions from 2010 to 2015," presented at Urban Affairs Association, Toronto, April 2018

Publications (Selected)

  • Homsy, George C., Lu Liao, and Mildred E. Warner. "Sustainability and Disaster Planning: What Are the Connections?" Rural Sociology, 2019.
  • Kim, Yunji, and Mildred E. Warner. "Shrinking local autonomy: corporate coalitions and the subnational state." Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society 11, no. 3 (2018), 427-441.
  • Tse, Allison E., and Mildred E. Warner. "The razor's edge: Social impact bonds and the financialization of early childhood services." Journal of Urban Affairs, 2018, 1-17.
  • Aldag, Austin M., and Mildred Warner. "Cooperation, not cost savings: explaining duration of shared service agreements." Local Government Studies 44, no. 3 (2017), 350-370.
  • Warner, Mildred E., George C. Homsy, and Lydia J. Morken. "Planning for Aging in Place." Journal of Planning Education and Research 37, no. 1 (2016), 29-42.
  • Complete list of Mildred Warner's publications