William W. Goldsmith

William Goldsmith has published widely in scholarly journals on U.S. cities, segregation, and poverty, and also on international urbanization and regional development. His 2016 book, Saving U.S. Cities: A Progressive Plan to Transform Urban America won honorable mention for the John Friedmann Book Prize from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP). An earlier coauthored publication, Separate Societies: Poverty and Inequality in U.S. Cities won the Paul Davidoff Prize from ACSP in 1993; the second edition, in 2010, has a foreword by President Clinton.

A member of the planning faculty at Cornell from 1967 until 2012, Goldsmith also taught in Puerto Rico, Colombia, Brazil, Italy, and UC Berkeley. He chaired the planning department at Cornell and also served on the faculty committee of the Cornell Prison Education Program, the faculty board of Cornell University Press, and the City of Ithaca's Board of Public Works, as well as cofounding and chairing the board of Better Housing for Tompkins County. Goldsmith served on the Environmental Protection Agency Clean Air Act Advisory Committee during the Clinton and Bush Administrations.

Goldsmith holds a Ph.D. from Cornell in planning, economic development, and public administration and a B.S. in civil engineering from UC Berkeley.

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Classes (Selected)

  • CRP 5190 Urban Spatial TheoryWe live in an urban majority world, with diverse patterns of urbanization and types of urban places. Cities are not just nodes on transaction networks, or physical collections of build form specific to a context and global movements, or diverse places that represent a mix of cultures over time. They are political assemblages in which formal and informal institutions of governance are forged and continue to be shaped as policies change and morph over time. Various processes impacting societies shape the cities where we live, work, and play: ranging from climate change, shifting migration patterns, and large-scale population movements to changes in geo-political power and the technologies of infrastructure, communication, and manufacturing. But what constitutes the city? What concepts allow us to understand how cities grow, shrink, or expand, and shivel or thrive? This course seeks to introduce you to the broad contours of an interdisciplinary body of work that aims to theorize the city. Using a format of readings, lectures, and discussions, we seek to become familiar with core perspectives of well-established traditions in urban theory that emerges from perspectives on city economy, spatial development, environment, infrastructure, social life, cultural experience, urban politics, and interventions.
  • CRP 3770/6870 The City in Brazil (Brazil)
  • CRP 1100 The American CityAn introductory course on the physical evolution of the American metropolis – its origins, planning, design and development.  In it we unpack the visions, values and ideals that have shaped settlement patterns on the land from the pre-colonial era to the present day, and interrogate the manifold forces—political, socioeconomic, technological—that have created America's urban and suburban built environments. Throughout the semester we probe the complex and iterative relationship between space and society in America, seeking to learn what it tells us about our nation and ourselves.
  • CRP 3721/6711 The European City (Rome)

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Fulbright award to Italy (2004)
  • Fulbright awards to Brazil (1982, 1983)
  • Fulbright award to Colombia (1973)

Publications (Selected)

  • Goldsmith, William W. Can Urbanization Reduce Inequality and Limit Climate Change? Chapter 3 in Cities without Capitalism (Routledge, 2022)
  • Saving U.S. Cities: A Progressive Plan to Transform Urban America (Cornell University Press, 2016)
  • Goldsmith, William W., and Edward J. Blakely. Separate Societies: Poverty and Inequality in U.S. Cities. (Temple University Press, 2010)
  • Urban and Regional Planning in an Age of Austerity (Permagon, 1980)
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