New Public Policy Class Examines Building Equitable Cities through Urban Policy

Ponce City Market

Posted November 1, 2021

Starting in Spring 2022, the School of Public Policy will be offering PUBP 4211/PUBP 6606: Urban Policy for the first time in several semesters. The class returns with a new focus: examining how cities address historical inequities in urban planning. The class comes as Georgia Tech begins efforts to amplify its impact as an anchor institution by catalyzing sustainable development in the city of Atlanta.

Each week, students will hear from a guest speaker who will discuss how their work in urban policy has advanced our collective progress on these critical issues. Guest speakers will include former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin; current Augusta Mayor and Georgia Tech graduate Hardie Davis, EE 92; Kamau Franklin, founder of Community Movement Builders; and Egbert Perry, chairman and CEO of Integral, a holistic urban redevelopment company.

Students will get the chance to emulate these guest speakers and put their new policymaking skills to the test, given that a central goal of the class is to train students on the “nuts and bolts” of policymaking in today’s urban environment. Students will spend the semester facing off against a problem that a real city mayor might face and, working in teams, play the roles of their policy advisors.

Guest lecturer David Edwards and Becky Rafter, a Ph.D. student in the School of Public Policy, will co-teach the class. Edwards served as the senior policy advisor to Franklin during her two terms as mayor. He is also the former CEO of Purpose Built Communities, a national nonprofit focused on urban revitalization. Rafter is the former executive director at Georgia WAND, a nonprofit focused on redirecting public funds to advance racial, environmental, and energy justice, as well as nuclear harm reduction in Georgia.

“The rapid revitalization of our cities over the past several decades has created an opportunity to address the legacy of the unjust public policies of the past,” Edwards said. “However, we have not yet broadly adopted the strategies and policies we need to address them successfully. My hope is that this class will focus on discussing what those policies might be and how we might apply them in our cities moving forward.”

“Systemic racial-, gender-, and geographic discrimination is often baked into the cake of public policies,” added Rafter. “We’re looking forward to hearing from experts who have made significant contributions in addressing these issues at the local level.”

Edwards and Rafter hope that this class provides students with the opportunity to grow into innovative and ethical leaders who can effectively define urban problems and develop practical solutions. 

PUBP 4211/PUBP 6606: Urban Policy will be taught on Fridays from 8-10:45 a.m. Phase I registration begins Monday, Nov. 8.

Contact For More Information

Grace Wyner

Communications Officer

School of Public Policy | Sam Nunn School of International Affairs