Cities have and will continue to encompass over half of the world’s expanding population and urban centers are key players in addressing the global challenges of climate change, poverty and disease, education, and economic development. Cities are the paradoxical axis of economic growth and socioeconomic disparities, and environmental degradation and equitable, sustainable solutions.
The European Union, the World Bank, the United Nations, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED) have endorsed global cities as the epicenter of international sustainable development and leaders for mitigating climate change. The concentration of people, education, wealth, business, growth, and diversity found in global cities demands increased coordination between international organizations, local governments and businesses to help adapt to unforeseen environmental, economic, and political challenges. This will require more trained professionals with policy expertise that can bridge the vertical and horizontal communication gaps between seemingly disparate institutions.
Through the USC-HKU Master of Global Public Policy (MGPP) program, students can learn these tangible skills through applied case study analysis that address the five important global policy problems affecting government, private, and nongovernmental organizations, particularly in urban settings. Dr. Antonio Bento, an economist whose research interests include urban economics, transportation policy, and environmental regulation, is the Director the MPP program at USC and is also the Department Chair for Policy Analysis and Real Estate.
Some of Dr. Bento’s work related to urbanization has examined the causes and remedies of urban sprawl and urban environmental challenges in developed and developing countries. In addition to Bento’s academic research, he also does consulting work for the World Bank. His personal network and experience is particularly valuable for potential applicants that are unsure if they want to work in academic research, government, or the private sector. Dr. Bento will be teaching the introductory Global Policy Challenges and Solutions course.
In his February 2016 Ted Talks, Parag Khanna asserts that our expanding cities are ever more connected by transportation, energy, and communication networks, which have the potential to reduce both pollution and socioeconomic inequality. Khanna’s captivating presentation argues that connectivity between urban centers has helped create optimism for innovative solutions to seemingly insurmountable global challenges. This urban connectivity is embodied in the infrastructure and curriculum of the MGPP program, as two top-tier institutions two globally renowned cities collaborate to design an optimal academic and professional graduate degree.