Kian Tajbakhsh

Kian Tajbakhsh is Visiting Professor of Urban Planning at GSAPP. He has taught at both American and Iranian universities. Tajbakhsh’s academic research spans both theoretical and policy projects related to the culture of urbanism as well as the governance of cities and metropolitan regions. He has conducted empirical research on decentralization, the role of social capital in local government performance, and local economic development in a number of countries.

He is the author of two books, The Promise of the City: Space, Identity and Politics in Contemporary Social Thought (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 2001), and Social Capital: Trust, Democracy and Development (Tehran: Shiraze Publishers 2005, in Persian). He co-edited the book City Diplomacy: The role of local governments in conflict prevention, peace-building, post-conflict reconstruction (Arne Munsch, 2008 The Hague). Tajbakhsh has also published scholarly articles, as well as essays on cinema and culture in Iran and India.

Tajbakhsh is an international expert in the areas of local government reform, urban planning, civil society capacity building and international public policy research collaboration. He has also directed international projects in the areas of public health and social policy. Tajbakhsh’s policy-related research and consulting has examined decentralization and local government institutions in Iran and other developing societies with a focus on increasing the legitimacy of local political institutions and the effectiveness of local participation.

He has consulted for several international organizations including the World Bank, Open Society Institute, and VNG-International Netherlands Association of Municipalities. In Iran he worked on consulting projects with Iranian government organizations including the Municipalities Organization (Ministry of the Interior), the Social Security Organization, and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (today named the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development). He was part of team of the Urban Studies Group of the Iranian Sociological Association evaluating humanitarian relief and rebuilding projects in the aftermath of the devastating 2003 earthquake in Bam.

In 2006, he completed a three-year study of the local government sector in Iran with a focus on the reform of the inter-governmental system and its impact on urban policy making and local economic development. Between 2004 and 2007, Tajbakhsh coordinated the international project “A dialogue between local government in Iran and the Netherlands” which involved projects and dialogue between Iranian and Dutch Mayors and municipalities both in Iran and the Netherlands. Tajbakhsh was an advisor to the Open Society Institute and the International Policy Fellowships program at OSI and the Central European University.

Current research interests include:
* Cities and International politics
* Intergovernmental structures and Local Government in comparative perspective
* Religion and existential meaning in the study of urban life
* Urban Theory and the future of Urbanism

From 1994 until 2001, Tajbakhsh taught Urban Policy and Politics at the Milano Graduate School of The New School for Social Research in New York City. He received his BA from Imperial College London in 1983, his MSc from University College London in 1984, and his PhD from Columbia University in 1993.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
Pla6911‑2 Spring 2018
Neighborhood Change, Displacement, and Health
Social Map by Mofe Alli, Eddy Almonte, Caitlin Bone, Cheryl Lim, Danting Luo, Michael Montilla, Varand Onany, Yufi Priadi, Gloria Serra Coch, Eunjee Son and Da Wu
Change Maps by Mofe Alli, Eddy Almonte, Caitlin Bone, Cheryl Lim, Danting Luo, Michael Montilla, Varand Onany, Yufi Priadi, Gloria Serra Coch, Eunjee Son and Da Wu
Malo Hutson, Kian Tajbakhsh Required for UP 1st Years Only, Via Studio Lottery
200N/ 201 Fayerweather
W 3 PM - 7 PM
Full Semester
6 Points
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