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Sheila R. Foster is the Scott K. Ginsburg Professor of Urban Law and Policy at Georgetown University. She holds a joint appointment with the Law Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy. 
For the upcoming academic year ’23-’24, Foster will be a Visiting Professor at Columbia University’s Climate School.

Foster is a recognized authority on the role of cities and city leadership in promoting social and economic welfare, achieving environmental and climate justice, improving global governance, and addressing racial inequality.

From 2017-2020, she served as the chair of the advisory committee for the Global Parliament of Mayors and is currently a member of the New York City Mayor's Panel on Climate Change (serving as co-chair of the Equity Workgroup). Foster is co-editor and a founding Advisory Board member of the Journal of Climate Resilience & Climate Justice.

Foster also co-directs LabGov, an international applied research project that has pioneered a new model of urban governance and a path toward more equitable management of a city's infrastructure and services. This approach is set forth in her award-winning MIT Press book, Co-Cities: Innovative Transitions Toward Just and Self-Sustaining Communities (with C. Iaione).  

Recent News and Stories

Foster is a Featured Expert for ‘On Climate Crisis’ Masterclass Series sponsored by The Norman Foster Foundation 

July 28, 2023

The Norman Foster Foundation (NFF) presents the ‘On Climate Crisis’ Masterclass Series, a collection of video presentations delivered by ten outstanding experts in the fields of architecture, urbanism, landscape architecture, urban law, politics, and environmental science. This initiative aims to support the NFF’s extensive educational programme by fostering an exchange of knowledge and promoting a global conversation on the current climate crisis.  Through discussions on designing a resilient planet, life around water, energy efficiency, profitable climate solutions and climate emergency, expert speakers provide valuable insights and original solutions.


Professor Foster’s influential scholarship focuses on the intersection of law, policy, and governance with a specific focus on urban communities and cities. She is one of the leading scholars on environmental and climate justice, recognized by the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law with its 2018 Senior Scholarship Award. Her most recent work analyzes city governance through the lens of the “urban commons” and the idea of the city as a commons as most comprehensively examined in her recently published MIT Press Book, Co-Cities (with Christian Iaione). 

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LabGov is an international network of theoretical, empirical, and applied research teams engaged in exploring and developing methods, policies, and projects that enable city residents to co-create and steward land, digital, and other resources in their communities.

LabGov conceptualizes the city as a “commons,” or a shared resource, in order to help reclaim for city inhabitants more power in shaping urban space, in deciding how cities should grow and develop, and as a means of promoting greater access to urban resources and goods by a broader class of city inhabitants. 


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