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.
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 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 forthcoming MIT Press book, Co-Cities: Innovative Transitions Toward Just and Self-Sustaining Communities (with C. Iaione).
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).
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.
HOW TO BUILD A COLLABORATIVE CITY: IN CONVERSATION WITH SHEILA FOSTER
December 13, 2022
Welcome to The Sustainable City Podcast. This month, we talk to Sheila Foster, a professor of urban law and policy at Georgetown University and co-director of 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.
In her new book, “Co-Cities: Innovative Transitions toward Just and Self-Sustaining Communities,” and in the discussion that follows, Foster describes the practices, laws, and policies that are fostering urban innovation, from providing urban services like transit and parks, to spurring collaborative economies, to promoting inclusive and equitable redevelopment of blighted city lots. As Sheila and her co-author Christian Iaione explain, the majority of the world’s population live in cities, but despite the wealth cities have created, their most vulnerable residents still live without adequate housing, safe water, healthy food, or other essentials. Nonetheless, Foster argues, cities can still remedy the inequalities they create. These are co-cities.