Joan Fitzgerald is the director of the Law and Public Policy program (LPP) at Northeastern University. She also served as interim dean of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs from 2012 until 2014. Under Joan’s leadership, the school established new connections across Northeastern and throughout the Boston community. Through the Smart and Sustainable Cities hiring initiative, Joan transformed the faculty of the Policy School. She fostered and led important programmatic initiatives such as the Urban Informatics master’s degree and certificate programs, an MPH-PhD in conjunction with colleagues in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences and the School of Law, and the development of the Resilient Cities Lab. She expanded SPPUA’s Open Classroom series to include topics such as climate change, health policy, and water use. Her outreach initiatives also include the Building Resilient Boston Partnership with the goal of advancing climate change adaptation in urban planning in the Boston area.
Joan’s research includes work on “Emerald Cities”, a comprehensive research project that examines how U.S. and Western European cities address the interrelated issues of global warming, energy dependence and opportunities for green economic development. Based from the findings of her research, this potential includes building new technology-based industry clusters, improving the efficiency of production in existing manufacturing processes, and creating well-paying green jobs in construction, manufacturing, and entirely new advanced technology sectors.
Prior to her work on “Emerald Cities”, Joan has written for several journals and regularly advises government officials on new “green-growth strategies.” Her publications include her 2002 economic development book, Economic Revitalization: Strategies and Cases for City and Suburb, Moving Up in the New Economy (2006), Emerald Cities (2010) and articles in the American Prospect focusing on green building and renewable energy.
Before coming to Northeastern University, Joan taught urban policy and public affairs at the New School University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Ohio State University.