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Mid-Sized Cities Policy Research Institute

University of Memphis Mid-Sized Cities Policy Research Institute Appoints its First Director

David G. Westendorff has joined the University of Memphis Graduate Program in City and Regional Planning as an Associate Professor and Director of the newly-established Mid-Sized Cities Policy Research Institute.


Dr. Westendorff earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Yale University (Architecture) and his PhD in City and Regional Planning at Cornell University.


Dr. Westendorff, an internationally recognized expert on international development policy, social housing, and municipal reform and governance issues, is the editor and a contributor to five recent books on sustainable development practices as well as many other scholarly articles and research publications.


In 2008, Dr. Westendorff authored a landmark study examining the impact of the Beijing Olympics on the city’s low-income residents and informal service sectors. This work helped fuel a spirited international discussion regarding the social responsibility of host countries and the International Olympic Committee to the poor who live and work adjacent to the major sports and housing venues created for such international competitions.


Dr. Westendorff was the founding partner of urbanchina partners llc., a public interest  consulting firm in Shanghai that is engaged in a wide variety of social science research on urban planning and governance, the plight of migrant workers in the Chinese cities, and the role of civil society in China’s modernization. Earlier in his career, Dr. Westendorff served for a decade as the Research Project Leader in the areas of urban governance, civil society and social and development indicators for the United National Research Institute for Social Development based in Geneva, Switzerland.


As the newly-appointed Director of the Mid-Sized Cities Policy Research Institute in the Graduate Program in City and Regional Planning, Dr. Westendorff will be responsible for crafting a research program that examines the most pressing environmental, economic, and social needs of cities with populations between 100,000 and 1,000,000. The public policy needs of these cities have received little attention from urban scholars who have tended to concentrate on the experiences of mega-cities such as New York, London, Sao Paulo, and Mumbai and Shanghai.

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Last Updated: 12/4/11