Division of Interdisciplinary Studies (CWE)
Areas of Expertise/Research
- Urban Governance
- Public Space
- Neighborhood and Commercial District Transformation
- Public Private Partnerships
- Business Improvement Districts
Susanna Schaller is an Associate Professor in Urban Studies, Administration and Planning at the Division of Interdisciplinary Studies at the Center for Worker Education, The City College of New York Downtown.
She earned her PhD in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and is a certified urban planner. Her most recent work focuses on business improvement districts (BIDs) in Washington, DC. Her book Business Improvement Districts and the Contradictions of Placemaking: BID Urbanism in Washington, D.C. was recently published by the University of Georgia Press. (www.ugapress.org.)
Schaller's research examines how public-private partnerships restructure urban governance and redevelopment regimes. Her book specifically examines and historically contextualizes the work of business improvement districts in Washington, DC. Schaller's work unpacks how a new BID-public private partnership regime emerged in the 1990s to implant targeted place making strategies. This “BID urbanism,” she argues, "oiled the gentrification machine" reproducing historical inequities across DC's landscape. In this work and her ongoing research projects, she highlights questions of equity, investigating the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in urban restructuring processes.
Her professional practice has focused on urban governance and economic development as well as small business development and microfinance. She has served as Senior Planner to the Municipal Art Society in New York and has worked with community groups to evaluate rezoning plans for New York City neighborhoods. She has also worked with community-based organizations, including community development finance institutions and community development corporations, to develop microenterprise and small business lending and training programs and to conduct community visioning and strategic planning workshops.
PhD, City and Regional Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
MA and MCRP, Latin American Studies and Community and Regional Planning, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
BA, English Literature, Barnard College, New York, NY
Professor Schaller teaches undergraduate courses in the Urban Studies Planning and Administration concentration and graduate courses in the MA in the Studies of the Americas program.
IAS 31317 Urban Sustainability (In-person / Online / Hybrid)
IAS 31409 Gentrification Globalized
IAS 31167 Gated Cities, Gated Communities, Gated Minds (In-Person / Hybrid)
IAS 31132 Housing: The Right to the City (Online)
IAS 27404 Urban Politics and Policy
IAS 22200 Introduction to Urban Studies and Planning
IAS 22300 Introduction to Public Administration
IAS 21800 Modern Management and Non-Profit Management
IAS 24200 Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies (“The Right to the City Lecture Series”)
IAS 10800 Doing Social Research
IAS A6080 Gated City, Gated Communities, Gated Minds
IAS A5010 Graduate Research Methodology
IAS A5090 Urban Sustainability (Hybrid)
Public private governance regimes, regulation regimes, urban restructuring processes, urban design and placemaking, commercial district revitalization, redevelopment politics, business improvement districts, rezoning, sustainability and equity, small and independently owned businesses, urban parks
Publications, Grants and Fellowships
Peer and Critically Reviewed Work
Schaller, Susanna. 2019. Business Improvement Districts and the Contradictions of Placemaking: BID Urbanism in Washington, D.C. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press.
Schaller, Susanna and Elizabeth Nisbet. (Forthcoming: June 3, 2020) “Events on Our Urban Parkland: Scrutinizing Public Private Partnerships in Parks Governance Regimes.” In Companion to Public Space, edited by Vikas Mehta, Danilo Palazzo, chapter 36. Routledge Press.
Schaller, Susanna and Guinand Sandra. 2019. “Pop-Up Landscape Design and the Disruption of the Ordinary.” In Public Space Design and Social Cohesionedited by Patricia Aelbrecht and Steven Quentin. Routledge Press.
Schaller, Susanna and Gabriella Modan. 2017. “Business Improvement District.” In The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusionedited by T. Armborst, D. D’Oca, G. Theodore, & R. Gold, 74–80. New York; Barcelona: Actar Publishers.
Schaller, Susanna, KC Wagner, and Mildred Warner. 2017. “Creating a City for Workers: Union Strategies on Child Care in NYC.” In Unions and the City: Negotiating Urban Change, edited by Ian McDonald, Chapter 7. Ithaca, NY: Cornell ILR Press.
Schaller, Susanna. 2015. “Situating Entrepreneurial Place-making in DC: Business Improvement Districts and Urban (Re)development in Washington, DC.” In Capital Dilemma: Growth and Inequality Washington, DC, edited by Derek Hyra and Sabiyha Prince, 139-158. New York: Routledge Press.
Schaller, Susanna and Johannes Novy. 2011. “New York City’s Waterfronts as Strategic Sites for Analyzing Neoliberalism and Its Contestations.” In Transforming Urban Waterfronts: Fixity and Flow,edited Gene Desfor, Jenefer Laidley, Dirk Schubert, and Quentin Stevens, 166-190. New York: Routledge.
Schaller, Susanna and Gabriella Modan. 2008. “Contesting Public Space and Citizenship: Implications for Neighborhood Business Improvement Districts. In Business Improvement Districts: Research, Theories, and Controversies, edited by Göktuğ Morçöl, Lorlene Hoyt, Jack W. Meek, and Ulf Zimmermann, 373-399. New York: CRC Press (Taylor and Francis).
Novy, Johannes and Susanna Schaller. 2005. Gemeinwesenorientierte Stadtteilerneuerung in Washington, DC. (Community-based Neighborhood Revitalization in Washington, DC) In Handbuch Sozialraum, edited by Fabian Kessel, Christian Reutlinger, Susanne Maurer, und Oliver Frey, 577 – 597. Wiesbaden: VS, Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
Nisbet, Elizabeth and Susanna Schaller. 2019. "Philanthropic Partnerships in the Just City: Parks and Schools." Urban Affairs Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/1078087419843186
Schaller, Susanna and Elizabeth Nisbet. 2019. “Regulating Private Support for Public Goods: De-clubbing Public Schools.” Journal of Education Policy. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2018.1547423
Schaller Susanna. 2018. “Public–private Synergies: Reconceiving Urban Redevelopment in Tübingen, Germany.” Journal of Urban Affairs. (Published online May 16, 2018). https://doi.org/10.1080/07352166.2018.1465345
Schaller, Susanna and Guinand, Sandra. 2018. Pop-up Landscapes: A New Trigger to Push Up Land Value? Urban Geography, 39(1), 54–74. https://doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2016.1276719
Schaller, Susanna and Gabriella Modan. 2005. “Contesting Public Space And Citizenship: Implications for Neighborhood Business Improvement Districts." Journal of Planning Education and Research, 24, no. 4 (2005): 394-407. https://doi.org/10.1177/0739456X04270124
Beneria Lourdes and Susanna Schaller. Labor market informalization and the changing landscape of cities. Monopolis: Globalisierung und Stadtforschung,Sinn-haft, 14/15 (2003).
Other Scholarly Work
Conference Presentations and Reports
2018 “Inwood Rezoning Proposal Review and Report,” with Shawn L. Rickenbacker and John Krinsky, The City College of New York, released July 2018.
2018 Paper presentation with Elizabeth Nisbet, John Jay College, CUNY: “Narratives of Equity: PPP regimes for Urban Parks” on panel titled Discourse Analysis of Public Policy and Regulationat the Urban Affairs Association Conference, Toronto Canada, April 6. (Served as moderator of the panel).
2017 Individual paper presentation on co-organized panel with Sarah Schoenfeld and Neil Flanagan: “DC and the work of BIDs: 19th Century Imaginaries for the 21st Century" on panel titled, Shaping Urban Space for Private Gain: The Role of Private Citizens, Real Estate Officials, And Property Owners in DC’s Urban Planningat the 42nd Annual Conference on D.C. Historical Studies, November 3-5.
2017 Paper presentation with Elizabeth Nisbet, John Jay College, CUNY: “Private Non-Profit Support for Public Services: Policy Approaches for Improving Equity” at Symposium - Public Administration, Public Policy and Nonprofit Studies Research: Are We All Touching the Same Camel? at George Washington University, June 7.
2016 Individual paper presentation on co-organized panel with Sandra Guinand: “Public Private Synergies: Reconceiving Urban Redevelopment in Tuebingen, Germany to Produce a More Just City?” on Pre-Organized Session - Understanding Public Private Partnerships: Governance, Urban Development and Spatial Justice at the annual conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), Portland, OR, November 3.
2015 Paper presentation with Sandra Guinand: “Popups: A New Trigger To Push Up Land Values?” at the annual conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), Houston, TX, October 21-24.
2015 Individual paper presentation: “Reconceiving Urban (Re)Development in Tuebingen, Germany: Exploring The Potential of a Model to Draw Cross-National Lessons” at the annual conference of the Sociology of Urban and Regional Development of the International Sociological Association Conference (RC21 Research Committee), Urbino, Italy, August 27–29.
2014 Individual paper presentation: “Policy Mobility: Interrogating The Business Improvement District Model in The US And Germany” at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (Special session: The Social Life of Exemplary: Everyday Realities of Model Urban Policies), Washington, DC, December 7.
2014 Individual paper presentation on co-organized panel with Susanna Rosenbaum and Alessandra Benedicty: “Repossessing Washington, DC: Urban Restructuring, Citizenship, and Planning in the Capital City” on panel A Multi-focal Lens on Cities and Belonging, Los Angeles, Port au Prince, Washington, DCat the European Urban Research Association-Urban Affairs Association (EURA-UAA) conference, Paris, June 18-20.
2014 Individual paper presentation: “Policy Mobility: Interrogating The Business Improvement District Model in the US and Germany” at the annual meeting of the Urban Affairs Association (UAA), San Antonio, Texas, March 19-22.
2013 Book chapter presentation with KC Wagner and Mildred Warner. “Creating A City for Workers: Union Strategies on Child Care in NYC” at Unions and Child Care: Expanding Access, Raising Standards, Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations NYC Conference Center, December 18.
2013 Individual paper presentation: “Discourse of Neoliberal Urban Governance: A Cross-National, Comparative Look at the Role of Business Improvements in the US and Germany” at the joint conference of the Association of European Schools and Planning / Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (AESOP-ACSP), Dublin, July 15.
2011 Paper presentation with Gabriella Modan: “Safe And Clean”: Community Reactions to Neighborhood Business Improvement District (NBID) Marketing in a Multi-Ethnic Neighborhood” at annual conference of the RC21 Research Committee, Amsterdam, July 7-9.
2006 Individual paper presentation: “BIDding on Urbanity to Revitalize Urban Neighborhoods” at the annual conference of the Association of Collegiate Planning Schools (ACSP), Ft. Worth Texas, November 10.
2006 Paper presentation with Gabriella Modan: “’Safe and Clean’”: Community Reactions to Environmental Innovations in a Multi-Ethnic Business Improvement District “at the Critical Geography Mini-Conference, Ohio State University, October 14.
2002 Paper presentation with Lourdes Beneria: “Espacio urbano, privatización, informalización, y género,” (Urban Space, Privatization, Informalization and Gender) at Home-based Work and Labor Market Informalization workshop, FLACSO, Quito, Ecuador, May 29.
2001 Individual paper presentation: “Neighborhood Business Improvement Districts and Community Development Corporations: The Contestation of Public Space and Citizenship” at the annual conference of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), Cleveland, OH, November 2001.
GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS
PSC-CUNY Research Grants
2019, Cycle 50: BID Urbanism in New York City: Examining the Intersection of Neighborhood Commercial District Placemaking and Rezoning.
2018, Cycle 49: Co-PI with Dr. Elizabeth Nisbet, John Jay College, CUNY: Narratives of Equity: PPP Regimes for Urban Parks.
2016, Cycle 47:The Neoliberalization of DC: Business Improvement Districts, Progressive Planning and Place-Making in the Capital City. (Complete Book Manuscript)
2015, Cycle 46: Reconceiving Urban (Re)Development in Tuebingen, Germany
2014, Cycle 45: The Neoliberalization of DC: Business Improvement Districts, Progressive Planning and Place-Making in the Capital City.
2012, Cycle 43: BIDing on BIDs to Revitalize Urban Districts: A Cross National Perspective
2016, CUNY Faculty Fellowship Publication Program
2014/2015, The Graduate Center, CUNY, Center for Place, Culture, and Politics, Faculty Fellow
Summer 2014, Lehman College, CUNY, Numeracy Infusion Course for Higher Education (NICHE), Faculty Fellow.
2011, The City College of New York Colin L. Powell Center, Service-learning Fellow
Pre-CUNY Grants and Fellowships
2001-2002, Cornell University, Sage Fellowship
2001, Cornell University, Enaudi Center for International Studies Research Grant
1997, Pan-American Roundtable, Latin American Institute, UNM
1996, Title VI Foreign language Area Studies fellowship, Latin American Institute, UNM
1996, Latin American Institute Field Research Grant, Latin American Institute, UNM
1995, Latin American Institute Field Research Grant, Latin American Institute, UNM