Focus areas: Public management innovation, public ethics, sustainability management, politics, environmental management

Dr. Steven Cohen is a Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and the Director of the Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He is also the Director of the Master of Public Administration Program in Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and the Director of the Masters of Science in Sustainability Management at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

He is a 1970 graduate of James Madison High School in Brooklyn, New York. Cohen received his B.A. in Political Science from Franklin College of Indiana (1974), and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the State University of New York in Buffalo (1977; 1979). In 1976-77, Cohen was a Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Environmental Policy; in 1978-79, he was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in Public and Environmental Policy and Implementation.

Dr. Cohen is the former Executive Director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, and now serves as a senior advisor for the Institute.  He is a former policy analyst and consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Dr. Cohen has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Board of the Pew Faculty Fellowship in International Affairs, the Executive Committee and Committee on Accreditation and Peer Review of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Advisory Council on Environmental Policy and Technology. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Homes for the Homeless, Board of Directors of the Willdan Group, Inc., Advisory Board of the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment, Steering Committee for the Porter School of Environmental Studies at Tel Aviv University.  Dr. Cohen also serves on the Judging Committee for the Yidan Prize Foundation and is the Chair of the Lotos Club’s Science and Technology Committee.

Dr. Cohen is the author of The Sustainable City (2017), Understanding Environmental Policy (2006, 2014), Sustainability Management (2011), The Effective Public Manager (1988, now co-authored in its fifth edition), and the co-author of Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to a Cleaner Economy (2015), The Responsible Contact Manager (2008), Strategic Planning in Environmental Regulation (2005), Tools for Innovators: Creative Strategies for Managing Public Sector Organizations (1998), and Total Quality Management in Government (1993). He has written numerous articles on public management, sustainability management, and environmental policy. Dr. Cohen also writes a weekly blog for the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet website.

Research & Publications

November 2017|Columbia University Press|Steven Cohen

Living sustainably is not just about preserving the wilderness or keeping nature pristine. The transition to a green economy depends on cities. For the first time in human history, the majority of the people on the planet live in urban areas. If we are to avert climate catastrophe, we will need our cities to coexist with nature without destroying it. Many places are already investing in the infrastructure of the future—including renewable energy, energy efficiency, mass and personal transit, and advanced sewage and waste management—but the modern city still has a long way to go.

In The Sustainable City, Steven Cohen provides a broad and engaging overview of the urban systems of the twenty-first century, surveying policies and projects already under way in cities around the world and pointing to more ways progress can be made. Cohen discusses the sustainable city from an organizational-management and public-policy perspective that emphasizes the local level, looking at case studies of existing legislation, programs, and public-private partnerships that strive to align modern urban life and sustainability. From waste management in Beijing to energy infrastructure in Africa to public space in Washington, D.C., there are concrete examples of what we can do right now. Cohen synthesizes the disparate strands of sustainable city planning in an approachable and applicable guide that highlights how these issues touch our lives on a daily basis, whether the transportation we take, where our energy comes from, or what becomes of our food waste. Providing recommendations and insights with immediacy and relevance, this book has invaluable lessons for anyone seeking to link public policy to promoting a sustainable lifestyle.

September 2017|Huffington Post|Steven Cohen
March 2017|Manhattan Institute |William B. Eimicke, Steven Cohen, Alison Miller
December 2016|Advanced Leadership Enhancement Program (ALEP)|Steven Cohen, Hayley Martinez, Alix Schroder, Hilary Osborn, Catalina Villegas

Driving Solar Energy in New York City, Hong Kong and Freiburg