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Professor Mildred Warner

Warner full picture

Department of City and Regional Planning
Cornell University

B.A., Oberlin College, 1979
M.S., Cornell University, 1985
Ph.D., Cornell University, 1997

Dr. Mildred E. Warner is a Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University where her work focuses primarily on local government service delivery, economic development, environmental sustainability and multigenerational planning.  Dr. Warner's research has challenged gender biased paradigms in both economic development and planning.  She works closely with the American Planning Association and the International City/County Management Association to encourage planners and city managers to address the needs of women, children, families and older adults.  Her research rearticulates the role of human services as social infrastructure for economic development.  For her pioneering work as a mentor and scholar addressing the needs of women and children, she won the Margarita McCoy Award for the Advancement of Women in Planning from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning in 2020 and the Planning for Social Inclusion Award from the American Planning Association in 2006.

Dr. Warner’s work is focused on the challenges facing local governments in the US and across the world.  She explores the impact of privatization and fiscal decentralization on local government. Her work raises cautions about the uneven incidence of market approaches and increasing spatial inequality, especially in the context of fiscal stress.  She explores rural-urban differences in economic development, infrastructure and environmental planning and how these contribute to inequality. She was given the Excellence in Research Award from the Rural Sociological Society in 2019.

Dr. Warner engages in international comparative research on the challenges facing local governments. In addition to her extensive work on the US, she has published comparative work on local governments in Canada, Ecuador, Honduras, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and China. Dr. Warner collaborates around the world with local government associations, public sector unions, planners and policy groups.

Dr. Warner has edited two books on rural development and over 130 articles in top journals in public administration, planning and urban and rural studies. Research on privatization and costs published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management received the 2011 Best Article Award from the Academy of Management - Public and Nonprofit Division. Her work is widely cited in both academic and public policy circles and she is frequently profiled by the media for her expertise on local government.

Dr. Warner has received major research grants from the US Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Peppercorn Foundation and she has been a collaborator on international projects funded by Canada, the UK, China and the EU.

Dr. Warner has a Ph.D. in Development Sociology (1997), a Masters in Agricultural Economics from Cornell University (1985), and a BA in History from Oberlin College (1979). 

Dr. Warner joined Cornell in 1988 and helped found the Community and Regional Development Institute.  Prior to joining Cornell, she worked with the Ford Foundation in New York City on rural development and gender issues in the US and in the Global South.  She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador 1979-1981 and is fluent in Spanish. She published a book, in Spanish, of oral histories, describing rural development strategies in Tungurahua, Ecuador in 2018. 

Research can be found at and on Google Scholar.

Mildred E. Warner, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning
W. Sibley Hall, Cornell University,  Ithaca, NY 14853-6701