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Keynote Speaker: J. Phillip Thompson

Appointed Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives in February 2018, Deputy Mayor Thompson is responsible for spearheading a diverse collection of priority initiatives.

He oversees New York City’s signature Pre-K for All program, which provides free, high-quality pre-kindergarten to 70,000 four-year olds each year, and the continued expansion of the nation’s first-ever 3-K for All. He will also ensure the continued success of the Community Schools and Young Men’s Initiatives and ThriveNYC, the nation’s most comprehensive approach to mental health.

Additionally, the Deputy Mayor has been charged with expanding the city’s investment in minority and women-owned businesses, leading the Mayor’s comprehensive strategy to encourage greater voter participation and improve the way the city carries out elections, DemocracyNYC.

Deputy Mayor Thompson’s agency portfolio includes the Department of Youth and Community Development; the Department of Small Business Services; the Commission on Human Rights; the Department of Veterans’ Services; the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs; the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities; the NYC Public Engagement Unit; and the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development.

Prior to joining the de Blasio administration, the Deputy Mayor was an Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His courses – which married his real-world experience and cutting-edge research – covered a wide range of subject matter, including housing and economic development, urban politics, post-disaster planning, social movements, and race and ethnicity in American Politics, among many other areas. Deputy Mayor Thompson is the author of Double Trouble: Black Mayors, Black Communities and the Struggle for Deep Democracy published in 2006 by Oxford University Press. He has also written and worked expansively on community health planning, the future of labor unions, race and community development, social capital in public housing, and the politics of black economic advancement.

Deputy Mayor Thompson has an extensive background in New York City Government. In 2003 and 2010 he served as an expert on the NYC Charter Revision Commission, and before that served in the Dinkins Administration as the Deputy General Manager for Operations and Development, where his portfolio included the New York City Housing Authority. Before that he had roles as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Coordination as well as the Mayor’s Liaison to the NYC Districting Commission. He also served previously in the Manhattan Borough President’s Office as an advisor and assistant to the chief of staff.

The Deputy Mayor’s policy experience is not limited to local and regional government – he has worked on a number of global projects to promote peace, reduce inequality, and build greater environmental sustainability. In support of the Colombian peace process, he worked closely with Colombian Ministry of Environment and local stakeholders to create sustainable environmental and community development programs. In 2010, he also worked with the Haitian government on post-earthquake housing planning and design. Before that he worked with the City of New Orleans on their post-disaster training and the City of Cleveland on innovative economic development solutions.

Deputy Mayor Thompson received a B.A. in Sociology from Harvard University in 1977, a Masters in Urban Planning from Hunter College in 1986, and a PhD from the City University of New York Graduate Center in 1990.


The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning promotes education, research, service and outreach in the United States and throughout the world by seeking to:

  • recognize diverse needs and interests in planning;
  • improve and enhance the accreditation process, and;
  • strengthen the role of planning education in colleges and universities through publications, conferences, and community engagement;
  • extend planning beyond the classroom into the world of practice.


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