Josef Konvitz joined the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 1992 after nearly twenty years on the history faculty of Michigan State University. He led the OECD's work on urban policy from 1992 to 2003. As Head of Division, Regulatory Policy, from 2003 until his retirement in 2011, Konvitz designed and implemented a strategic, multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral programme to strengthen regulatory quality and regulatory reform.
Konvitz holds degrees from Cornell University (BA with Honours in History, 1967), and Princeton University (PhD in History, 1973). He is Honorary Professor of Education, Glasgow University (2010-15), Visiting Professor, Cities Programme, King's College London (2012-15), and a Global Advisor for the UN Global Compact Cities Programme based at RMIT, Melbourne, Australia. As an historian, he is the author of three books, 30 articles and many reviews on urban economic and cultural development, infrastructures, public policy decision-making and regulation, ports, and the history of cartography, and is the recipient of several fellowships and prizes ( including Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow '87; National Endowment for the Humanities, '79 and '84; Nebenzahl Prize, the Newberry Library '87; Best Article Prize, Urban History Association, '92).
The fields of regulatory reform, public governance, and urban and regional economic and social development mark the lines of consulting, writing and teaching through which Konvitz helps decision-makers find and implement policy solutions. In light of the crisis, this calls for a reassessment of policy tools and modes of governance, and for innovative ways to make knowledge immediately accessible. Konvitz has special interests in multi-level governance; public sector reform; linking universities and regions; infrastructure policy, regulation, and public-private sector co-ordination for investment; integrative strategies for sustainable urban and regional development; and crisis management, risk reduction and post-disaster reconstruction. Diplomat, historian and international civil servant, he brings domestic policy and international relations into focus.
Konvitz is completing a manuscript explaining the intensity of the Crisis of 2008 in the light of long-term changes in the factors of growth and exploring the implications of this analysis for the next phase of urban development and governance.
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