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Elizabeth Greenspan

Elizabeth Greenspan creative writing

Elizabeth Greenspan is a writer and urban anthropologist whose articles and essays about cities, architecture, public space, and real estate appear regularly in a number of print and online publications, including Architect Magazine, The New Yorker, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pacific Standard, and The Atlantic, among others. Her book, Battle for Ground Zero, about the politics of commerce and commemoration at the World Trade Center site, was published in 2013 by St. Martin’s Press.


From 2016-2018, Liz served as Senior Researcher at PennPraxis, where she investigated how cities around the United States are reinvesting in civic infrastructure, including aging parks, libraries, and rec centers. This research culminated in two white papers for the William Penn Foundation: Civic Infrastructure, A Model of Civic Asset Reinvestment; and Civic Infrastructure, Sustaining and Sharing the Value of Parks, Libraries, and Other Civic Assets. In addition, it resulted in two convenings with some of the nation’s leading scholars and practitioners of urban public space.


Liz speaks regularly about cities, architecture, and public space to a range of audiences, and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including NPR’s All Things Considered, Here and Now, and On Point; PRI’s The World; WNYC’s Leonard Lopate Show; and CSPAN’s BookTV.


Liz’s research interests include history of architecture, the politics and design of public space, New York City, and urban ethnography. She has taught writing at Harvard University and urban studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in Anthropology, with a graduate certificate in urban studies, from the University of Pennsylvania, and a BA in Anthropology from Haverford College.


Courses Taught

spring 2022

ENGL 137.401 Cities and Stories  

spring 2021

ENGL 137.401 Cities and Stories