Elizabeth Glazer is the founder of Vital City. Most recently, she served as the director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice where she led the strategy to produce a dramatic reduction in the jail population and to create community-led safety strategies. She previously oversaw the criminal justice agencies in New York State as the governor’s deputy secretary for public safety. She is a former federal prosecutor and clerked for then-U.S. Circuit Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Vital City offers actionable strategies to build thriving cities. We believe that durable safety comes from civic well-being — decent schools, housing and jobs, active and inviting public spaces, prospering local businesses and vibrant local culture. Through a policy journal, special reports, data analysis and more, Vital City provides a broad range of creative and practical ideas for achieving and maintaining public safety. Our work is motivated by our love for New York City, our belief in the power of evidence and our optimism about the future of cities. Vital City is currently in residence at Columbia Law School.
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Greg Berman is the co-editor of Vital City and the distinguished fellow of practice at the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. He has spent his career outside of government in the nonprofit sector, including helping to co-found and lead the Center for Court Innovation. He is the author/co-author of several books, including most recently "Gradual: The Case for Incremental Change in a Radical Age" (Oxford University Press).
Josh Greenman was op-ed editor of the New York Daily News from 2006 to 2022, and also served as the paper's editorial page editor from 2016-2022. He continues to serve as a senior contributing member on The News' editorial board. Prior to his time at the paper, he worked in political speechwriting and policy in New York City and in Washington, and did communications and strategy work in the nonprofit world. Many years ago when he was funny, he wrote headlines and a couple of fake news stories for The Onion. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughters.
Vital City’s contributors include leading scholars, activists and practitioners.
What People Are Saying About Vital City
Richard R. Buery, Jr.
CEO, Robin Hood Foundation
“I know from my experience as Deputy Mayor how hard it is for government decision makers in New York to identify new ideas that are grounded in evidence and that can be easily translated into policy. That’s why the launch of Vital City is such good news. It promises to be a valuable source of new thinking that is both practical and actionable.”
Founder and Managing Principal at MSquared and former New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development
“Now in our time of intense partisan battles around public safety issues, we need data-driven solutions that acknowledge the crucial roles that affordable housing, economic development and stable communities play. That is what Vital City will bring and why I am so excited they are entering this debate.”
Zachary W. Carter
Former US Attorney, former Corp Counsel and former Judge, Criminal Court
“Vital City knows that sound criminal policy has always been grounded in data — data which disabuses us of firmly held but erroneous beliefs — data that points us toward new solutions — data that provides common ground for constructive working relationships. Vital City creates a forum for the presentation of criminal policy prescriptions grounded in serious research. What a great public service.”
Dean and Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law at Columbia Law School
“Achieving meaningful and lasting change within our communities requires innovative thinking, rigorous analysis, and the participation of a broad range of stakeholders. Columbia Law School is deeply committed to training leaders equipped with the skills necessary to bring about this change — in the law itself, and in the institutions that administer justice. I am excited that our students and faculty will have the opportunity to enrich and learn from Elizabeth Glazer and the experts at Vital City, which begins a residency at Columbia Law School this spring.”
Hon. Jonathan Lippman
Former Chief Judge, New York State
“The political debate about public safety in New York City could use more light and less heat these days. That’s precisely what Vital City aims to bring. With their experience both inside and outside of government, Greg Berman and Elizabeth Glazer, along with their team of contributors, are uniquely positioned to advance sensible solutions to the crime problems that continue to bedevil us.”
Deputy CEO, Fortune Society
“We need all hands on deck in New York City so we don’t slip back into the bad old days with the loudest voices on the fringes driving criminal justice policy and we return to mass incarceration. We’ve learned that NYC can have safe communities and reduce mass incarceration without sacrificing communities most impacted by crime and mass incarceration. That’s why I welcome the launch of Vital City, which promises to be a welcome voice based on best practices, research and data, and provider and stakeholder input.”
Anthony E. Shorris
Former First Deputy Mayor, City of New York
“The cure for the violence that plagues our society will come about only with real change in how we value each other through our politics, economics, and culture, but along the way, we can surely make the world safer for each other by listening to the best ideas of those who care deeply about these issues, starting with Elizabeth Glazer and Greg Berman.”
Cyrus Vance Jr.
Former Manhattan District Attorney
“I know from my experience as Manhattan DA that government needs to open its doors to new thinking and new ways of doing business if it going to succeed in building stronger and safer communities. By providing fresh ideas and rigorous analysis, Vital City can be a powerful force for good, not just here in New York City, but around the world.”
Senior Advisor at HR&A Advisors and former Chair, New York City Planning Commission
“Vital City recognizes that the twin goals of safety and justice are not a zero sum game. Its founder, Elizabeth Glazer, is one of our most intelligent and thoughtful experts regarding our complex criminal justice system. Together with their team of contributors, they can provide rational and comprehensive answers to some of our city’s most pressing problems.”
Daniel F. Wilhelm
President, Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
“The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation creates and disseminates knowledge against violence. The inaugural issue of Vital City does the same thing, making it an important effort in which to invest. By convening and making the work of leading scholars accessible to decision makers and an engaged public, Vital City is poised to make an important contribution to the effort to reduce gun violence in New York and other cities.”
President & CEO, Partnership for New York City
“Vital City intends to build consensus in support of practical solutions to front burner criminal justice and public safety issues, starting with gun violence. This is an effort that is both important and timely.”
Website branding and creative by Design for Progress. Website and interactive development by Thought Driven Development. Contributor portraits by Arthur Mount and Paula Jackson. Sonic ID by Jeff Brodsky.