Faculty Spotlight

Thomas J. Vicino

Associate Professor of Political Science
Director, Master of Public Administration program
PhD, University of Maryland

Professor Vicino’s research, teaching, and service focus on the political economy of cities and suburbs — and the related issues of metropolitan development, housing, and demographic analysis — and ultimately the public policy responses.

Origins of Professor Vicino’s interests

Professor Vicino grew up in Columbia, Maryland, one of the earliest planned communities inspired by the “new town movement.” In the 1960s a number of communities throughout the U.S. were developed as a response to the large-scale movement of people from central cities to suburbs. Most suburbs were just growing in an uncoordinated sprawl. This new town movement, and the communities inspired by it, was intended to better integrate various mixed uses – residential, commercial, retail, social, educational – into a more harmonious community.  James Rouse, the founder of Columbia, was also committed to fostering a racially and economically diverse and socially-integrated community. Having grown up in this community, Professor Vicino began to see the contrast with other communities that were not planned with these goals in mind. He credits this experience with inspiring his interest in issues of urban and suburban planning, public policy, economic development, and social integration.


After attending the University of Miami as an undergraduate, Professor Vicino entered the Master of Public Policy Program at the University of Maryland. Originally planning to attend law school, he soon changed trajectory and decided to pursue a PhD. After completing his PhD, ProfessorVicino taught for two years at the University of Texas at Arlington and then one year at Wheaton College before coming to Northeastern University.

Northeastern a perfect match

In addition to Northeastern University’s longstanding commitment to community engagement and its growing reputation as a major research university, Professor Vicino was particularly attracted to our passion around urban and regional policy. In addition to his primary appointment in the political science department, Professor Vicino is affiliated with the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. Professor Vicino teaches undergraduate courses in political science and urban studies and graduate courses in the Master of Public Administration and Master of Urban and Regional Policy programs.

Books by Professor Vicino
  • Suburban Crossroads: The Fight for Local Control of Immigration Policy
    (Rowman & Littlefield, forthcoming in 2012)
  • Cities and Suburbs: New Metropolitan Realities in the U.S. (Routledge, 2009)
  • Transforming Race and Class in Suburbia: Decline in Metropolitan Baltimore (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008)

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