Strategic Urban Development and the Climate-Security Nexus in US Foreign Policy: Evidence from Central America



Max Nathanson is a DPhil candidate at the Smith School of Enterprise and Environment and St. Antony's College, supervised by Cameron Hepburn and Diane Davis (Harvard). At the Smith School he supports the Oxford Sustainable Future of Capital-Intensive Industries Programme. He is a Rotary Global Scholar. His research explores the political economy of the climate-security nexus, examining the effects of US-supported industrial policy, economic development, and urbanization in Central America on climate resilience, migration, and regional security. Prior to the DPhil he worked in US politics: managing economic development and future of work policy for Colorado Governor Jared Polis, where he was a core member of the Governor's COVID-19 response team, and as a policy advisor at Co-Equal, working with US congressional staff on legislative affairs and congressional oversight.

He is the founder and CEO of the Oxford Urbanists, a global urban development social enterprise, and was a small business organizer for the Biden-Harris campaign. He has also held research roles at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government and Saïd Business School, University College London’s Bartlett Development Planning Unit, and the World Economic Forum’s Future of Construction and Infrastructure Initiative. His writing has been published by Foreign Policy, Reuters, the Harvard Kennedy School Review, El Comercio, Mongabay, China Dialogue, Wild, and Global Americans, among other outlets. Max holds an MPhil in international development from Oxford, and a bachelor's degree, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, in political science from the University of Colorado, where he was a Norlin Scholar. He is passionate about community development and serves on the Boulder County Workforce Development Board, at the I Have A Dream Foundation of Boulder County, and advises the University of Colorado Law School's immigrant entrepreneurship clinic. He was named a Boulder County Leadership Fellow in 2020 and a 30 Under 30 Innovator for Urban Development by UN-Habitat in 2019.

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