Deborah McKoy

Executive Director

Specializations - Education - Biography - awards - Selected Publications - Contact


Community development, education policy, public and mixed income housing policy, youth and authentic community engagement


Ph.D.  Education Policy, University of California, Berkeley
M.A.   Public Policy and Administration, Columbia University
B.A.    State University of New York, Albany


Deborah L. McKoy is the Executive Director and Founder of the UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools at the Institute of Urban and Regional Development and a lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning and the Graduate School of Education. Her research and teaching focuses on the intersection of educational reform, urban & metropolitan planning, community development and public policy. Central to her work is the critical role young people play in urban and metropolitan change and transformation.

For nearly two decades, Deborah’s work has bridged the worlds of research, policy and practice, including a wide range of professional experiences: Consultant to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Chief of Economic Development at the NYC Housing Authority; Director of Refugee Services for CAMBA, a NYC non-profit organization; and Consultant to the United Nation’s Education For All initiative. Deborah has published numerous articles and reports for academic and peer reviewed journals and her work and teaching has won a range of awards.


American Planning Association California Public Putreah Award of Excellence–MTC & ABAG (2019)

Bay Area Metro Award (2018)

Chancellor's Award for Public Service (2018, 2012, 2005, 2001) 
The Y-PLAN Initiative, created by Deborah McKoy, was recognized by the UC Berkeley Chancellor for Excellence in Public Service four times (2018, 2012, 2005,  2001).  

WCCUSD (West Contra Costa Unified School District) Partner of the Year Award (2016)

Chancellor's Faculty Service-Learning Leadership Award (2009)
Deborah McKoy was recognized by UC faculty and administration with the 2009 Faculty Service-Learning Leadership Award. 

Seminar Teacher of the Year, UC Berkeley Department of City and Regional Planning Department Award (2005) 

Selected Publications

“The Critical Role for Young People in Resilience Planning.” with Amanda Eppley and Shirl Buss. Community Development Innovation Review. 2019.

“Cultivating Inclusion, Belonging, and Agency in Young Black Men Through Civic Action Research.” with Amanda Eppley, and Blanca Gamez-Djokic. AERA Conference Paper. 2019.

Engaging Students in Transforming Their Built Environment via Y-PLAN: Lessons from Richmond, California” with Jessie Stewart and Shirl Buss. Children, Youth and Environments - Child-Friendly Cities: Critical Approaches Vol. (2): 229-244 (2015). University of Cincinnati. 

"Framing the Connections: Integrating Housing, Transportation and Education in City and Regional Planning,  with Jeffrey M. Vincent. Chapter in "Finding Common Ground: Coordinating Housing and Education Policy to Promote Integration by the Poverty and Race Research Action Council (PRRAC) and the National Coalition on School Diversity (Philip Tegeler, Editor, pg 53-60) 2013.

“Opportunity Rich Schools and Sustainable Communities:  Seven Steps to Aligning High Quality  Education with Innovations in City and Metropolitan Planning and Development” with Jeffrey M. Vincent and Ariel H. Bierbaum. Prepared for What Works Collaborative, Urban Institute (2012).

“Trajectories of Opportunity for Young Men and Boys of Color:  Built Environment and Place-making Strategies for Creating Equitable, Healthy, and Sustainable Communities", with Jeffrey M. Vincent, and Ariel H. Bierbaum in Changing Places in How Communities Will Improve the Health of Boys of Color, Edited by Christopher Edley and Jorge Ruiz de Velasco. University of California Press, Nov. 2010.

“Social Enterprise for Learning: A Replicable Model of Service Learning and Civic Engagement”, Social Studies Review 49(1): 82-85 with David Stern and Ariel H. Bierbaum

“Putting Schools on the Map: Linking Transit-Oriented Development, Families, and Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area”, Report for Great Communities Collaborative and IURD Working Paper, with Ariel Bierbaum and Jeffrey M. Vincent, June 2010.

“The Mechanics of City-School Initiatives: Transforming Neighborhoods of Distress & Despair into Neighborhoods of Choice & Promise” with Ariel H. Bierbaum, Jeffrey M. Vincent , Policy Brief, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, IURD, December 2010.

“Housing and Education: The Inextricable Link,” with Jeffrey M. Vincent. In Segregation: The Rising Costs for America. Edited by James H. Carr and Nandinee Kutty. London: Routledge, 2008.

(510) 643-3105