Joshua K. Leon is an associate professor of Political Science and International Studies at Iona University. He is currently on leave to research a project in residence as a 2022-2023 Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation Fellow at the New-York Historical Society.

He has also taught at Villanova, Temple and Drexel Universities. He has recently written for venues including The Chicago Tribune, The Progressive, Dissent, Third World Quarterly, City, Journal of Urban History, Planning Perspectives, Metropolis, Peace Review, The China Beat, Cities, Brooklyn Rail, Monthly Review, The Normal School, Asia Times, Foreign Policy in Focus, Arch Daily, Urban Omnibus, and Cambridge Review of International Affairs. He was author of the “World Watch” column for Next City from 2008-2011. In 2010, he covered the Shanghai World Expo for Next City magazine and Foreign Policy In Focus.

His book, The Rise of Global Health: The Evolution of Effective Collective Action, was released in 2015, with a paperback release in 2016. The book analyzes how major actors such as the World Health Organization and World Bank fostered an expanded global health regime, aggressively addressing the health related aspects of globalization. A doctorate in Political Science, he writes on global governance, development, poverty, global health, and urbanization.

His most recent completed manuscript is called World Cities in History: Power and Statecraft in City Life From Uruk To Amsterdam (under review at a university press). He is working on another manuscript called New York 1860: City on a Precipice, which is under contract with Columbia University Press.

He lives in Manhattan. Faculty website.



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The Rise of Global Health: The Evolution of Effective Collective Action (Albany: SUNY Press, 2016).

Manuscripts in progress:

World Cities in History: Power and Statecraft in City Life From Uruk to Amsterdam. Manuscript in progress. 140,000 words. Under review at a university press.

New York 1860: City on a Precipice. Received fellowship and grant at the New-York Historical Society for 2022-23. Under contract with Columbia University Press.

Scholarly Articles

“Global Cities in Analog: Modernism in Intercity Relations, 1900-1940,” Journal of Urban History (August 11, 2021).

“The Global Governance of Housing: 1945-2016,” Planning Perspectives 36(3) (2021), 475-494.

“Global Cities at any Cost: Resisting Municipal Mercantilism.” City 21(1) March 2017, 1-19.

“The Role of Global Cities in Land Grabs.” Third World Quarterly 36(2) March 2015. 

“Why is the World Bank Financing Forced Evictions?” Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice 26 (2) June 2014.

“Confronting Catastrophe: Norms, Efficiency and the Evolution of the AIDS Battle in the UN.” Cambridge Review of International Affairs 24 (3) September 2011.

“Perspectives on Chinese Urbanization.” Cities 28 (3) June 2011.


“A Book Is A Machine For Thinking,” The Normal School (October 4, 2016).

J.K. Leon, “Orlando and Orlandoans,” Chicago Tribune (November 22, 2015).


“Telecommuting and the Post-Pandemic City,” The Progressive (May 27, 2021).

“Nations Fight Extreme Patenting to Ensure Access to COVID-19 Relief,” The Progressive (May 19, 2020).

“The Pandemic and Poor Countries,” The Progressive (March 30, 2020). Syndicated by Tribute Media Services and MSN.

“House of Cards: Ben Carson Builds on HUD’s Long-Shaky Foundation,” The Progressive (June/July 2018). Cover feature.

“Sanctuary Cities in an Age of Resistance,” The Progressive (March, 2017). Cover feature.

“Finding Radical Alternatives in Slums, Exurbs, and Enclaves,” Metropolis (April 7, 2015). Syndicated in Arch Daily. En Español.

“New York’s Skyscraper Boom and the Failure of Trickle Down Urbanism,” Metropolis (November 25, 2014). Syndicated in Arch Daily.

“Times Square Postmodern,” Urban Omnibus (September 30, 2014). (Journal of the New York Architectural League)

“Fighting For Tenants Rights on the Lower East Side,” Urban Omnibus (July 9, 2014). 

“What Broadacre City Can Teach Us,” Metropolis (July 2, 2014). 

“Beyond the ‘World of 70’: Inequality and the 2030 Development Goals,” Dissent (December 17, 2013).

“Who Really Benefits from Central Park?” Metropolis (December 6, 2013).

“Destroying the City to Save It: New York in the Shadow of Le Corbusier,” Dissent (September 12, 2013).

“Street,” The Brooklyn Rail (July/August 2013).

“Redesigning Resistance,” The Brooklyn Rail (April 2013).

“Make Way for High Rises: Who Benefits From Slum Demolitions in Mumbai?” Dissent (March 13, 2013). Syndicated in The Morung Express

“Health Care Reform, Year Zero,” Z Magazine (November 2012). Syndicated in Monthly Review‘s MRZine.

“Vertical Impressions,” Metropolis (August 5, 2012).

“Spaces of Capital,” Brooklyn Rail (May 2012).

“Elegantly Urbanized” Metropolis (November 17, 2011).

“Radical Spaces,” Metropolis (October 14, 2011).

“One City, Two Visions,” Metropolis (August 30, 2011).

“Perspectives on Chinese Urbanization,” The China Beat (May 12, 2011). A longer version appears in Cities, see above.

“Shanghai’s Expo Vision,” Foreign Policy in Focus (July 16, 2010).

“Facts About Iraq: Five Arguments for the Anti-War Movement,” Z-Magazine (February 2005).

Photo Journals

“What We Really Mean When We Talk About Urban Crowding,” Metropolis (October 13, 2015). 

“Postcard From…Mumbai,” Foreign Policy in Focus (April 18, 2013). This article also appears in Asia Times and Epoch Times.

“Reimagining Mexico City,” Next City (July 26, 2011).

“Postcard From…Shanghai,” Foreign Policy in Focus (December 3, 2010).

“City of Contrasts: A Slideshow From Shanghai,” Next City (July 30, 2010).


“Poverty Capitalism: Interview With Ananya Roy,” Foreign Policy in Focus (February 17, 2011).

Selected Next City Columns

“Here Comes the World Expo,” Next City (March 29, 2010).

“Putting Our Best Facade Forward,” Next City (March 29, 2010).

“Vancouver’s Crackdown,” Next City (December 22, 2009).

“A Recipe for Slums,” Next City (November 19, 2009).

“De-industrialization is not Progress,” Next City (September 8, 2009).

“Should We Abandon the Uncreative Class?” Next City (May 19, 2009).

“City People Vs. ‘Real Americans’: A False Dichotomy?” Next City (September 22, 2008).

In the News

Urban History, noteworthy articles for the year.

Westchester News 12, on Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandates

Caves of Altamira podcast: “A City Way To Live: Digging Into Humanity’s Urbanization,” with Kevin M. Hockmuth (Akita Int’l University) and Jeffrey N. Carroll (Chestnut Hill College).

City, on unequal urbanism.

Daily Excelsior, on urban development in India.

The American Prospect, criticism of the “creative class” theory.

The AtlanticRichard Florida responds.

The Nation, letter on C. Wright Mills.

Gotham Gazette, on race in urban politics.

Free Press Journalon urban-rural divides.

Planetizen, various references to city writing.

National Post, on Jane Jacobs and “creative class” theory.

San Francisco Green Film Festival, on the film Urbanized.