Kent E. Portney

American Politics, Political Behavior
Ph.D., Florida State University, 1979


Kent E. Portney is Professor of Political Science, Faculty Research Affiliate and Director of Water and Ocean Research Program at the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP), Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and Adjunct Professor in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.

He teaches courses in environmental politics and policy, water policies and politics, sustainable cities, methodology, judicial politics, political behavior, and survey research. He is the author of Taking Sustainable Cities Seriously: Economic Development, the Environment, and Quality of Life in American Cities, second edition (MIT Press, 2013), Approaching Public Policy Analysis (Prentice-Hall, 1986), Siting Hazardous Waste Treatment Facilities: The NIMBY Syndrome (Auburn House, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1991), and Controversial Issues in Environmental Policy (Sage Publications, 1992).

He is also the co-author of Acting Civically, published in 2007 by Tufts University Press, and The Rebirth of Urban Democracy (Brookings, 1993), which won the American Political Science Association's 1994 Gladys Kammerer Award for the Best Book in American Politics, and the American Political Science Association Organized Section on Urban Politics' 1994 Best Book in Urban Politics Award; and he is the co-editor of The Distributional Impacts of Public Policies (St. Martin's, 1988). He is also co-editor of Virtual Decisions: Digital Simulations for Teaching Reasoning in the Social Sciences and Humanities published in 2006 by Lawrence Erlbaum. He has served as a member of the OECD's Metropolitan Review Panel.

Professor Portney also has written numerous journal articles and book chapters. His article "Local Sustainability Policies and Programs as Economic Developlment: Is the New Economic Development Sustainable Development?" appeared in the journal Cityscape in 2013; his article "Sustainability and Interest Group Participation in City Politics" appeared in the open-access online journal Sustainability in 2013.

Portney has held grants from the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and the Polaroid Foundation. He is co-PI on a five-year NSF IGERT grant to establish the Water Diplomacy doctoral program. He received a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Fund for the Improvement in Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to support the development of Crime and Punishment, a multimedia simulation of the criminal sentencing process in the felony courts, which was selected as an Internet2 Application Showcase project and was featured at H-NET's Envisioning the Future conference. Professor Portney was recipient of the American Political Science Association's 1997 Rowman and Littlefield Award for innovative teaching in Political Science. He also received the APSA section on Information Technology and Politics Award for best instructional software.


PS 78, Political Behavior of Young People
PS 115, Public Opinion and Survey Research
PS 118-03 Water Policy and Economics (cross-listed as CEE 094A)
PS 119EG, E-Government
PS 119JS, Governing in a Partisan Environment
PS 116, Judicial Politics
PS 194, Politics of Environmental Policy in the U.S.
PS 195, Seminar on the Politics of Sustainable Cities

Research & Publications

Prof. Portney's Research Areas:
Click on a Research Area for publications, activities, and related resources.

Civic and Political Engagement

Sustainable Cities

Criminal Sentencing

Digital Decision Simulations

Student Research:

Climate Action Library:


View Prof. Portney's "Our Green Cities" Website and Blog.

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