Justin D. Stern is currnetly the Harold A. Pollman Postdoctoral Fellow in Real Estate and Urban Development at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His research focuses on the interplay of economic development, technological disruption, and urban form in the rapidly urbanizing regions of East and Southeast Asia. In his dissertation, Global Outsourcing, Local Transformations: Transnational Business and Urban Restructuring in the Philippines, Stern examined the socio-spatial implications of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines. In Metro Manila alone, over a million people now work throughout the evening to service clients located in Europe and North America. A key finding of the dissertation is that the expansion of the BPO industry is driving a new type of urban agglomeration in the Philippines, one in which issues of time – and the specific time zone(s) served – shape the organization of physical space, and influence urban design and planning practices.

Stern holds a PhD in Urban Planning and a Master of Urban Planning (MUP) from Harvard University, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Design Studies from Sarah Lawrence College. His work has been supported by the Fulbright Program, the Harvard Frederick-Sheldon Traveling Fellowship, and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He has presented his work at numerous venues including The East Asia Regional Organization for Planning and Human Settlements World Congress; the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning; Leiden University; the Association of American Geographers; and the Urban Affairs Association. 

As the Pollman Fellow in Real Estate and Urban Development, Stern will work on a comparative research project, which builds on his dissertation and is entitled Offshoring, Automation, and the City: Mapping the Urban Futures of Global Outsourcing Hubs. The research will address automation in the BPO industry in four key cities: Bangalore, India; Johannesburg, South Africa; Kraków, Poland; and Manila, Philippines. Key questions addressed in the research include: How can local government institutions, real estate development corporations and other organizations prepare for the looming threat of automation in the BPO industry? And what larger lessons can be learned about functional building obsolescence caused by societal, economic, and technological changes?

In Spring 2019 Stern will join the faculty of Yale-NUS College as an Assitant Professor of Urban Studies