John Young is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University. His book project and dissertation responds to the challenges posed by urbanization to liberal democratic societies. The primary contributions of the dissertation are an account of what it means to be free in the city and the development of a justification for a two-tiered system of metropolitan governance that preserves the democratic value of local self-determination while empowering cities to overcome spatial inequality and fragmented governance.
Additionally, John is working on a second book project that examines the role of autonomy in liberalism, in light of the most recent developments in psychology, behavioral economics, and political behavior. John is developing a theory of autonomy that is more consistent with what we know about the human mind, and examining the potential for liberalism to incorporate this theory of autonomy without sacrificing fundamental liberal commitments.
Future research plans include several projects on the politics of space. One project will examine the emerging rural-urban divide in American politics, with an eye towards resolving differences between rural and urban populations and considering possibilities for the devolution of state powers to cities and rural areas. A second project puts forth arguments for the political importance of parks and nature. In particular, parks and nature are important sites for the exercise of democratic citizenship and cultivation of citizen virtues.