Business & Public Policy
Leading expert on urban technology
Molly Turner is a leading expert on technology startups and cities. Through her teaching at Haas and her work in the field, she has shaped the contemporary conversation about technology’s impacts on urban life and governance. At Haas, Turner teaches the popular class Tech and the City: How to Get Urban Innovation Right to graduate MBAs. She is also the co-host and co-producer of the podcast Technopolis from Atlantic Media and CityLab. Turner is deeply engaged in contemporary tech and urban policy issues through her advisory role with urban tech startups, and board membership of urban policy think tank SPUR.
Turner was an early employee of Airbnb, where she established the company’s public policy team in 2011 and directed its groundbreaking regulatory collaboration with cities. As the Global Head of Civic Partnerships, Turner directed Airbnb’s partnerships with governments around the world, including its international disaster response program, neighborhood tourism development program, and 2015 launch in Cuba. Before Airbnb, Turner worked for the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, the UNESCO World Heritage Cities Program, and an urban planning consulting firm. Turner holds a Master in Urban Planning from Harvard University and a BA from Dartmouth College.
Expertise and Research Interests
- Urban Innovation
- Tech Policy
- Economic Development
- Tourism Policy
- Urban Planning
- Molly Turner. Homelessness in the Bay Area. SPUR.
- In Review: Crowdsourcing the Built Environment. Harvard Journal of Real Estate.
- Molly Turner. The Impact of Home Sharing on Cities. Cities Today.
- Molly Turner. Letter from San Francisco: On Being an Urban Planner in the Tech World. NextCity.org.
- Molly Turner, Ana Pereira Roders and Marc Patry. Revealing the Level of Tension Between Cultural Heritage and Development in World Heritage Cities. 6th International Seminar on Urban Conservation: Measuring Heritage Conservation Performance, 29-31 March 2011, Recife, Brazil / Ed. Scientific Committee.
- Molly Turner, Ana Pereira Roders and Angela Pons. The Sustainability of Management Practices in the Old City of Salamanca. Facilities.
At Haas since 2016
2017 – present, Co-Host and Co-Producer, Technopolis podcast from Atlantic Media and CityLab
2016 – present, urban innovation advisor to tech startups and cities
2014 – 2011, Global Head of Civic Partnerships, and Director of Public Policy, Airbnb
2011, Neighborhood Development Researcher, San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development
2010 – 2011, Sustainable Development Researcher, UNESCO World Heritage Center
2010, Sustainable Tourism Development Consultant, Solimar International
2006 – 2009, Regional Trip Manager and Leader, Backroads
2005 – 2006, Urban Planning Associate, Dyett and Bhatia
- 2017 – present, Member, Housing Policy Committee, Tech Equity Collaborative
- 2016 – Working Group on Innovation and Regulation, Aspen Institute Center for Urban Innovation
- 2013 – present, Board of Directors, Tumml
- 2013 – present, Board of Directors, SPUR
- Scooter Rides Have Turned Into a Data Privacy Issue for Cities, Bloomberg Businessweek, 11/10/2021
- Remaking the Climate-Resilient City, Greentech Media, 05/21/2021
- Tech Firms and Titans Leave California for Texas. Does It Matter?, KQED, 12/22/2020
- Micromobility isn’t dead, Bloomberg, 08/05/2020
- CA Economic Recovery, Navajo Nation and COVID-19, Future of Cities, KQED, 05/30/2020
- This City Was Sick of Tech Disruptors. So It Decided to Become One., CityLab, 02/21/2020
- Urban Tech Leaders Need Some Basic City Literacy, CityLab, 01/17/2020
- SF officials want to regulate cutting-edge tech. Would their plan stifle innovation?, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/09/2019
- Robots kill jobs. Will the Bay Area be better off for it?, San Francisco Chronicle, 07/11/2019
- Why Technology Hasn’t Fixed the Housing Crisis, The New York Times, 01/29/2019
- When Elon Musk Tunnels Under Your Home, The Atlantic, 11/15/2018
- Should Big Business Pay to Fight Homelessness, Transportation Woes? Voters Will Decide, The California Report, 10/25/2018
- Proposition C: Taxing Businesses to Fund Homeless Services, KQED Newsroom, 10/12/2018
- Should Startups Ask for Permission or Beg for Forgiveness?, Quartz, 09/06/2018
- Dockless Bikeshare Startup Spin Adds Some Big-names as Advisers, The Washington Post, 11/07/2017
- Tech & the City: How to Get Urban Innovation Right, MBA