Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh (Persian: کیان تاجبخش ) is an Iranian-American scholar, social scientist and urban planner. He is a dual citizen of the United States and Iran, and has taught at both American and Iranian universities. Tajbakhsh is also an international expert in the areas of local government reform, urban planning, public health, and social policy. He has consulted for several Iranian government organizations, including the Municipalities Organization, the Social Security Organization, and the Ministry of the Interior, and with international nongovernmental organizations such as the World Bank, the Open Society Institute, and the Netherlands Association of Municipalities. His work in Iran has included evaluating humanitarian relief and rebuilding projects in the aftermath of the devastating 2003 earthquake in Bam.
Tajbakhsh's academic research examines the evolving nature of Iranian state institutions and the policy-making process in Iran. In 2006, he completed a three-year study of the local government sector in Iran. He is the author of two books, The Promise of the City: Space, Identity and Politics in Contemporary Social Thought (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 2001), and Social Capital: Trust, Democracy and Development (Tehran: Shiraze Publishers 2005, in Persian). He has also published numerous scholarly articles, as well as non-academic writings on cinema and culture.
From 1994 until 2001, Tajbakhsh taught Urban Policy and Politics at the New School for Social Research in New York City. He received his BA from Imperial College London in 1983, his M.Sc. from University College London in 1984, and his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1993. He is a member of the American Sociological Association and the Iranian Sociological Association. For a brief period Tajbakhsh was an advisor to the Soros Foundation Open Society Institute. He discontinued his work with OSI following his 2007 arrest.