Office: CAP 509
Focus: Planning for natural hazards and climate change, disaster recovery, resilience, international planning, small town and rural development
Bio: I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Planning and Design at the University of Colorado Denver. My research is broadly concerned with the social and institutional dimensions of disasters and climate change, and with the relationships between urbanization and environmental risk. I am especially concerned with how urban planning policies and practice can help build more resilient cities, communities, and regions. I focus primarily on India and the United States.
I hold a PhD and MRP in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and a BA in Political Science from Reed College. My doctoral dissertation was awarded the Gill-Chin Lim award for best dissertation in international planning by the ACSP’s Global Planning Educators Group (GPEIG) in 2011. My work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, NOAA, the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center, the Clarence S. Stein Institute, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
My current research and professional projects include:
- A study of household and community recovery following the 2013 floods in Colorado, with a focus on affordable housing;
- A mixed-methods analysis of new towns and master planned settlements in India and their relationship to informal development;
- A study of indigenous institutions and their role in tsunami recovery in American Samoa;
- A community-based study of urbanization and landslide risk in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, India (with Save the Hills).
When it comes to urban and regional planning, what are you most passionate about?
I am passionate about understanding and addressing environmental inequality – for example, why some groups of people are more vulnerable than others to natural hazards and climate change. I believe that planning can play a fundamental role in reducing environmental inequality and in creating disaster resilient communities.
What is the most important issue you believe the planning profession should be focusing on for the future, and why?
Long term disaster recovery. The risks posed by natural hazards are growing, and yet we know relatively little about how households and communities recover from disaster. Disaster recovery is a process driven largely by local forces, and planning should play a key role in ensuring quicker and more sustainable recoveries.
As a planner and as an instructor, how do you view your role in the community?
I believe my greatest contribution to planning is in helping to prepare future generations of professionals to manage complex problems and to help create just, sustainable communities.
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