Office: CAP 513
Focus: Community development, affordable housing, sustainable development, transport equity, and community schools
Bio: I am an assistant professor in the Department of Planning & Design in the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver. My research focuses on community and economic development, and the consequences for human development and well-being. Specific studies in this area include the impact of urban systems on parent engagement and school quality; strategies to include equity in transit developments; estimating transportation costs for households; national policy on surface, rail and air connectivity; and business location decisions. I am currently conducting research on long-term household recovery from the 2013 Colorado floods and am engaged in ongoing studies on the interaction between urban systems and parent engagement, neighborhood sustainability strategies, and the concept of location efficiency.
Prior to undertaking doctoral studies, I worked as a practicing planner and researcher in various organizations in Chicago, including the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development and Office of Management and Budget, and the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Since 2008, I have been a technical advisor to STAR Communities, a national rating system to provide sustainability and assessment tools for local governments. I received a B.B.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a M.U.P.P. from the University of Illinois-Chicago, and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
When it comes to urban and regional planning, what are you most passionate about?
I am passionate about increasing opportunities and improving the well-being of least advantaged citizens by restoring the quality of public goods and urban systems, including public transit, neighborhood parks, public schools, and recreation centers. I am also interested in the work of nonprofit community development organizations that bring together individuals, businesses, other nonprofits and social services.
What is the most important issue you believe the planning profession should be focusing on for the future, and why?
The most important issues are the accessibility, quality, and affordability of public goods. Current policy is betting on “choice” and the market as ways to increase access to better schools, better neighborhoods, and better housing, but the market is not sufficient. Most low-income households cannot access high-performing schools or quality housing in safe neighborhoods, even with school choice and housing choice programs.
As a planner and as an instructor, how do you view your role in the community?
To be an effective researcher, educator, and active member of the planning profession, I seek to identify and understand the current challenges in my focus areas. This helps me to structure my research so that it might inform policy and practice, as well as classroom learning. I interact with a variety of professionals and organizations in the field and related disciplines on a regular basis through serving on boards and working groups, attending community and professional events, and reaching out to individuals. Through these activities, I strive to incorporate real life examples in the classroom as the basis for understanding the process, policies, and politics of urban development, and local and regional planning and economics.
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