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James P. Allen

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Degrees: BS Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX; Master of Strategic Studies, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, PA

Research Interests: Transportation planning and modeling, strategic sustainability, infrastructure resilience

Description of Research: Sustainable transportation planning, metrics, and modeling for disaster relief and contingency operations. Utilizing infrastructure assessment and remote sensing to inform decision.

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Atyeh Ashtari

email / LinkedIn

Degrees: B.S. in Architectural Engineering Technology, Tehran University of Art; Master of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests: Gender and urbanization, urban informalities, people as infrastructure, transnational solidarities

Description of Research: I come from Iran and I was born and raised within the intertwined fabric of a patriarchal society, experiencing gender inequality and its implications each and every day. That is why my research deals with everyday development of urban environment in Iran’s poor quarters through gendered practices using feminist social reproduction lens, in particular a radical care approach. Moreover, my studies in architecture, landscape architecture and planning help me see the built environment on a spectrum and realize the potential of the built environment and public space as mediums of change in combating social injustice issues.

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Balakrishnan R. Balachandran

email / CV

Degrees: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Kerala, India; Post Graduate Diploma in Planning, CEPT University, India

Research Interests: Post-disaster recovery planning; resilience, adaptation and disaster mitigation; land use planning

Description of Research: Disasters have been displacing 25 million people globally on average every year. Those displaced – from individual families to entire communities – face the question of returning or relocating. Planners and planning processes play a significant role in nudging them towards that decision. While the dominant discourses around disaster-induced relocation tend to focus on hazard risk, the affected communities have to tradeoff hazard risk against risks to income, social capital, culture, identity, sentiments and historical legacy. My doctoral dissertation intends to unpack this risk tradeoff to provide insights to planners for ensuring that plans for post-disaster recovery and resiliency are sensitive to the realities of those displaced.

The coastal communities of South Louisiana are exposed to both chronic and acute hazards. Over several decades, this region has been losing land at an alarming rate to subsidence caused by various factors, forcing families and businesses to relocate. Hurricanes and storm surges aggravate the situation, forcing people to move even earlier than they would have expected to. Coastal communities have lives that are closely related to the place, not just in terms of their livelihood but also in terms of cultural and social practices. This is especially true of socially and economically vulnerable groups who are victims of discrimination and injustice historically and currently. Environmental changes in the region have been causing hardship and the process of relocation aggravates the situation, disrupting community and exposing those affected to a wider range of risks. The coastal communities of South Louisiana offer a critical case for understanding the risk tradeoff encountered by communities displaced by disaster.

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Vinisha Singh Basnet

email / LinkedIn

Degrees: M.A. in Environment & Development, Ambedkar University Delhi; B.A. in English, University of Delhi

Research Interests: Human ecology, housing and urban development, mobility justice

Description of Research: For my MA thesis, I researched on the implementation of a resettlement and rehabilitation policy following irrigation-induced-displacement in dry-lands of central India. I focused on tracing the policy as it traveled through various bureaucratic levels through archival research and in-depth interviews with displaced persons. My research revealed that the local state is open to several readjustments and gaps when confronted by difficult situations.

Prior to entering my PhD, I worked as a Research Associate since 2017 at Centre for Development Practice, Ambedkar University Delhi where I was engaged in an action-research project Unlocking the Value Potential of Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) and was funded by the Ford Foundation, India. Through my research I was able to conceptualize and design a germplasm/seed repository (called Living Brood Lac Bank) of insect Kerria lacca an economically important species for indigenous community in central India which otherwise was vanishing from their local forest. The bank that aimed to enhance the livelihoods of forest-dependent indigenous Gond communities was co-created with the help of the community on their common land in collaboration with local NGOs and state organization by integrating community’s as well as available ‘scientific’ knowledge around sustainable insect rearing. As of today, the seed bank stands fully functioning and government officials are considering the model of Living Brood Lac Bank to be adopted throughout the state of Chhattisgarh, India.

Following my interest, I look forward to research that brings theory and practice together in planning from the framework of ecological sustainability. My interest lies in understanding the nonhuman human relationship in urban and regional spaces to an aim for environment sustainability and attaining co-habitable future(s).

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Maximilian Eisenburger

email

Research Interests: Regional economic development, workforce development, “reshoring” and “advanced manufacturing” policy

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MD Tanvir Hossain Shubho

email / webpage / LinkedIn / BUET / Resume 

Degrees: Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning (BURP), Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET); Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP), BUET

Research Interests: Transit Oriented Development, land use-transportation interaction, GIS in urban and regional planning, intelligent transportation system, travel behavior

Description of Research: At present, I am working on a research project that aims to investigate the relationship between urban population density and the relative carbon-efficiency of public transit and private vehicles. Although public transit is often promoted as a more sustainable passenger travel mode than driving, transit’s carbon efficiency largely depends on passenger load factor. In many parts of urban areas in the U.S., population densities and hence transit ridership are so low that transit emits more carbon dioxide per passenger mile than automobiles. This research will propose a notion of carbon-efficient thresholds of urbanized area population density. Besides, my research interests include TOD induced business, appropriate parking strategies, walkability and bikeability, modeling land use mix, travel time and mode choice, ITS and its use in transit ridership, reliability, and retention.

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Zach Kennedy

email / webpage / resume

Degrees: BA Economics, UIUC; Master of Urban Planning, UIUC

Research Interests: Small town planning, land-use planning, planning support systems

Description of Research: My research concerns Planning, economic development and land-use policy in small towns and rural communities. I am interested in developing and/or adapting practical planning support systems that can be implemented in smaller communities. This research will allow smaller communities, many without the resources to have their own planning staff, to engage in data-driven decision making which in turn can lead to increased quality of life for community residents. In addition to my PhD work, I am a Community and Economic Development Specialist with the University of Illinois Extension.

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Photo of Amanda Merck in a bright yellow sweatshirt

Amanda Merck

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Degrees: Master of Public Health, University of Texas Health School of Public Health

Research Interests: Transportation, mobility justice, zoning for equity, public policy, and healthy communities

Description of Research: Transportation and urban planning practices shape our physical and social world and determine who gets access to what. However, because many of these practices are rooted in a history of discriminatory policymaking and investment decision-making, American neighborhoods were not created equal, resulting in unjust obstacles to stay healthy and thrive. My research interests are to explore the consequences of and contributors to inequities in transportation and land-use decision-making and to better understand transportation barriers that threaten social, economic, and health outcomes. As the medical and public health fields explore screening tools to measure transportation insecurity; as state and local transportation departments and agencies transition to performance-based planning and programming; as federal and state transportation engineering standards are updated; and as federal and state dollars continue to get pumped into health care, poverty reduction programs, and roadways, my goal is to understand and work at the intersection of these efforts to ensure the best use of public investment.

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Natalie Prochaska

email / student profile

Degrees: B.A. Political Science, University of Chicago 2009. M.A. Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2015; Thesis title: “Bristol Place Neighborhood Plan: Urban Renewal in Post-Kelo Fiscal Policy Space”

Research Interests: Housing, municipal, and community development finance, Critical GIS, land use regulation, urban political economy

Description of Research: My research focuses on financial segregation in city-building. I am interested in how access to capital restricts opportunity (regardless of mobility- or place-based investment strategies), and how communities are re-structuring the distribution of individual and collective risk in housing through CLTs and in business through CDFIs to create more resilient neighborhoods.

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Faizaan Qayyum

email

Degrees: B.Sc (Hons) Economics, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS); Master of Urban Planning (MUP), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests: Marginalization, urban violence, grassroots activism, displacement, transnational solidarities, insurgent planning, cities of the global south, urban political economy

Description of Research: I am interested in how violence, cities, and people shape one another, especially in contexts of informality and ineffective governance. My research is based in critical theory and has included physical, social, economic, and spatial implements and consequences of marginalization. I link them with state institutions and processes as well as local and transnational solidarities and movements to reclaim the city.

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Ariam L. Torres Cordero

email / LinkedIn  / Instagram

Degrees: BA Economics, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez; MA Urban Planning, University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras

Research Interests: Disaster recovery, environmental justice, grassroots planning, community development, transformative planning

Description of Research: My research focuses on grassroots initiatives for transformative disaster recovery. I study bottom-up practices and processes that are effective in helping marginalized communities mitigate social and environmental injustices and develop alternative pathways towards a just recovery. This includes examining different spaces and forms of active citizenship mobilized by local and transnational civic sector groups for post-disaster recovery.

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Emma Walters

email

Degrees: 2013, B.A. International Relations and Religion, Boston University;
2021, M.A. Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests: Housing, public policy, and shrinkage

Description of Research: My research is still developing as I enter my first year, but I am broadly interested in the ways that housing is developed, financed, and experienced in places facing shrinkage through the perspective of various market actors and public policy. This includes a focus on tax sales and how, in shrinking regions, they function as not only a place for extraction and accumulation, but potentially as an alternative avenue to acquire affordable housing when other means of access are not available. Additionally, I am interested in examining the role policy and political actors play in addressing the planning and policy needs of places experiencing shrinkage.

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Ozge Yenigun

email / LinkedIn / ResearchGate

Degrees: B.S. City and Regional Planning, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey (2012); M.S. Regional Planning, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey (2015)

Research Interests: Regional economic development, entrepreneurship, immigration and diversity, urban and regional governance, gentrification and displacement, grassroots initiatives

Description of Research: My current research focuses on the role of diversity in regional economic development. In particular, I examine how social, cultural, ethnic and demographic diversity affects economic development of regions. My research concerns diversified labor market dynamics in relation with the role of governance and institutional arrangements at multiple levels shaping economic activity. Identifying the factors shaping the relationship between diversity and economic development can help planner and policy-makers define strategies with which cities and regions can benefit from diversity as sources of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.

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