Degrees: Urban and Regional Planning Doctoral Candidate; Graduate Minors: 1) Gender Relations in International Development, 2) Global Studies. Master of Landscape Architecture from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Bachelor of Architectural Engineering from University of Art, Tehran, Iran.
Research Interests: Atyeh’s research interests center community as the main unit of analysis and emphasis, and broadly lie within the realms of sustainable community-based development; community economies; intersectionality; participatory action research; feminist methodologies and storytelling.
Description of Research: Atyeh’s doctoral research examines the relationship between community-based development and diverse solidarity-based economic practices under conditions of displacement, gender, ethnic and religious discrimination amidst a global crisis-ridden economy aggravated by the recent pandemic and climate change. Specifically, she studies ethnic and religious minority Sunni-Baluch women engaged in solidarity finance using their needleworking skills in order to create an inclusive financial terrain, provide job opportunities, negotiate with the state to claim resources, and engage in collective practices of care and commoning that go beyond the individual and household levels in informal settlements of Iran. Her work has been nationally recognized and generously supported by the International Center for Research on Women, Center for Global Studies, Barbara Yates Fellowship, Evelyne Accad and Paul Vieille International Research Award, Ryerson Fellowship, among others.
Vinisha Singh Basnet
Degrees: M.A. in Environment & Development, Ambedkar University Delhi | B.A. in English, University of Delhi
Research Interests: Basnet’s work focuses on the intersection of human- insect entanglement, design-based intervention, and social equity in planning theories and practices. Through her research, she explores how complex social-ecological systems can be navigated through multiple epistemologies for building collaborative and sustainable futures. Her work addresses issues of environmental justice and sustainability through collaboration among communities, and government institutions. Her scholarship and practices are informed by insects’ ecology, into the planning processes that precede design interventions. This has been the core of her research in past and present.
Description of Research: Basnet is an interdisciplinary scholar who has worked extensively with indigenous communities in India. In the past, she had worked with communities displaced by developmental project and studying the Resettlement and Rehabilitation Policy that traveled from national to local region through various bureaucratic levels. Prior to her PhD, she co-anchored (2017-2019) an action-research project, funded by the Ford Foundation, India. In this work, she conceptualized a germplasm repository, called Living Brood Lac Bank, of an economically important species of Kerria lacca that produces resin
Currently, her work with bed bugs is two-folds. She attempts to examine how bed bugs, in low-income neighborhood in the U.S., are embedded within complex social-ecological systems and how bed bugs alter the practices of different stakeholders. She is additionally working with INHS Medical Entomology Lab at UIUC to investigate the efficacy of entomopathogenic fungus on bed bugs. For this she is in process of raising the bed bugs’ colonies, one of the first initiatives at UIUC, to facilitate possible future research.
Research Interests: Regional economic development, workforce development, “reshoring” and “advanced manufacturing” policy
Janet Ami Husunukpe
Degrees: BSc. Architecture (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology); Master of Architecture (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology)
Research Interests: Urban development; feminist methods; Afro-feminism; migration; urban informality; land use planning; urban political economy
Description of Research: My research lies at the intersection of urban political economy, migration theory, and urban and development processes, with a focus on domestic work under the informal economy from an afro-feminist lens. Within the burgeoning body of scholarship on critical political economy and urban and development processes, I seek to explore how neoliberal, modernist and land-use policies result in urban peripheries, the increase participation of working class women in the workforce and the feminization of reproductive labor have furthered inequalities. Under migration theory, I examine how push and pull factors under the discourse of rural-urban domestic migration, thus the failure of planning, governmental policies and patriarchal structures in rural settings result in the feminization of rural-urban migration to engage in the informal economy specifically domestic work thereby contributing to the new urbanization of exclusion.
Marwah Maqbool Malik
Degrees: Bachelors in Economics (Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan), Masters in International Development (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)
Research Interests: Climate adaptation planning; feminist methods; climate justice; decolonial praxis; grassroots planning
Description of Research: I am a feminist decolonial scholar in the second year of my PhD program in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I am also mother to a two-year-old toddler who continues to shape my journey as an academic through lessons in empathy and reflexivity. My interests lie in bringing feminist decolonial scholarship to climate change discourse(s) and policy making, especially in the context of countries at most risk from climatic impacts. As a feminist decolonial scholar within planning, I seek to contribute to conversations on climate adaptation planning by pushing for radical change processes that transform lives of communities at-risk
Trained as an Economist in my Bachelor’s, I spent several years thereafter consulting for international development agencies on projects dealing with climate change adaptation, disaster risk management, and social protection. My experience from my consulting years convinced me of the need for alternatives to dominant, conventional approaches to climate adaptation. I became interested in questions about transformative adaptation practices. As a feminist decolonial scholar I constantly questioned the role I could play in envisioning and enacting alternatives that work for communities at-risk. These questions and motivations guide my current research and define the purpose of my PhD program.
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.
Daniela Morales Fredes
Degrees: B.A. Legal and Social Science, Universidad de Chile; Lawyer, Supreme Court; Graduate Diploma in Aesthetics and Philosophy, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Research Interests: Environmental justice, cultural heritage, grassroots planning practices, human rights and memory studies, socio-environmental organizations, and Latin American thought.
Description of Research: Daniela has more than ten years of experience working in Chilean public institutions such as the National Monuments Council and the Ministry of Culture, Arts, and Heritage and as a private practitioner supporting grassroots organizations and local communities. She has also participated in and led several research projects and consultancy on cultural heritage, human rights, and environmental planning, applying participatory design and planning methods. She is an Inaugural Mellon Foundation Interseminars Graduate Fellow from the Humanities Research Institute at UIUC.
Daniela’s research analyzes the role of planning and environmental policies in Chile’s evolution and consequences of extractive industries. She explores the legacies and effects of regulatory frameworks and space creation/normalization structures such as the Environmental Impact Assessment System: how racialized territories and colonial continuities shaped the regulatory framework to produce industrialized landscapes that perpetuate displacement and systematic human rights violations.
Degrees: B.S. Marketing, DePaul University 2012; M.Div. Urban Ministry and Faith-Based Development, Wesley Theological Seminary 2018
Research Interests: Economic development, community development finance, real estate finance, urban political economy, land use regulation, health policy development and healthy sustainable communities
Description of Research: My research focuses on healthcare anchor institutions’ capacity and potential impact to support low-income communities. I am interested in the innovative funding strategies and policies that best address communities’ long-term social health conditions, as well as investigating the roles of various stakeholders involved in the implementation process.
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.
Degrees: Bachelor of Urban Planning from Art University of Isfahan, Iran; Master of Urban Design from Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran
Research Interests: Urban microclimate, public health, walkability and travel behavior, urban informatics, parametric design, city modeling and simulation
Description of Research: With a background in urban planning and design, my research focuses on exploring innovative strategies and approaches to urban planning that can help create more sustainable and resilient cities and built environments. Through my work, I aim to understand the impact of changing microclimatic conditions in urban spaces on neighborhood energy demand, thermal comfort and health, and to examine how well-designed and thermally comfortable communities can play a role in promoting economic, social, and environmental sustainability in the context of climate change.
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.