James P. Allen
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.
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.
Balakrishnan R. Balachandran
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.
Degrees: Bachelor of Architecture, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, July 2001; Master of Technology (Urban & Regional Planning), School of Planning, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, August 2005
Research Interests: Housing, home ownership, community development, poverty, social inequity
Description of Research: My interest is in exploring the role of home ownership in asset building, intergenerational upward mobility and consequently poverty alleviation for low income and racially marginalized communities, specifically in large urban areas. Intrinsic to this exploration is that of spatial opportunity structures and inequities therein. While housing is seen as a conduit in accessing spatially distributed opportunity, the verdict on its importance for asset creation is divided. Besides, the role of ownership in enhancing a sense of personal control and negotiating power of low income families and communities has been given little attention in academic research. I seek to approach these issues with a mix of research methods – longitudinal studies to examine intergenerational mobility across income classes, spatial analysis of opportunity structures using a case study and ethnographic studies and interview with community institutions to examine the importance of asset building. Having worked on alternate solutions to affordable housing in the Indian context I seek to explore and contribute to knowledge that will influence housing policy in the US and the rest of the world.
Vinisha Singh Basnet
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).
Research Interests: Regional economic development, workforce development, “reshoring” and “advanced manufacturing” policy
MD Tanvir Hossain Shubho
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.
Degrees: B.S. in Civil Engineering Technology (Minors in Mathematics and Creative Writing), Georgia Southern University; Master of Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Research Interests: Environmental governance, displacements, transnational solidarities, planning theory, urban political economy
Description of Research: I am interested in urban informalities, transnational solidarity networks, and everyday practices that uphold the housing and labor rights of marginalized communities. I have worked with community organizations that focus on issues of affordable housing, immigrant-friendly communities, economic justice and human rights. I am particularly interested in how low-income urban dwellers negotiated with state and private entities to assert their right to the city. I am a multimedia storyteller interested in mixed-media interventions that combine qualitative and quantitative research methods in planning.
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.
Degrees: BS Sociology, UIUC; Master of Urban Planning, UIUC
Research Interests: Community development, social justice, immigration and diversity, qualitative methods
Description of Research: My research concerns the impact of immigration in new destinations in the US. I examine how growing ethnic and racial diversity in the Midwest is understood and utilized by cities that have seen a significant increase in immigration. I also look at the community development efforts of immigrant community based organizations. Through this research we can better understand how immigrants get integrated socially and politically, which immigrant populations get incorporated, and which are marginalized.
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.
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.
Ariam L. Torres Cordero
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.
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.