Hi. I’ve just started my fourth year towards getting my PhD in Urban Planning and Development at the Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California. My work delves into how media arts and digital technologies can and cannot foster community engagement and social justice in planning. I believe media arts hold promise in that they engage with such planning phenomena as identity, participation, process, what I call “time-place,” the nature and characteristics of a specific location at a particular time, and uphold context as a decisive factor in all. But just as we extol the virtues of the information age, we planners must not forget the many millions others on the other side of the digital divide, and so shape our participatory processes accordingly. To that end, I study community planning, the cultural economy, cultural landscapes, digital media, media arts, public space, the public realm, and comparative urbanism.
I came to LA in 2008 after years in arts fundraising to get my Masters in Planning at USC. I realized pretty much immediately that the only thing I want to do with the rest of my life is study urban planning and its implications for social justice. In addition to my doctoral fellowship, I received the California Planning Foundation Academic Achievement and Promise for Graduating Master of Planning Student award in 2010. For more information about my research, publications, and presentations, please see my CV.
I am an unabashed plannerd. Beyond my official interests, I love any conversation involving public transit, the ports, the built environment — anything plannerly — and rejoice that travel is research eo ipso. Finally, while my love for all cities is assured, I still think Los Angeles might be the greatest city going. Greater still, maybe, for all its complexities and contradictions. Oh, and I wish the Out the Window project ran forever and I’m always waiting for the next CicLAvia.
All header images by Brettany Shannon, except for Colin Peeples’ Buenos Aires panorama collage.