Hi. I just received my PhD in Urban Planning and Development at the Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California and am currently the Scholar-in-Residence at USC’s Bedrosian Center on Governance for which I’m producing a limited series podcast, Los Angeles Hashtags Itself, an interview-based look at how people use digital communications for urban and social placemaking. I’ll talk with cultural producers, community organizations, real estate developers, transportation experts, and gig economy representatives. This podcast underscores my broad research agenda. That is, I look at how people can and do use media arts to foster community engagement and participatory planning, as well as how real estate developers use websites, social networks, and the constituent media for marketing or to reinforce power.
I believe emergent media hold promise in that they engage with such planning phenomena as identity, participation, and process, 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 planning’s complicated history owes in part to its uncritically technophilic tendencies. Thus, I am both optimistic and circumspect about technology in planning. We must recall the causes and implications of the digital divide and power generally, and shape our participatory processes accordingly. In support of my research, 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 at once that the only thing I want to do with the rest of my life is study urban planning and its implications for healthy communities. In addition to my doctoral fellowship, I received a 2014 National Endowment for the Arts Research: Art Works Grant, as well as the 2016 John Dyckman Award for Best Dissertation, and the California Planning Foundation Academic Achievement and Promise for Graduating Master of Planning Student awards 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 my husband, son, and I are always waiting for the next CicLAvia.
All header images by me, except those of me. They’re by Colin Peeples.