DSUP: Student Profiles

PhD in Regional Planning Doctorates Granted

Current Doctoral Students

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.

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 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, disaster mitigation, land use planning, reconstruction
Description of Research: I am currently engaged in research on environmentally forced relocation of communities. I am likely to focus on managed retreat of coastal communities in the context of climate change induced risks such as sea level rise, erosion, land subsidence and the impact of extreme climate events. I would like to explore the political economy of this process. While considerable research has already been done on post-disaster recovery processes in general, the process of relcation of communities is yet to be studied in adequate detail. I approach this research with a background of over two decades of experience in land use planning and post disaster recovery planning.

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 Sowmya Balachandran

Degrees: Master of Technology (Urban & Regional Planning), School of Planning, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, August 2005; Bachelor of Architecture, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, July 2001
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 interviews 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.

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Sergio Contreras

Degrees: BA Business Management, Universidad Catolica del Norte (UCN); MBA, Loyola Chicago University
Research Interests: Regional economics, microenterprises,
Description of Research: My research interests focus on Regional Economics, in particular, microenterprises performance evaluation and policy implementation. I am also interested in the role of e-business as a tool for regional growth and inequality reduction. My passion for this topic comes from my previous work experience, where I was involved in the policy making process in Chile. There I realized that most of the policies enacted at that time were not as effective as expected. In addition to my research, I am a member of the I STEM initiative. This unit is responsible for the ongoing evaluation of a $121,000,000 National Science Foundation investment titled "Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE)," Award number 1053575. Responsibilities include development of an on demand metrics dashboard to be used by program stakeholders-including NSF representatives.

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Maximilian Eisenburger

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

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MD Tanvir Hossain Shubho

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

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.

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Zach Kennedy

Degrees: BA Economics, UIUC; MUP 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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Sang Lee

Degrees: BS Sociology, UIUC; MUP Urban Planning, UIUC
Research Interests/Specializations: 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.

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Andrew J. McMillan

Degrees: BA English, Oberlin College; MS Urban Studies, Cleveland State University
Research Interests: housing, regionalism, quantitative spatial analysis
Description of Research: My research focuses on the effects of national economic trends on regional and local housing markets. In particular, I am interested in how housing markets in regions and neighborhoods have recovered--or have failed to recover--in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. Identifying the processes and characteristics that lead to a robust recovery can help planners and policymakers pursue equitable and long-lasting recovery strategies.

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Troy Mix, AICP

Degrees: BA Political Science, University of Pittsburgh; Master of Public Administration (MPA), University of Delaware
Research Interests: regional development, universities and economic development, governance, public policy
Description of Research: My research focuses on the determinants of long-run, regional economic competitiveness. Contemporary efforts examine two major topics- 1) how competitiveness is affected by the structure and process of regional economic development policymaking, and 2) how regional economic structure impacts competitiveness. I am completing dissertation research on the organizational designs of entrepreneurial universities and the impact these institutions have on regional development policy.

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Aaron Christian Petri

Research Interests: Urban and regional systems modeling with an emphasis on energy and water, alternative wastewater treatment systems as a new form of green infrastructure, merging interests in energy and water with ecosystem service modeling

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Natalie Prochaska

Degrees:
2015 M.A., Urban Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Thesis title: "Bristol Place Neighborhood Plan: Urban Renewal in Post-Kelo Fiscal Policy Space"
2009 B.A. Political Science, University of Chicago
Research Interests:
Housing development finance, land use law, P3, community based land use control alternatives (community land trusts, community development financial institutions), social and spatial inclusion
Description of research: My research focuses on municipal public private partnerships in mixed income affordable housing development and mixed use commercial development. I am particularly interested in the new fiscal decision making spaces that have evolved post-2008, often driven by P3 project contracts, and how local communities and regions can fight the mobility and dominance of capital interests in neighborhood development.

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Stephen Averill Sherman

Degrees: BA English and American Studies, University of Iowa; MUP, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Research Interests: policing, anchor institutions, gentrification, mixed-methods and qualitative GIS, political economy
Description of Research: I research the role of the police in neighborhood and citywide economic development. While a humanist by education, my work also uses a range of GIS and quantitative methods. My thesis research - currently ongoing - uses custom GPS-based apps to show how policing conditions the possibility of neighborhood change in Downtown and Midtown Atlanta, GA. Other research (both submitted and in progress) investigates policing and urban renewal in the South Side of Chicago, the community development function of US hospitals, and policing within NIMBYist discourses. As a community member, I am part of the Education Justice Project, a community of educators, students, and activists within the University of Illinois and the Danville Correctional Center.

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Sofia Sianis

Research Interests: State and local finance and governance

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Shruti Syal

Degrees: BSc Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada (2005-2009); MSc Environmental Studies, TERI University, New Delhi, India (2011-2013)
Research Interests: environmental planning, urban informality, public infrastructure, ecological education, socio-environmental entrepreneurship
Description of Research: An ethnographic-cum-action research-based study on the provision and management of alternative sewage treatment infrastructure in informal settlements scattered along a network of open drains in New Delhi, India. Coursework and preliminary research this past year funded by a Campus Research Board grant received April 2014.

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 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: Environmental justice, grassroots movements, radical planning, insurgent planning, tactical urbanism, translocality
Description of Research: 

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Norihiko Yamano

Degrees: BS Socio-Economic Engineering, Department of Socio-Economic Planning, University of Tsukuba; MA Economics, Master program of Management Policy, University of Tsukuba
Research Interests: interregional and international Input-Output analysis, regional modeling, trade analysis
Description of Research: My research concerns the development of industrial and trade databases to analyse the various globalization phenomena namely trade in value-added (TiVA), carbon footprint and jobs sustained by foreign demand.

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Ozge Yenigun

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 planners 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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