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Lawrence J. Vale is Ford Professor of Urban Design and Planning at MIT, where he is Director of the Resilient Cities Housing Initiative (RCHI). He previously served as Head of the Department of Urban Studies and Planning from 2002-2009. Vale is the author of many books examining urban design and housing, including Architecture, Power, and National Identity (Spiro Kostof Book Award), From the Puritans to the Projects (Best Book in Urban Affairs, Urban Affairs Association), Reclaiming Public Housing (Paul Davidoff Book Award, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning) and Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-Cleared Communities (2013). DSC_0835 
Shomon Shamsuddin is an Assistant Professor of Social Policy and Community Development at Tufts University, where he conducts research and teaches courses in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, and an Associate Director of RCHI at MIT. He completed a Ph.D. in Urban Policy and Planning at MIT DUSP and received the Outstanding Dissertation Award.  His research examines how social policy in housing and education influences urban inequality.  His current work focuses on differences in institutional approaches to low-income housing policy and residential segregation, and the causes of income disparities in educational attainment. Previously, he has worked as an architect, housing developer, and policy analyst in city and federal government.  He holds degrees from Brown University, Yale University, and MIT. DSC_0842
Kian Goh is an Assistant Professor of Urban Landscape in the School of Architecture at Northeastern University and an Asssociate Director of RCHI at MIT. She completed her PhD in Urban and Environmental Planning at MIT DUSP, with dissertation titled “A Political Ecology of Design: Contested Visions of Urban Climate Change Adaptation,” in September 2015. She researches sustainable cities and global urbanization, focusing on environmental design and social mobilization in response to climate change. Kian is a licensed architect, and co-founder and principal of design practice SUPER-INTERESTING!, winner of a Building Brooklyn Award and semi-finalist in the ONE Prize. She previously worked with Weiss/Manfredi and MVRDV. Kian has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, The New School, and Washington University in St. Louis. She served on the board of directors of the Audre Lorde Project, an organizing center for LGBT people of color. Kian received a Master of Architecture from Yale University. DSC_0823
Zachary Lamb is a doctoral student in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning.   His work focuses broadly at the intersection of public policy, design, and environmental change. He is also co-founder and principle of Crookedworks, a research and design firm whose work was featured in the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale and has received wide recognition including awards from AIA New Orleans, AIA Western Massachusetts, and the Animal Architecture Awards. Prior to his doctoral studies, Zach studied architecture at MIT and art history, architectural history, and environmental studies at Williams College. His previous work has included environmental policy analysis, green building and design, energy efficiency, climate change adaptation, affordable housing, and post-disaster community development. DSC_0847
Linda Shi is a PhD candidate in urban studies and planning at MIT. She researches emerging models of climate adaptation at the city region scale, and investigates the conditions under which these regional governance mechanisms promote long-term and equitable urban resilience. As an environmental planner, she has worked on urban water management and urban and regional land use planning for AECOM, the Institute for International Urban Development, and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Recently, she consulted with the World Bank to develop a methodology to identify priority cities for climate and urban resilience finance, as well as to draft a guidebook for adaptation planning in small- and medium-sized cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. She holds master’s degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Management. Linda
Jessica Debats is a doctoral candidate in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, where she specializes in environmental planning and policy. Her dissertation examines the relationship between environmental justice, climate adaptation, and public space, with a focus on municipal urban forestry programs and urban heat island mitigation. Before coming to MIT, Jessica worked as an environmental analyst and GIS specialist for local governments and environmental consulting firms in Southern California. She holds a Master of Arts in United States History from UCLA and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from UC Irvine. Jessica-2
Suzy Harris-Brandts is a PhD student in Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, split between focuses in City Design and Development (CDD) and the International Development Group (IDG). Her work broadly addresses the interplay between displacement, nationality, urban humanitarian interventions, and housing rights- particularly with regards to the South Caucasus and Occupied West Bank. Prior to her doctoral studies, Suzy studied architecture at the University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture. As an architect, she has worked at a number of design and research practices across the globe including in Toronto, Vancouver, London, the West Bank and Abu Dhabi. Most recently, she has collaborated with Toronto-based Lateral Office on the 2014 Canada pavilion at the Venice Biennale for Architecture, examining the evolution of arctic architecture, urbanism, and infrastructure in the Canadian North. She is also a former Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo. DSC_0835 
Nick Kelly is a first year PhD student in Urban Studies and Planning at MIT working in both Housing, Community and Economic Development (HCED) and City Design and Development (CDD). His research focuses on affordable housing, with a particular emphasis on policy strategies to revitalize low-income neighborhoods and deconcentrate poverty. Prior to MIT, he studied at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, where he received his MPA. Nick has also worked at the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and as an aide for Senator Schumer, Elizabeth Warren and at the National Economic Council at the White House. Jessica-2
Xi Qiu (Colleen) is a PhD student in City Design and Development (CDD) at Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). Her curiosity in urban studies is closely tied to the idea of sustainable urbanism, especially in places with trans-territorial significance. At the present, she is researching progressive urbanism in growing Chinese cities and seeking urban developments that are socially sensitive, environmentally responsible, and physically appealing. She hopes to discover valuable knowledge from local communities through anthropological and ethnographic approaches, and through morphological studies on urban transformation. Prior to MIT, Colleen received her bachelor’s degree in architecture from Zhejiang University in China. She then moved to the United States and studied at Washington University in St. Louis, where she received master’s degrees in architecture, urban design, and architectural history and theory. She has practiced architecture and urban design in China and the United States. Colleen
Diana Searl is a Master of City Planning candidate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specializing in City Design and Development. Her interests are in city revitalization in post-disaster contexts, climate change adaptations strategies, and design interventions. Prior to attending MIT, Diana was the Director of Program Operations for a small neighborhood CDC in New Orleans. As a part of a small team, she helped implement the community’s vision for redevelopment Post-Katrina, which included green housing development, vacant land management and strategic investments to tip blocks. Diana is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in public policy and minor in anthropology. Diana
Esther Chung is a second year Master of City Planning candidate at MIT with a focus in City Design and Development (CDD). Her research interests involve affordable housing and mixed-income housing, with focus on barriers to development in the suburbs. Prior to joining DUSP, she worked in architecture and urban research in Seoul, Los Angeles and Haiti. Esther received her Bachelor of Science in Architecture from MIT. Jessica-2
Shinwon Kyung is a Master of Science in Planning candidate at MIT. Her research focuses on identifying factors that support and promote community resilience in deprived neighborhoods, comparing cases in the US and the UK. She joined MIT as a SPURS Fellow in 2014. She has worked in a number of different countries including Korea, UK and US. Prior to joining MIT, she worked as a consultant at the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Centre, Urban Institute (UI) in Washington DC. At UI, she served as an Assistant Research Director for the HOST Demonstration, a major initiative that is assessing the impact of two-generation housing and services models in public and assisted housing in the US. Before coming to the US, she was a Lecturer in comparative housing and urban regeneration as well as a Vice-Director of the International Continuing Professional Development Course at the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS), the University of Birmingham, UK. She achieved a PhD in Urban and Regional Studies at the University of Birmingham, UK. Her thesis, ‘Community involvement’, is it the answer? Perspectives on housing renewal in Britain and Korea, was funded through a British Chevening Scholarship and Barbara M.D. Smith Scholarship. She was also an Associate Research Fellow at the Korea Housing Institute, Korea. Jessica-2
Laura Wainer (SPURS Fellow 2015-2016) is a Fulbright scholar from Argentina, specializing in urban development and planning. Since 2008, she has been working on urban and metropolitan issues in the public and private sectors. She consulted for the World Bank, Cities Alliance and the IDB, and taught Urban Planning at the University of Buenos Aires. She runs the International Field Program of The New School at the African Centre for Cities of the University of Cape Town. Laura holds master’s degree in International Affairs and Development from The New School. Her thesis explores effects of the removal of apartheid planning policies on land-use, residence patterns and racial segregation in South Africa. At MIT, Laura focuses on urbanization management and housing policy in Africa and Latin America. Jessica-2
Hongru Cai is a Master in City Planning candidate at MIT, class of 2017. His research interest is mainly in affordable housing planning and policy in China. He believes that public housing is not merely part of the construction industry or one sector of the economy, but is also important in accommodating disadvantaged groups in the spirit of social justice and public welfare. Before joining RCHI, he has worked as a research assistant at the University of British Columbia. Hongru received a B.Eng. in Urban Planning and a B.A. in Economics from Peking University in 2015. Jessica-2
Billy Ndengeyingoma is a Master in City Planning candidate at MIT in the City Design and Development (CDD) group. He joins CDD to investigate sustainable, inclusive, economically viable and culturally appropriate urban forms in Africa. He is particularly excited to become an actor of development in urban design and architecture – specifically in housing related projects- in his home country of Rwanda. Before joining CDD, Billy received a BS in Civil Engineering from MIT in 2015. Jessica-2

Past Collaborators 

Kassie D. Bertumen is a Project Manager at BRIDGE Housing Corporation for NorCal Development. Kassie obtained a Master’s in City Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2015. At MIT, she focused on affordable housing as well as community and economic development finance and development. Her research with RCHI focused on RAD, HOPE VI and mixed-income housing. Prior to attending MIT, Kassie was a research associate at the Urban Institute from 2009 to 2013. There, she had numerous publications on inclusionary and mixed-income housing, HOPE VI redevelopment, comprehensive community programming, economic development and homelessness. She graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with an emphasis on housing and urban development. DSC_0833
Smita Rawoot is an architect with over 15 years of work experience as a design leader and manager in the US and India. Her varied work includes planning and design of large scale multi-family housing developments, primary-secondary education institutes, higher education campuses, senior housing and hospitality projects. She obtained a Master’s in City Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2015. At MIT, she explored planning studies and practices in developing equitable, just and sustainable city initiatives in India and the other developing countries. She received a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Pratt Institute in New York in 2001. DSC_0827
Callahan (Callie) Seltzer obtained a Master’s in City Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2015. At MIT, she focused on housing, community, and economic development. Callie previously worked on the development and preservation of affordable multifamily housing at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) from 2007-2013. Callie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Government from Ohio Wesleyan University and a Master’s from Georgetown University. DSC_0847
Annemarie Gray is a project manager at the Cambridge Housing Authority. She received a Master’s in City Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2014. At MIT, her focus areas included equitable economic and workforce development policy. She previously worked on urban redevelopment projects in the informal favelas in Rio de Janeiro as a Fulbright Fellow, as well as on commercial revitalization in post-Katrina New Orleans. She holds an undergraduate degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis. DSC_0817