CRP Ph.D. Student Profiles
Farhana Ahmad is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Cornell. Her research intersects the fields of adaptation planning, water, and institutional reform. Her work examines how and why processes of adaptation planning by institutions differentially affect cities, regions, and communities, and the implications of these processes for questions of vulnerability, equity, and sustainability. Ahmad's interest in issues of equity in cities comes from her 10 years of experience working in the international development field in Bangladesh. She holds a bachelor's degree from Grinnell College and a master's degree from the University of Minnesota.
Kadir Basboga's main research interests include participatory planning and community-driven development. He has 10 years of experience in development planning and international development specifically in Turkey, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan. He has previously studied the contributions of entrepreneurship and small enterprises to socioeconomic development. Now he is investigating culturally friendly ways to build up the capacities of local development's partnership to enhance the sustainability of ongoing country and international level development interventions. He aspires to come up with new and more effective ways of engaging local communities. Before joining Cornell, he received his bachelor's degree in management from Bilkent University in Turkey, and a master's degree in public administration from the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs.
Jared Enriquez investigates integrated planning solutions to achieving water security, the equity implications of environmental and economic development policies, and the diversification of urban development actors. His current research focuses on local governments' water conservation policies and practices in landscapes at risk of significant ecological transformation. Before studying water policies, he examined defensible urban design and the social and physical construction of exclusive spaces in the name of security. After his Ph.D., he hopes to become a professor who leads planning studios and directs research. Enriquez received his B.A. in architecture and urban studies from Yale, and master of urban planning from the University of Michigan.
Emily Goldman (M.A. HPP '07)
Goldman's dissertation research focuses on the recent wave of historic districting that took place in Brooklyn, New York between 2007 and 2015 when 17 new districts were created in only eight years. Drawing from eight months of fieldwork research, she finds that the processes and regulations that accompany historic district designation can help communities preserve their social and architectural fabric, and her dissertation delineates how. Goldman is currently codirecting and teaching in the Civic Innovation Fellowship program — a joint project of the Manhattan Borough President's Office and the City University of New York, which uses developments in data and technology to better understand communities' needs across the city. Goldman has a B.A. in history from Harvard and an M.A. in historic preservation planning from Cornell, and worked for four years after her M.A. as a preservationist for the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Dan Kuhlmann's research sits at the intersection of housing, local public finance, and land use policy. His dissertation research explores the physical condition of housing in the U.S. He is writing three papers on this topic: one is a national study using data from the American Housing Survey, and the other two are spatial analyses of dilapidated and abandoned housing in Cleveland. Kuhlmann recently completed a study published in Urban Affairs Review exploring the social and fiscal consequences of sustained population loss. Kuhlmann has a bachelor's degree in international relations from Carleton College and an M.R.P. from Cornell. When not in his office poring through databases on local governmental finances, you can find him outside looking for cool birds or on a trail run trying not to twist his ankle.
Lu Liao's research interests sit at the intersection of environmental planning and urban politics. Her research explores the interplay between different stakeholders involved in environmental issues during China's sociopolitical transition, and the formation of regional collaborations to achieve effective environmental governance. One of her projects is a quantitative exploration of factors that influenced public opposition towards two types of environmentally sensitive projects in China. Currently, she works with Professor Mildred Warner on a U.S. national sustainability survey, to explore the incentives and barriers of localities' sustainability actions. An environmental planner and policy analyst by training, she tries to apply spatial-econometric models to examine the spatial interdependence of regional environmental governance. She received both her bachelor's degree in law and master's degree in public policy from Tsinghua University in China.
James Macmillen's doctoral research explores the practice and politics of temporality in urban planning. His dissertation draws on 10 months of participant-observation in Detroit City Hall to examine how the city's planners variously relate to "the future" in the course of their work — through their predictions, imaginations, strategies, hopes, and fears. Complemented by archival research and a wider program of interviews and oral histories, the ethnography traces how such futurity takes place under the toughest of institutional circumstances, and how otherwise "routine" activities of master planning, historic preservation, and urban design must constantly negotiate a dynamic of postindustrial uncertainty. From 2008–12, Macmillen was a research fellow at the University of Oxford, advising the European Commission on transportation policy. He has a B.A. and M.Phil. in geography from the University of Southampton, England, and studies at Cornell on a U.S.-U.K. Fulbright scholarship. In his spare time, he enjoys soccer, snowboarding, and playing bluegrass.
Restrepo-Mieth's research explores the interplay of planning, politics, social movements, and institutions in cities in the global South. Her current work in Medellín and Bogotá examines the strategic actions of grassroots, state actors, and business elites towards formally and informally institutionalizing progressive planning in three areas: mobility, public space, and water and sanitation. In line with this focus, she is also interested in the ways in which urban inhabitants in Medellín's underprivileged northern zones redefine citizenship through their engagement in community-based planning practices that reimagine their neighborhoods and the city. She is currently a visiting researcher at EAFIT University in Medellín. In addition to working on her dissertation, Restrepo-Mieth is a member of a multidisciplinary research group funded by the Institute for Comparative Modernities and the Polson Institute for Global Development that examines relations between space, place, and resistance in Latin America. Prior to attending Cornell Andrea worked for three years in investment banking in New York City and one year in urban sustainability in Singapore. She holds a B.A. in economics and international relations from SUNY New Paltz and a master's in public policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School, National University of Singapore.
Melanie Sand is a Ph.D. candidate writing her dissertation on American Indian dispossession, climate change displacement, and indigenous relocation planning. She focuses more generally on planning for resilience in cultural heritage communities and the human dimensions of planning in at-risk coastal communities. Before pursuing graduate school, she worked as a town planner for two neighboring towns in western North Carolina. She conducted research with the University of New Orleans Center for Hazards Assessment, Response, and Technology where she worked with lowland people and bayou communities of southern Louisiana promoting participation and community activism toward coastal resilience. At Cornell, Sand has been a teaching assistant for an array of planning subjects, including the American city, urban theory, land use, and geographic information systems. She also taught an introduction to GIS course at Cornell as a visiting lecturer. She plans to defend her dissertation in 2018. She has a bachelor's degree in urban planning and development from Ball State University and a master's degree in urban and regional planning from the University of New Orleans.
Melissa Smith's research interests include preservation planning and heritage management as it relates to diverse, multiethnic, and cross-cultural circumstances, focusing on public engagement and outreach and exploring the political and social issues that affect and inform planning practices. Her background includes experience in historical archaeology, nonprofit management, as well as work as a cultural liaison for the Somali Bantu refugee community in Vermont. Her research is currently being utilized to interpret the Turner Family homestead for inclusion on the Vermont African-American Heritage Trail. She holds a bachelor of arts in anthropology from the University of Mary Washington and a master of science in historic preservation from the University of Vermont.
Dylan Stevenson's research focuses on the agency of Indigenous communities within the planning process, both on tribal lands and urban areas. His research interests investigate how tribal epistemologies and land relations influence the conceptualization of the future and culturally appropriate methods of creating such futures. More specifically, he focuses on the role of food systems as a means of developing sovereignty that also promotes the revitalization of cultural practices of marginalized communities, namely Indigenous communities in North America. His other interests include urban design, intergovernmental collaborations, and utopian thought. He holds a bachelor's degree in linguistics from the University of California–Davis, and a master's degree in planning from the University of Southern California.
Nidhi Subramanyam (M.R.P. '14)
Subramanyam's research examines how small cities in the global South manage urbanization in the face of demographic and climate change. She is interested in understanding how small city governments provide and manage basic services such as water and sanitation (and the infrastructure that undergirds them) in an equitable and sustainable manner. Her other interest areas include postcolonial urban development and the politics of localism in cities in the global South. Prior to returning to Cornell to pursue her doctoral studies, Subramanyam worked with the Climate Change program at Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC). At IDRC, she helped institute projects that addressed climate change adaptation in secondary cities in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and published papers on the governance of flooding risks in the peri-urban municipalities in the Mumbai metropolitan region. An architect by training, Subramanyam obtained her M.R.P. from Cornell, where her thesis examined agrarian communities' responses to dispossession from their lands and livelihoods for Special Economic Zones in Tamil Nadu, India. She also interned with the nonprofit Transparent Chennai, where she worked on participatory mapping projects to increase access to water and sanitation for the urban poor in Chennai.
Fauzul Rizal Sutikno
Fauzul Rizal Sutikno is a Ph.D. Fulbright scholar from Indonesia. His research focuses on international planning in poverty alleviation and community-based planning in Southeast Asia. He is trying to understand how communities engage social networks and construct efficient developments in their neighborhoods. He is also trying to identify why and how participation happens in local and municipal communities. He is interested in combining modeling and qualitative methods in his research. Before coming to Cornell, he worked as a lecturer at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Brawijaya University in Indonesia, and also worked as a planning consultant focused on infrastructure and transportation projects. He received his master's in planning from Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia, and his bachelor's degree from Brawijaya University.
Ryan Thomas is interested in learning about sustainable development by studying the economic development strategies employed by communities that are impacted by climate change. He is currently working on a project to compare cities' environmental performance using open and remotely sensed data. Thomas grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where his hometown pride and optimism led him to work for the city planning department and complete a master's degree in community planning at the University of Cincinnati. As part of his master's thesis research, Thomas conducted a census in an informal settlement of Rio de Janiero. This experience highlighted the importance of data as a tool to advocate for basic government services. Since then, he has worked to develop computer information systems for data collection, management, and analysis. Prior to joining the CRP program, Thomas developed knowledge management systems to support project evaluations and performance management for USAID and the U.S. State Department. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from the College of Wooster.
Christine Wen's research — situated at the intersection of migration, labor geography, and urban planning — explores the governance challenges and social conflicts arising from rapid urbanization in contemporary China. Her dissertation applies the framework of migrant integration to analyzing the interactions between state and migrant agency, particularly around the issue of urban citizenship and space production. In particular, she seeks to understand how local governments balance practices of both "expulsion" and "incorporation" in their approach to integrating migrants. Her ethnographic fieldwork primarily takes place in emerging secondary cities in interior, migrant-sending provinces of China, where she looks at how processes of integration vary for different types of informal migrant spaces in central and peri-urban areas. Wen holds a B.A. in physics from Princeton University and an M.S. in urban planning from Columbia University, where she studied the impact of climate change on U.S. groundwater systems as a researcher at the Earth Institute.
Peter Wissoker researches real estate and economic development in the United States. An economic geographer prior to entering planning, he examines the institutions and practices of real estate development and finance to help planners see seemingly local projects in a more global context. He has written about the growth of national homebuilding companies during the 1990s and 2000s, the changing role of finance in real estate since the 1960s, and the real estate lending practices of life insurance companies. Research from his dissertation has already found outlets in Housing Policy Debate and the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society. Other interests include the use of tax abatements to subsidize economic development, job creation, community development, and affordable housing. Prior to returning to school, he worked as an acquisitions editor, publishing a number of prize-winning books in planning, sociology, anthropology, and geography.
Yuanshuo Xu (M.R.P. '13)
Yuanshuo Xu's research interests include state rescaling, land use, and local development. In his research of counties in the U.S., he studies impacts of decentralization on local fiscal stress, local growth, and regional inequalities. One of his recent publications, in the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, researched the spatially varied impacts of current state rescaling process on local economic resilience in times of recession. Another article by Xu, published in Environment and Planning A, quantitatively and spatially explored the crowding out effects of fiscal decentralization on local fiscal efforts to pursue growth and the spatial inequality. Xu is also interested in China's decentralization and urban transition issues, focusing on urban and regional governance, land-based development regime, and its social and sustainable challenges. Methodologically, Xu has interests in GIS and spatial modeling and uses them extensively in his research. Before coming to Cornell, he interned in China's local government on land-use planning and management. He also worked as a GIS analyst in the Program of Applied Demographics, an organization in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, at the College of Human Ecology at Cornell. He holds a bachelor's degree in engineering and land resource management from China University of Mining and Technology, and an M.R.P. from AAP.
Woosung Kim (M.S. RS '12)
Woosung Kim's research focuses on policy analysis and management by focusing on regional impact analysis using various method combinations, particularly in social accounting matrix, econometrics, and agent-based modeling. Currently, his research is relating to the impact of reducing military expenditure, relationships between peace and trade, and the impact of tax incentives by using integration of computational methodologies and theories. Before joining the Ph.D. program, he received his bachelor's degree in international studies from the University of California Irvine and a master's degree in regional science at Cornell University.
Ziye Zhang's research focuses on housing markets and consumer behavior. His current interest is to explain the housing price spatial-temporal dynamic from the perspective of household behavior, integrating theories and methodologies from microeconomics, location theory, spatial econometrics, and agent-based modeling. He is also interested in employing qualitative methods to explore the behavioral insights of household decision making. Before coming to Cornell, he received his master's degree in regional economics and bachelor's degree in public policy from Peking University in China.