Justin Steil

Justin Steil (CV) is an Associate Professor of Law and Urban Planning. Broadly interested in social stratification and spatial dimensions of inequality, his research examines the intersection of urban policy with property, land use, and civil rights law. His recent scholarship has explored the relationship between space, power, and inequality in the context of immigration federalism, residential segregation, lending discrimination, environmental justice, and mass incarceration.

Recent publications include “Does Segregation Matter for Latinos?” in the Journal of Hosing Economics (2018); “The Social Structure of Mortgage Discrimination,” in Housing Studies (2018); and “The New Immigration Contestation: Social Movements and Local Immigration Policymaking in the United States, 2000-2011,” in the American Journal of Sociology (2014). He is a co-editor of The Dream Revisited: Contemporary Debates About Housing, Segregation, and Opportunity (Columbia University Press, 2019) and Searching for the Just City: Debates in Urban Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2009). Justin also co-authored an Amicus Brief on behalf of housing scholars to the United States Supreme Court in the Bank of America et al. v. City of Miami and Wells Fargo et al. v. City of Miami, and his research has been cited in federal court opinions and other briefs to the Supreme Court. With his students, Justin has also created an online library of primary sources and research regarding the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule.

Before coming to MIT, Justin was a Fellow at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University Law School. Prior to NYU, he clerked for the Hon. M. Margaret McKeown, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the Hon. Kimba M. Wood, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Before graduate school, he worked as advocacy director for a non-profit fighting predatory lending practices, urban planner for an environmental justice organization focusing on brownfield redevelopment, program manager for a project bringing youth and prisoners into critical dialogues about justice, and trainer with a domestic violence crisis center instructing police in Ciudad Juárez in the support of survivors of sexual assault.

Justin received a B.A. from Harvard College in African-American Studies, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics in City Design and Social Science, a J.D. from Columbia Law School, and a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the Columbia Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.  For most of the past two decades, he has volunteered teaching in jails or prisons, and he has co-founded volunteer teaching programs at Boston’s Suffolk County House of Correction; New York City’s Riker’s Island Correctional Facility; and the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. 

Justin serves on the Boston Federal Reserve’s Community Development Research Advisory Council and on the Board of the Poverty and Race Research Action Council. He also currently serves as a Fair Housing and Community Development Consultant to the Fair Housing Justice Center in New York. He is an affiliate of MIT’s Women’s and Gender Studies program, Sociology at MIT, and MIT’s Legal Studies Concentration. Justin is also a member of the Steering Group of the Inter-University Consortium on Migration and a member of the faculty council of the MIT Community Innovators Lab.  Justin is also an Emergency Medical Technician and volunteers with MIT EMS.

The department’s students awarded Justin the Departmental Teaching Award in 2016 and the Office of Graduate Education awarded him the Committed to Caring Award in 2018 for “professors who go above and beyond expectations to make a positive impact on the lives of graduate students.” MIT in 2018 awarded Justin the Paul Gray Award for Public Service, recognizing “a member of the MIT faculty who exemplifies building a better world” through his or her teaching, research, advising, and service.”


Areas of Interest
Community Planning and Economic Development, History and Theory of Planning, Housing, Housing Development, Land Use Law and Planning, Law and Policy, Social Equity, Social, Inclusion, and Diversity Planning