Aditi Mehta

Aditi is a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the SAGE/Marilyn Jacobs Gittell Activist PhD Scholar with the Community Innovator’s Lab. Her work and research fuse the rigorous methods of social science with community organizing and on-the-ground activism in order to contribute to the democratic production of knowledge and social change. She is committed to elevating the role, position, and influence of underrepresented and marginalized communities within academic and public policy discourses.

For her dissertation, Aditi investigated the media ecology of grassroots communications, news generation, and storytelling in post-Katrina New Orleans and post-Sandy New York City. She used ethnographic and qualitative interview data to argue that these processes are necessary for a healthy democracy and resilience to shock, especially for communities of color. Her research focuses on a crucial aspect of the architecture of inequality that characterizes U.S. cities, unequal access to the production of knowledge through media.

During the doctoral program, Aditi helped design and teach an urban sociology course about inequality inside prison where half the students were incarcerated and the other half were visiting from MIT. As a Master in City Planning (MCP) student at MIT, Aditi worked on neighborhood revitalization projects in New Orleans and consulted for China’s largest residential real estate firm in Shenzhen. Her MCP thesis explored the importance of public libraries in immigrant communities, specifically Boston’s Chinatown. Previously, she was a Research and Communications Associate at the Boston Foundation helping to develop data democratization projects and impact measures for grant-making. She conducted research in Mumbai about non-profit capacity in slums and was an Assistant Project Manager at Telesis Corporation, a mission-driven affordable housing developer in Washington D.C.

Areas of Interest
Art and Technology, Community Development, Community Planning and Economic Development, Housing, Public Participation, Social Equity, Social, Inclusion, and Diversity Planning


2008 - 2010
M.C.P., Massachusetts of Technology
2002 - 2006
B.S., Cornell University