Student
Jason Spicer

Jason completed his PhD at MIT in Summer 2018, at which time he joined the faculty of the University of Toronto's Department of Geography and Planning, where he teaches in the graduate planning and undergraduate geography programs on the St. George campus.

His doctoral research at MIT focused on equitable and sustainable approaches to economic development and finance in developed democracies, with a particular focus on US cities and regions in comparative perspective. He was a recipient of both the MIT Hugh Hampton Young Fellowship (2016-2017), as well as the MIT Presidential Fellowship (2014-2015). His dissertation utilized both quantitative and qualitative research techniques to analyze the barriers and challenges faced by cooperatively owned enterprises in the US, which he contrasted to other high-income democracies where such businesses are more widespread: Finland, France, and New Zealand.

While at MIT, he also conducted research in the US, UK, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, on topics such as community reinvestment, values-based and cooperative banking, social enterprise and entrepreneurship, economic democracy, and the economic drivers of populism and social movements. At MIT, he served on the teaching teams for a range of graduate classes, including Microeconomics for Urban Planners (11.203), Urban Planning Economics (11.202), Economic Development Planning (11.438), and Thesis Preparation (11.THG).

Prior to coming to MIT, Jason was based in New York, NY, where he was a full-time researcher and strategist for 15 years in the field of global commercial property finance and investment, working on both public and private urban development projects across a wide range of cities and regions within the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia on behalf of public, non-profit, and private sector institutions as clients. While based in New York, he also was involved with community groups and social movement organizations focused on anti-displacement strategies and alternative economic development.

He also holds a master’s degree in city planning from MIT, and bachelor’s degrees, with honors, in both Economics and in Sociology from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, from which he was graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He was also previously a doctoral student in the Sociology department at U.C. Berkeley, where he was the recipient of a U.C. Regent's Fellowship. 

Areas of Interest
Climate Change, Community Development, Community Planning and Economic Development, Economic Development, Finance, Globalization, Government, Health, History and Theory of Planning, Housing, Housing Development, International Studies, Law and Policy, Real Estate, Social Equity, Social, Inclusion, and Diversity Planning, Sustainability, Urban Finance, Management, and Urban Economics