Student
Jason Spicer

Jason is a PhD Candidate in the Housing, Community and Economic Development (HCED) group in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP).

His research focuses on equitable and sustainable approaches to community economic development in developed democracies, with a particular focus on US cities and regions in comparative perspective. He is the recipient of both the MIT Hugh Hampton Young Fellowship (2016-2017), as well as the MIT Presidential Fellowship (2014-2015).

His doctoral dissertation, currently in progress, utilizes both quantitative and qualitative research techniques to analyze the barriers and challenges faced by cooperative and mutually-owned enterprises as they seek to achieve scale in the US. He contrasts these challenges to those in other developed democracies where large cooperatives are more widespread: Finland, France, and New Zealand.

While at MIT, he has 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, and economic democracy. Within DUSP, he has served as a Teaching Assistant for a range of graduate classes, including Microeconomics for Urban Planners (11.203), Urban Planning Economics (11.202), and Economic Development Planning (11.438).

Prior to coming to MIT, Jason was based in New York, NY, where was a researcher and strategist for many 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 North America, Europe, and Asia.

He holds a master’s degree in city planning from MIT. He also holds 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
Community Development, Community Planning and Economic Development, Economic Development, Finance, Government, International Studies, Law and Policy, Social Equity, Social, Inclusion, and Diversity Planning, Urban Finance, Management, and Urban Economics