Justin Steil

Justin Steil is an Assistant 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 “Desvinculado y Desigual: Latino Segregation and Access to Opportunity,” in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2015); “The New Immigration Contestation: Social Movements and Local Immigration Policymaking in the United States, 2000-2011,” in the American Journal of Sociology (2014); and “Innovative Responses to Foreclosures: Paths to Neighborhood Stability and Housing Opportunity,” in the Columbia Journal of Race and Law (2011). He is an editor of Searching for the Just City: Debates in Urban Theory and Practice (Routledge, 2009). Justin currently co-edits, with Ingrid Gould Ellen, the online discussion about racial and economic segregation at The Dream Revisited. 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. Recent research for local community organizations on housing affordability in Boston is available here.

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, 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. In 2016, he was awarded the Departmental Teaching Award by DUSP’s students.  

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