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Enhancing DUSP Dissertation Research

We are honored to announce Dorothy Tang, Laura Sara Wainer, Aleksandra Olegovna Durova, Carmelo Ignaccolo, and Arianna Salazar Miranda as the 2020 Lynne Sagalyn and Gary Hack DUSP Fund awardees.

Established by and named in honor of two of the department's alumni, the Lynne Sagalyn and Gary Hack DUSP Fund provides grants up to $20,000 per student to enable doctoral dissertation research focusing on city building, real estate development, or urban design.Funds may be used for travel, data acquisition, student stipends, and other research expenses.

Sagalyn and Hack each earned their PhD degrees in urban studies and planning from MIT—Hack in 1976 and Sagalyn in1980. The two alumni said they were motivated to establish the fund by observing the difference that additional support can make for doctoral students, as well as by the potential impact DUSP PhD alumni can make in their fields.

Dorthy Tang’s Landscapes of Development, Chinese Economic Zones in the Mekong Region Chinese Overseas

Cooperation Zones play a key role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, especially in solidifying bilateral cooperation and incubating Chinese overseas investment. Tang’s dissertation research is a transnational comparison of two zones in Cambodia and Thailand to understand whether Chinese overseas projects have varying outcomes in different host nations, and how power-relations between states inform spatial practices.

Arianna Salazar Miranda’s Inherited Lines: The Long-Lasting Effects of Large Urban Planning Interventions

Salazar Miranda studies whether large scale planning interventions can permanently affect the development path of cities. Her dissertation approaches this topic through the context codifying the characteristics and lasting impacts of the first Federally funded housing initiative known as the United States Housing Corporation (USHC). The USHC built large-scale planned residential communities across the United States in 1917 and – in less than a year – planned one-hundred twenty-three new neighborhoods across twenty-four states.

Carmelo Ignaccolo’s Measuring the Physical Heritage of the Mediterranean City

Heritage studies have a long-standing legacy of using qualitative methods to reveal the historical meaning of places. However, the technological and digital shifts over the last several years have not equaled theoretical changes in the field. Ignaccolo’s research examines the environmental perception and social value of the heritage of the built environment of historic cities in the Mediterranean through applied visual analytics on historical maps, street photographs, and ancient engravings.

Laura Wainer’s Examining the Informalization of Formal Housing Projects in the Global South: Deplorable Decay or Equitable Resilience?

Wainer’s dissertation interrogates a recurrent phenomenon in many housing projects in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa: the physical, economic and institutional informality growing within state-subsidized housing projects aimed at curtailing and preventing the expansion of informal settlements in inner cities.

Aleksandra Durova’s Climate change, Urban Change, and Urban Sustainability in the Arctic

Durova’s research examines the ways in which climate change can reinforce inequities associated with uneven urban development. In particular, her dissertation investigates impacts of climate change and urban growth over the past twenty years on housing conditions and vulnerability of low-income and Indigenous populations in Yakutsk, a large Arctic city region in Russia.

“We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Lynne and Gary for their support to our students,” said Chris Zegras, DUSP’s Department Head and Professor of Mobility and Urban Planning. “I also want to extend a very special thanks to Eran Ben-Joseph for managing the awards process during the very difficult circumstances of this year. And a heartfelt congratulations to the awardees, whose topics reflect DUSP’s deep design tradition and how integral design is to the range of our intellectual pursuits.”

Past awardees of the Lynne Sagalyn and Gary Hack DUSP Fund include three previous cohorts of students.

The 2019 cohort includes: Yonah Freemark, Shaping Metropolitan Mobility: The Multi-level, Multi-jurisdictional Politics of Transportation Infrastructure; Colleen Qiu, Green Growth Reimagined: Can Eco-Development Promote Urban Sustainability in Chinese Cities?; and Suzanne Harris-Brandts, Constructing the Post-Socialist Capital: Identity Contestation in Urban Development, Event Programming, and Branding.

The 2018 cohort was comprised by: Nicholas Kelly's The Policy, Politics, and Ethics of Expanding Neighborhood Choice; Minjee Kim's Negotiated Developments: Exploring the trends, efficacy, and politics of negotiating zoning on a project-by-project basis; and Hannah Teicher's Climate Allies: how collaboration between cities and defense institutions shapes urban adaptation.

And the 2017 cohort: Louis Thomas's High-Density Parenting: Urban Design and Raising Children in the densifying North American City; Melissa Chinchilla's Community Integration Among Formerly Homeless Veterans; Zachary Lamb's The design-politics of flood infrastructure from levee-enabled growth to climate resilient urbanism; John Arroyo's Fringes on the Frontier: Mexican Migration and Space in the New American Periphery; and Michael Wilson's Drawing the Line under Uncertainty: How Space and Society Construct Flood Insurance Maps and Shape Risk in the Built Environment.