Margaret Haltom

Doctoral Candidate

Margaret is an urban planner and second-year PhD student focused on affordable housing and community-driven neighborhood development. In her research and on-the-ground projects, she collaborates with resident researchers, community development corporations, organizers and social service providers to understand the impact of anti-displacement housing policies. Her current work includes supporting community land trusts, addressing tangled titles and heirs' property rights, and centering resident memories in movements to reclaim land and repair prior planning injustices. Two of her community-based projects were recently selected for Monument Lab's 2024 ReGeneration National Cohort of ten public memory projects.

Prior to her PhD, she worked in her hometown of Memphis, TN as Director of Emergency Rent and Housing Policy for the Works Community Development Corporation. She led eviction prevention for the $90 million Memphis/Shelby County Emergency Rental Assistance program, and co-created court data workflows and processes that connected 12,000 tenants to limited legal representation. Her work was profiled by NPR and deemed "one of the strongest eviction diversion programs in the country" by the U.S. Department of Treasury. She continues to assist with eviction prevention and provide technical assistance to affordable housing partners.

She has served as a freelance planner on affordable housing development projects, a neighborhood mapper for resident coalitions, and a teacher/facilitator of youth design programs in public schools and housing developments. 

She holds a master's in planning with distinction from Harvard GSD,  where she received the GSD's planning thesis prize and was a Gramlich Fellow in Community and Economic Development at the Joint Center for Housing Studies. She has a B.A. in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia.