Yonah Freemark

Yonah Freemark is a native of Durham, North Carolina and is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). His work is focused on regional governance, public housing history, and zoning policy. He passed his comprehensive exams in two fields: City Design and Development, and Politics and Planning of Metropolitan Infrastructure. He is a graduate student affiliate of the Harvard Center for European Studies and a member of the JTL Urban Mobility Lab.

He has written or co-written peer-reviewed articles for Urban Affairs ReviewHousing Policy DebateJournal of Urban History, and the Journal of the American Planning Association, among other publications, as well as book chapters for Public Housing Myths (2015) and Affordable Housing in New York (2015). He is currently completing his dissertation, Mobility Politics, which is a comparative investigation of the multi-jurisdictional conflicts and coalitions that led to the development of transit projects and surrounding new development in the U.S. and France.

He attended Yale University as an undergraduate, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, with distinction. He later received masters’ degrees in city planning (MCP) and transportation (MST) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His city planning thesis focused on the work of New York’s Urban Development Corporation to construct mixed-income housing in the 1970s; his thesis for transportation analyzed transit farecard data to determine journey time impacts of disruption on the London Underground network.

He spent two years researching community engagement in Paris, where he studied the planning and construction of the Rive Gauche project, which is a model for neighborhood involvement in development decision-making. He also founded the national blog The Transport Politic, which has received dozens of mentions in the press and awards from Planetizen, and has contributed dozens of articles for media including CNNThe New York TimesPlanningDissentCityLabNext CityUrban Land, and others. He has also been quoted extensively in the media.

Previously, Yonah joined Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) as an associate in 2013 and worked as a project manager between 2014 and 2016. He focused on policies to promote equitable transit-oriented development and transportation investment. He co-managed the public engagement programs that MPC undertook in Chicago’s Uptown and Logan Square communities. He led MPC’s research on the Illiana Expressway and the existing conditions of the public transportation network in Northeastern Illinois, in association with the state’s 2013 Transit Task Force. He served on the Transportation Committee of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.

Areas of Interest
Government, History and Theory of Planning, Housing Development, Infrastructure Planning, Land Use, Real Estate, Theory of Urbanism, Transportation Planning, Urban Design


2004 - 2008
BA in Architecture, Yale University
2010 - 2013
Master of City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2010 - 2013
Master of Science in Transportation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2016 - Present
Doctorate in City Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology