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Faculty News Archives 2015

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UEP Receives $100,000 Research Grant from the City of New York
December 29, 2015
UEP Associate Professor Justin Hollander recently won a competitive research grant through the New York City Department of Design and Construction, receiving $100,000 in funds to support UEP student Research Assistantships and travel. The project will involve primary data collection around ways that New York can improve the health and well-being of those who work in or visit public buildings in the city, using Big Data analytic techniques Prof. Hollander has developed in his Urban Attitudes Lab, and psychological methods that build on his recent book, "Cognitive Architecture".

Julian Agyeman Interviewed on Al Jazeera's "The Stream"
December 4, 2015
UEP Professor Julian Agyeman was recently interviewed on Al Jazeera's "The Stream" speaking about the COP 21 climate conference in Paris currently going on. Speaking on the topic of cities leading the way in implementing eco-friendly policies, the panel discussed the Green City Index, a measure of environmental performance of over 120 cities across the globe. Watch video discussion >

Julian Agyeman publishes new book on Sharing Cities
November 30, 2015
UEP professor Julian Agyeman recently had his new book Sharing Cities: A Case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities published by MIT Press. The book looks at the intersection of cities' physical space and how the new digital technologies and new mediated forms of sharing offer cities the opportunity to connect smart technology to justice, solidarity, and sustainability. Learn more >

Justin Hollander Opinion Editorial Featured in Boston Globe
October 12, 2015
UEP Professor Justin Hollander was featured in the Boston Globe on Sunday, October 12. Writing about how the built environment shapes out mental states and that we crave visual variety at the biological level, he mentions how architecture in New York City from one block to the next can have an impact on how people feel. Professor Hollander also recently published a book, Cognitive Architecture, that goes into more depth about the subject. Learn more >

Julian Agyeman named Hartzog Award Recipient
August 22, 2015
UEP Professor Julian Agyeman was named a Hartzog Award recipient for his exemplary leadership in environmental issues. He will accept the Benton H. Box Award, presented to an educator who inspires students and encourages curriculum innovation and an environmental ethic. Originator of the concept "just sustainabilities" – the full integration of social justice and sustainability – Agyeman has written six books on the topic.
The George B. Hartzog Jr. Awards Luncheon will be held on Monday, October 5 at noon at the Madren Conference Center on the Clemson campus. The event will be followed by the George B. Hartzog Jr. Environmental Lecture, to be given by keynote speaker Julian Agyeman. He will speak on "Just Sustainabilities: Re-imaging Equality, Living with Limits" at 2 p.m. at the Strom Thurmond Institute on the Clemson campus.

Penn Loh has article published about Land Trusts for Low Income Housing in Yes! Magazine
August 18, 2015
UEP professor Penn Loh recently had an article published in Yes! Magazine looking at the role that community land trusts can play a role in helping people to afford their homes. The article examines how land trusts can be used in helping low income families with raising property values in gentrifying neighborhoods. Read more >

Penn Loh Featured in Green 2.0's Leadership at Work
August 5, 2015
UEP Professor Penn Loh was recently featured in Green 2.0's second edition of "Leadership at Work." In addition to his work at Tufts Master of Public Policy program, he has also partnered with various community base building organizations in the Right to the City Alliance and Center for Economic Democracy. Learn more about Penn's ongoing projects and Green 2.0 "Leadership at Work".

Rachel Bratt Quoted in Atlantic's "Where Should Poor People Live?" Article
June 10, 2015
A recent article in The Atlantic about affordable housing asks the question "where should poor people live?" and the policies in place to assist those individuals. Tufts UEP professor Rachel Bratt was quoted for the article explaining the effectiveness of proactive housing policies. The article also used a Tufts UEP field projects report from 2006, On the Ground: 40B Developments Before and After, explaining that much of the concerns that people have about affordable housing do not occur after the development has been built. Learn more >

Two New Faculty Join UEP
March 11, 2015
This fall UEP will welcome two new faculty: Drs. Shomon Shamsuddin and Sumeeta Srinivasan.

Shomon will be an assistant professor of social policy and community development. His research explores how institutions define social problems and develop policies to address urban inequality, focusing on socioeconomic effects of low-income housing programs and barriers to educational attainment for underserved communities. He has worked on housing issues at the neighborhood, city, and federal levels, including building affordable housing with community development corporations, managing programs at the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and analyzing policy at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Currently, Shomon is a National Poverty Fellow with the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Policy and Planning from M.I.T.

Sumeeta will be a lecturer of spatial analysis. Her research interests are at the intersection of sustainable development and spatial inequities of access. Since 2006 she has been a Preceptor for Geospatial Methods at Harvard University where she has taught courses on spatial models and GIS. She is affiliated with the Center for Geographic Analysis and the China Project at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard where she also was a postdoctoral fellow. The methodological lens that she uses in her research is spatial analysis: the use of GIS, remote sensing, statistical and spatiotemporal models. She has studied cities in India, China and the US. She has a Ph.D. from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at M.I.T.

Symposium, April 8, 2015: "Towards Racial Equality and Social Justice: Sharing the Work and Research of Dr. James Jennings"
March 2, 2015
On April 8, 2015, UEP will host a symposium, Towards Racial Equality and Social Justice: Sharing the Work and Research of Dr. James Jennings. This symposium will be a celebration of Dr. Jennings' work and research, featuring current and former colleagues as well as a panel discussion. Please join us in celebrating Dr. Jennings and continuing the conversation on race and social justice.

The event will be Wednesday, April 8 from 4:45-7:30pm in Barnum Hall, room 008 (163 Packard Ave, Medford, MA 02155). Light refreshments will be served following the event. If you have any questions, please contact Cara or Kasia. We look forward to seeing you there! Learn more >

UEP Professor Mary Davis wins Tufts Innovates grant to Explore Artist Expression through Economics and Poetry
March 2, 2015
UEP Professor Mary Davis was awarded the Tufts Innovates grant. The grant will be used to develop and test an interdisciplinary approach to active learning that integrates artistic expression, most notably poetry, into a Tufts economics classroom. Recent advances in neuroscience have highlighted the importance of imagination in learning, improving our understanding of how the brain differentially processes information in response to song (Schon et al. 2010), metaphors (Ferstl et al. 2008), and poetry (Zeman et al. 2013). This small but growing body of research highlights an important role for creative expression that expands beyond its typical academic home in the humanities, with the potential to enhance complex reasoning compared to more standard teaching and assessment tools, such as textbook readings, lectures, and prose essays. Using the cognitive psychology and neuroscience literature as a starting point, the PI has characterized an underlying theory for how creative expression might improve memory and retrieval (Davis 2014, under review). Although her work is focused specifically on the economics classroom, the concept is transferable across the natural and social sciences (Leahy and Sweller 2008). The underlying hypothesis is that creative arts activate important neurological pathways that facilitate transfer of complex information from short- to long-term memory, where it can be retrieved for future problem-solving. It represents a pedagogical innovation that optimizes the learner’s mental effort, thereby improving student outcomes, memory and retrieval of the important concepts.

UEP Professor Penn Loh wins Tufts Innovates grant to develop Teaching Democracy curriculum
March 2, 2015
Penn Loh received a $29,000 grant from the Tufts Innovates fund to develop Teaching Democracy, a curriculum for popular and community-based education. Partners include Shirley Mark of Tisch College, (Shirley Mark), Carolyn Rubin of Community Health, and May Louie, a UEP MPP graduate. Popular and community-based education methods arise from community organizing and empowerment practices, particularly with marginalized groups. They support reflection and action in order to transform the world. They are utilized by many of UEP's community partners. Yet these methods are rarely taught in universities. Teaching Democracy will be a curriculum for students, faculty, and community partners to build their capacity in popular and community-based education methods. Teaching Democracy will be delivered on a web platform that includes curriculum guides, videos, a blog, and other resources. The curriculum will be piloted with graduate and undergraduate students as well as community practitioners. Once established, Teaching Democracy not only sustains a community of popular and community-based educators but is a resource for others at Tufts who want to learn about and integrate these methods into their teaching and research.

Aljazeera America's "Smart Buildings" interviews Justin Hollander for his new book, "Cognitive Architecture"
February 26, 2015
A recent article article by Aljazeera America titled "Smart Buildings: Architects using brain science for design guidance," featured Tuft UEP Professor Justin Hollander using examples from his new book Cognitive Architecture: Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment. The article looks into how applying neuroscience in designing buildings helps occupants learn smarter, heal faster and feel better. Justin's research found that people look are wall-hugging over open space creating a roomlike feel. Learn more >

Penn Loh Interviewed on Somerville TV Station
January 29, 2015
UEP faculty member Penn Loh was recently interviewed on Somerville's SCATV network with regards to the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) between City Hall and the Union Square developer US2. With the new Green Line Extension going in to Union Square, the location has been teeming with developers to renovate the area. This worries existing stores and local residents with regards to property values and changing the culture of the area. Watch video >

Mark Chase and UEP Alumni Alexandra Reisman published in Transit Integration
January 21, 2015
Tufts UEP faculty member Mark Chase and UEP Alumni Alexandra Reisman were recently published for a Transit Cooperative Research Program report for Improving Transit Integration Among Multiple Providers. The report, sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration, is a transit integration manual that shows how integrating service or programs can benefit the consumer and improve the agencies buying power and access to funding. Using examples from around the world, the report documents how different transit agencies have tackled the issues of sustaining intrastructure in the 21st century. This report follows a previous paper of a few years ago that involved other UEP students (Markie McBrayer and Eunice Kim).