Cover: Limn 7

Limn, Issue Number Seven: Public Infrastructures/Infrastructural Publics. Edited by: Stephen J. Collier, James Christopher Mizes and Antina von Schnitzler

Spring 2018

Bringing New Minds to DCRP

The Department of City & Regional Planning is pleased to introduce three new faculty: Associate Professors Karen Trapenberg Frick and Marta González, and Professor Stephen Collier.

Karen Trapenberg Frick – Polarization and Planning

Karen Trapenberg Frick

Associate Professor Karen Trapenberg Frick

Many on campus may already be familiar with Karen Trapenberg Frick, who received her PhD in City & Regional Planning from CED and has been teaching as an adjunct assistant professor. In July of 2017, Frick was appointed Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning. She also is Director of the University of California Transportation Center (UCTC) and Assistant Director of the University of California Transportation Center on Economic Competitiveness in Transportation (UCCONNECT). Prior to her academic career, Trapenberg Frick was a transportation planner and project manager at the San Francisco Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission where she worked on a range of activities including the agency’s Transportation for Livable Communities program, congestion pricing, transport funding, and legislative analysis.


Remaking the SF-Oakland Bay Bridge

In the final chapter of her book, Trapenberg Frick provides recommendations to improve megaproject delivery and design.

Professor Trapenberg Frick’s research focuses on the intersection of politics and infrastructure implementation. In her book, Remaking the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (Routledge 2016), she examines how political polarization between key actors in government and increasing transportation infrastructure costs stymie forward progress in planning. Her award-winning paper, “The Actions of Discontent: Tea Party and Property Rights Activists Pushing Back Against Regional Planning” published in the Journal of the American Planning Association, looks at the effects of the Tea Party Movement’s fierce support of property rights and staunch opposition to sustainability goals on local and regional planning efforts, and how planners responded.

“Political and activist polarization can put a stranglehold on planning processes and inhibit interventions to address persistent problems related to mobility and accessibility, poverty, environmental and social justice, and environmental degradation,” Trapenberg Frick explains. “These challenges motivate my research. I believe we can find opportunities for opposing groups to find common ground to negotiate better planning outcomes.” She continued, “I’m inspired by my graduate and undergraduate student colleagues, and am looking forward to learning together with them as we dissect these and other issues in the courses I’ll be teaching.”

Marta González – Social Networks and Mobility

Marta González

Associate Professor Marta González (Photo: Ken Richardson)

Associate Professor Marta González joined DCRP in January 2018 from MIT where she was Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, joint with the Operations Research Center and the Center for Advanced Urbanism.

Professor González is a leader in the emergent field of urban data science, focusing on the intersections of people with the built environment and their social networks. She has led the introduction of new computational tools and methods in transportation research including using billions of mobile phone records to understand the emergence of traffic gridlocks and the integration of electric vehicles in the power grid, and analyzing records of smart meter data to compare alternative policies promoting solar energy adoption.

Raised in Venezuela, Professor González left to pursue a PhD in Computational Physics at Stuttgart Universitaet as a selected fellow of the DAAD, the German agency for students’ exchange. She subsequently moved to the U.S. to do a postdoc in the Barabasi Lab at Northeastern University and initiated the study of patterns of human mobility from a complex systems perspective.

“I’m excited to be a part of the City & Regional Planning Department at CED and I’m looking forward to introducing students to the field of network science and methods for extracting useful information from digital traces of human activity,” González said. “I’ve been fortunate to have had support from several companies, cities, and foundations around the world to better understand how we can use device-mediated data to devise models that estimate the demand on urban infrastructures in relation to energy and mobility. At CED, I’m hoping to be able to build on this research to enable the sustainable development of smart cities.”

Stephen Collier – Infrastructure and Planning

Stephen Collier

Professor Stephen Collier

Stephen Collier, currently Associate Professor and Chair of the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School in New York, will join CED July 2018 as Professor of City & Regional Planning. He received his PhD in Anthropology from UC Berkeley in 2001. Collier’s research has examined infrastructure and planning in a succession of projects that range from urban and social welfare planning in post-Soviet Russia and Georgia to emergency planning and urban vulnerability in the United States. He is currently studying resiliency planning in American cities, focusing on issues relating to infrastructure, financing, and community engagement.


Post Soviet Social

Post-Soviet Social: Neoliberalism, Social Modernity by Stephen Collier, Princeton University Press.

“It’s pretty clear that we are entering the first period in human history in which, on a global scale, the specter of future catastrophes is going to be one of the most important factors shaping cities,” Collier remarked. “This circumstance raises numerous questions relating to major themes of recent theory in the social sciences, such as risk society and reflexive modernization, ‘disaster capitalism,’ and biopolitics. But it also raises very practical issues for the professional field of city and regional planning. What will climate change mean for urban finance, urban publics, and the types of expertise needed to plan livable cities? These kinds of questions are going to be reshaping the field of city and regional planning over the next decades.”

Collier added, “After fifteen years working in an International Affairs program, I am excited to be researching and teaching on these issues in a program dedicated to urban and regional planning, and working with students who are dealing with these issues on a practical level. I am also excited to be joining a department and a university with such a rich tradition of contributions to the Weberian and Foucauldian traditions of planning theory.”