Left: Megan Heim LaFrombois (University of Illinois at Chicago); Right: Margaret Wilder (Urban Affairs Association)
Left: Megan Heim LaFrombois (University of Illinois at Chicago); Right: Margaret Wilder (Urban Affairs Association)

Award Recipient

Megan Heim LaFrombois (University of Illinois at Chicago)

Award Committee Assessment

The Urban Affairs Association is proud to award its 2016 Alma H. Young Emerging Scholar Award to Megan Heim LaFrombrois, a doctoral student at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Ms. LaFrombrois’s dissertation, “Reframing the Reclaiming of Urban Space: A Feminist Exploration into Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Urbanism,” explains the racialized, classed, gendered, and sexualized blind spots and biases found in the conceptualizations of this form of urban planning.  Urban Studies published “Blind Sports and Pop-Up Spots: A Feminist Exploration Discourses of Do-It Yourself Urbanism.” This publication impressed the committee as did the originality of the dissertation and its capacity to move gender into a more prominent place in the study of urban planning in general and urban affairs in particular.  The committee also highly evaluated Ms. LaFrombrois’s community work in the city of Chicago. Ms. LaFrambrois’ research on inclusion, her commitment to her city, and the combination of theoretical and practical learning exemplify what Alma Young stood for throughout her distinguished career.

Award Committee

Chair: Peter Burns, Soka University
Members: Amy Khare, University of Chicago; Kenya Covington, California State University-Northridge

Award Winner Bio

Megan E. Heim LaFrombois is a PhD candidate in Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of ‘Blind Spots and Pop-up Spots: A Feminist Exploration into the Discourses of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Urbanism,’ which is published in Urban Studies (2015). Megan has worked professionally in the urban studies field for over eight years in the arenas of community development, community planning, and public policy; focusing on issues related to ending homelessness in Chicago. Megan blends this community engaged experience into her research, which is focused on community development, participatory urban planning, feminist approaches to urban studies and research, public policy, and urban inequalities. Megan received her Master’s in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelor’s in Urban and Regional Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay.