The UAA proposal submission system opened on June 1, 2015.

46th Conference: Social Justice in the Global City? Contested Views on Social Control, Borders, and Equity
Conference dates: March 16-19, 2016
Location: San Diego, California

Deadline for proposal submissions = October 1, 2015


Additional details are available on the Conference web site.

The 46th UAA Conference will be held in San Diego, California.


Since 2012, the Urban Communication Foundation (UCF) has provided scholarships to UAA conference presenters to encourage the participation of scholars who demonstrate interests in urban communication, urban journalism, media studies, urban design, and urban architecture related topics. Recipients of this year’s scholarships are listed below. Read more about UCF and the award

charlesCollinsCollins, Charles
Bonding Social Capital and the Promotion of Collective Efficacy: Neighborhood Racial Homogeneity as an Enhancing Mechanism
(Charles Collins, University of Washington, Bothell; Zachary P. Neal, Michigan State University; Jennifer Watling Neal, Michigan State University)




 kyunjinJungJung, Kyujin
Risk Communication in Urban Emergency Management via Social Media: A Case of the City of San Francisco
(Kyujin Jung, University of North Texas)




changwookKimKim, Changwook
Actor-Network Theory, Global Assemblage, and Hyperbuilding: The Case of Zaha Hadid’s Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Park
(Changwook Kim, The University of Massachusetts Amherst)




kyungwooKimKim, KyungWoo
Social Media Use in Enhancing Community Resilience during the 2013 Seoul Flood: Dimensional Approach to Information and Communication Technology
(Kyungwoo Kim, University of North Texas; Kyujin Jung, University of North Texas)




sergioMonteroMontero, Sergio
Mobilizing the Red Circle: Urban Politics, Public Opinion and Agenda Formation in Practices of Inter-City Policy Learning
(Sergio Montero, University of California, Berkeley)




frederiqueTrempeTrempe, Frédérique Roy
The Influence of Urban Design on the Exercise of the Right to the City: A Montreal Case Study
(Frédérique Roy Trempe, Université du Québec à Montréal; Catherine Trudelle, Université du Québec à Montréal; Winnie Frohn, Université du Québec à Montréal)

Award Recipients

Bruce Nissen
(Florida International University)

Joan Wynne – Honorable Mention
(Florida International University)

Award Committee Assessment

2015 UAA Marilyn J. Gittel Activist Scholar Award Recipient, Bruce Nissen (Florida International Univ)

2015 UAA Marilyn J. Gittel Activist Scholar Award Recipient, Bruce Nissen (Florida International Univ)

The award committee reviewed several nominees from the Miami area. However, we were unanimous in selecting Dr. Bruce Nissen for this year’s Activist Scholar Award. We agree with the statements made by his nominators that are cited here:

As Research Director of the Florida International University Center for Labor Research and Studies and the founding director of the Research Institute on Social and Economic Policy, Dr. Nissen has spent the past 18 years working in collaboration with community based organizations, labor and grassroots organizers for social and economic justice in Miami. His journal articles, book chapters and research reports stem from research conducted in close collaboration with community organizations including the Miami Workers Center, Power U, We Count!, South Florida Jobs with Justice, and activist unions such as SEIU Healthcare Workers Union and  AFSCME 1184. Dr. Nissen’s involvement with the Coalition for a Living Wage and his research on the economic impact of a living wage in Miami resulted in the passage of three local living wage ordinances in the early 2000’s.

Dr. Nissen has carved out a unique role for himself and his center in addressing the needs of urban residents and workers in greater Miami, and indeed in Florida and beyond. He is a respected and prolific scholar. His work, along with that of colleagues in the center, has focused on key areas such as wage theft, income inequality, immigrant rights, workforce development, impacts of economic development policies, living wage ordinance impacts and many more areas in the realm of economic justice. Additionally, he has worked with community groups in South Florida and is sought after for his expertise by media outlets locally and nationally. His entire career embodies that of a scholar-activist who brings his experiences into the classroom and his expertise into the community.

Dr. Nissen embodies what this award is all about, a person who creates a symbiotic relationship between learning, teaching, research and action. Such individuals are the realization of how the academic community can serve the well-being of our larger society. He is a role model for engaged and committed researchers across the globe.


2015 UAA Marilyn J. Gittel Activist Scholar Award Recipient, Joan Wynne (Florida International Univ)

2015 UAA Marilyn J. Gittel Activist Scholar Award Recipient, Joan Wynne (Florida International Univ)

Each year the Activist Scholar Award committee faces the difficult task of selecting one recipient. The nominees are excellent and each deserves recognition. However, only one person can be selected under award policies. This year, the award committee made a rare decision to give an Honorable Mention to a second nominee. That compelling nominee is Dr. Joan Wynne. The committee was impressed by the clear commitment and extraordinary character shown by Dr. Wynne throughout her career.

Her work is aptly described by one nominator: Dr. Wynne has worked at putting urban education at the forefront of the College of Education at Florida International University, as well as in Miami-Dade. She has led several collaborative initiatives between FIU and the public schools, including The Education Effect, The Algebra Project and The Young Peoples Project. Dr. Wynne coordinated FIU’s Algebra Project Summer Institute. Recently Dr. Wynne and FIU graduate students traveled 18 hours by bus to the Freedom Summer 50 experience, along with 12 middle and high school students from Liberty City.

Dr. Wynne has worked to impact issues related to school inequity, race/racism and school reform. “Confessions of a White Educator: Stories in Search of Justice and Diversity”, is Dr. Wynne’s most recent edited book. She is the epitome of a scholar activist; her work is less about creating programs and more about a mission. She can be found in her office as much as she is in the community.

Dr. Wynne is an obvious trailblazer who fearlessly seeks to build bridges and promote equity in education and within our society as a whole. She epitomizes what the Activist Scholar Award is about—bringing the academy to the people and advancing the well-being of all.

Read more about Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award.

2015 UAA Best Book in Urban Affairs Award Recipient, Lawrence J. Vale (MIT)

2015 UAA Best Book in Urban Affairs Award Recipient, Lawrence J. Vale (MIT)

Award Recipients

Lawrence J. Vale
Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-Cleared Communities

Sonia Hirt – Honorable Mention
Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation

Award Committee Assessment

From this set of books, we agreed on two that stood out.

For honorable mention, we selected Sonia Hirt’s Zoned in the USA: The Origins and Implications of American Land-Use Regulation. This book seeks to answer the question: How is it that freedom-loving Americans, who have almost continuously throughout their history, been suspicious of government regulations, have in place the most detailed, constraining, ubiquitous regulatory land use system in the world, especially when detached single family homes are concerned? We thought that Prof. Hirt, through a detailed and creative historical and comparative analysis answers that question thoroughly. So we learn for example that the US is the only country of those surveyed with a planning system that is purely local or that forbids other uses in single-family districts. And then Prof. Hirt, again quite successfully we thought, explains this American exceptionalism. And for that explanation, you have to buy the book.

2015 Honorable Mention - UAA Best Book in Urban Affairs Award Recipient, Sonia Hirt (Virginia Tech)

2015 Honorable Mention – UAA Best Book in Urban Affairs Award Recipient, Sonia Hirt (Virginia Tech)

For the best book award, we selected:

Lawrence Vale: Purging the Poorest: Public Housing and the Design Politics of Twice-Cleared Communities.

Purging the Poorest is as much about the history and motives that underlay federal public housing as it is about HOPE VI. Focusing on Atlanta’s Techwood/Clark Howell homes and Chicago’s Cabrini Green, Professor Vale’s book tells a rich, historically grounded story of the original motivations and design of two public housing communities, and then leads us forward to the present day redevelopment of these same sites. Using the lens of design politics, he unpacks the impulse in both periods for a new image and a new community at these sites and the different ways that social engineering has been embedded in the design of these communities in each case. His assessment of HOPE VI is nuanced and insightful. He reminds us of the consequences of purging the poorest through redevelopment and puts forward examples of how things have turned out differently in other cities. It is provocative and timely and we highly recommend it to you.

Read more about Best Book in Urban Affairs Award.

2015 Best Conference Paper Award Winners: George Galster (Wayne State Univ) and Anna Santiago (Case Western Reserve Univ) and Lisa Stack (Wayne State Univ)

2015 Best Conference Paper Award Winners:
George Galster (Wayne State Univ) and Anna Santiago (Case Western Reserve Univ) and Lisa Stack (Wayne State Univ)

Award Recipients

George Galster (Wayne State University), Anna Santiago (Case Western Reserve University) and Lisa Stack (Wayne State University)

Award Committee Assessment

Papers presented at the 2014 UAA Conference in San Antonio, Texas and subsequently submitted to the Journal of Urban Affairs (JUA) in July 2014, were considered for this award. All submitted papers went through the normal JUA double-blind peer review process. Those surviving papers became the award nominee finalists.

We are pleased to present this year’s award to George Galster, Anna Santiago, and Lisa Stack for “School Performance of Low Income Latino and African American Youth: The Role of Neighborhood Context”. Galster, Santiago and Stack raised the following question: Do the geographic contexts in which disadvantaged children are raised influence whether they have difficulties in elementary school? Using data dating back to the 1960s from the Denver Housing Authority’s procedure for allocating families to dwellings, they show several socio-economic and demographic indicators that are statistically and substantively important predictors of low-income children’s problems in school. While their findings are consistent with existing data, their approach is unique. Their work leads to future endeavors that might consider how interventions at school or neighborhood level may correct these disparities.

Award Committee

Chair William Holt (Birmingham-Southern College); Renia Ehrenfeucht (University of New Orleans); Desiree Fields (University of Sheffield); Dawn Jourdan (University of Oklahoma); Alex Schwartz (The New School)

Read more about the Best Conference Paper Award.

2015 UAA Alma H Young Emerging Scholar Award Recipient, Amy Khare (Univ of Chicago)

2015 UAA Alma H Young Emerging Scholar Award Recipient, Amy Khare (Univ of Chicago)

Award Recipient

Amy Khare (University of Chicago)

Award Committee Assessment

For the 2015 Alma H. Young Emerging Scholar Award, the Committee recommends Amy Turnbull Khare at the University of Chicago. Ms. Khare is a doctoral candidate in the Ph.D. Program in the School of Social Service Administration, and she is completing a dissertation entitled “Privatization in the Midst of Recession: The Evolution of Chicago’s Mixed-Income Public Housing Policy Reform” (under Dr. Robert J. Chaskin (chair)).

Since 2012, Ms. Khare has been a Research Associate at The Urban Institute, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center. She holds an MSW and a BA from the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas. For more than a decade, before advanced graduate studies in the PhD program, Ms. Khare worked in community organizing, homeless housing services, and mixed-income housing resident services. Amy’s application clearly conveyed her long-term commitment to addressing issues of urban poverty and inequality. These issues were the focus of her professional life well before she took up her doctoral studies. So her research benefits not just from her sharp mind, but from the combination of experience and concern she brings to her subject. Her passion will help to make her a leader in the field.

Already, Amy has an outstanding track record of scholarship, including three peer-reviewed articles for which she is the lead author, three other publications in the pipeline, plans to transform her dissertation into a book, and 20 conference presentations. This speaks strongly to her potential to contribute significantly to research and understanding in urban affairs across the course of her career. Amy Khare’s clear commitment to engaged scholarship establishes her within the tradition of the Alma Young legacy.

Award Committee

Chair Peter Burns (Loyola University); Kenya Covington (California State University – Northridge); Matthew Weber (University of Michigan)

Read more about the Alma H. Young Emerging Scholar Award.

(Based on articles from the Volume year of 2013)

2015 Best Journal of Urban Affairs Article Award Winner, T. William Lester (Univ of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Award Recipient

T. William Lester (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)

Award Committee Assessment

After weeks of careful deliberation, the Best JUA Article 2014 Committee has chosen T. William Lester’s article, “The Role of History in Redistributional Policy Discourse,” (36, Nr. 4, pp. 783-806). Committee members praised Lester’s path-breaking application of urban theory and effective use of history to engage with the important question of what determines whether redistributional policy challenges will succeed. Specifically, the methodologically strong comparative two-city study employs a historical approach, thoughtful analysis, and the rich local cases of San Francisco and Chicago to offer a new look at economic and political determinants of living wage policy outcomes. Although his approach of historical new institutionalism is not new, it has not been widely used in the study of urban political discourse. Lester demonstrates, in his words, that, “history plays a critical role in how economic problems are framed and, to varying degrees, reframed…history plays an active and contingent role by providing actors with the ‘vocabulary’ with which to present their arguments” (p. 801). Lester’s article is an important contribution to how political actors use history and how political structures impact policy outcomes; we expect that it will be widely applied.

Award Committee

Chair Janice Bockmeyer (CUNY – John Jay College); Surajit Chakravarty (ALHOSN University); Albert Fu (Kutztown University); Susan Saegert (CUNY – Graduate Center); Aaron Schultz (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee)

Read more about the award for Best Published Paper in the Journal of Urban Affairs.


This is just a friendly reminder that the Early Registration Deadline for conference presenters is approaching.  After Monday, January 12, a new set of registration fees will go into effect.

Registration deadlines:

  • Early registration deadline (for presenters): January 12, 2015
  • Late registration deadline (for presenters): February 13, 2015
  • Attendees who are not presenting: April 11, 2015

Through joint sponsorship with Routledge Publications, the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) will once again offer a series of FREE graduate student workshops at its annual conference. IMPORTANT: An application is required for participation. The 2015 workshops include:

Workshop A: The Dissertation Process: From Proposal to Defense
Workshop B1: Getting Your First Job (Academic)
Workshop B2: Getting Your First Job (Non-Academic)
Workshop C: Dissertation Intensive
Workshop D: Publishing

The workshops will be facilitated by a diverse group of professionals working inside and outside of academia, who are at varying stages of their careers. With the exception of Workshop C, students accepted to participate in the workshops may select their workshop(s) of choice.

Application Deadline: December 2, 2014 by 5:00pm CST (LATE APPLICATIONS ARE NOT ACCEPTED)

For more information about the workshops and to apply (required for participation) please visit: