The Urban Affairs Association (UAA), the international professional association for urban scholars, researchers and public service professionals, convened its 49th Annual Conference in Los Angeles, April 24-27, 2019. More than 1,000 participants, representing universities, research institutions, and non-profit, public, and private sector organizations, from around the world, met to discuss current issues impacting urban populations and places. Conference participants represented institutions from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Local sponsors for the event included:

  • The University of California, Los Angeles | Luskin School of Public Affairs
  • The University of California, Irvine | Urban Planning and Public Policy
  • California State University, Los Angeles | Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs
  • The University of California, Los Angeles | Department of Public Policy | Institute on Inequality and Democracy | Latino Policy and Politics Initiative
Pictured from left to right: Hélène Bélanger, Award Committee Chair (Université du Québec à Montréal), Kathryn Howell (Virginia Commonwealth University)

During the conference, awards were presented in recognition of outstanding scholarship and service. Among those honored was Kathryn Howell (Virginia Commonwealth University) for her article, “For the Kids: Children, Safety, and the depoliticization of displacement in Washington, DC”, Howell was awarded the 2019 Best Article in the Journal of Urban Affairs Award, for a 2018 published article. The award is sponsored by Routledge | Taylor & Francis Group, the official publisher of the Journal of Urban Affairs.

Award Committee Assessment:

“We are pleased to announce that “For the kids: Children, safety and the depoliticization of displacement in Washington, DC” by Kathryn L. Howell is the recipient of the Best Article in the Journal of Urban Affairs award for 2018 (volume 40). Howell’s article investigates the social and cultural displacement in public spaces, done through youth and public safety, as one facet of displacement in gentrifying/newly created mixed-income neighborhoods. Based on a case study, Columbia Heights in Washington DC, the author undertook intensive fieldwork in an innovativee methodological approach using interviews, documentary analysis and Census data to understand the impact of displacement. Her results show that long-term African American and Latino residents are excluded from public spaces with the complicity of planners and policy-makers by depoliticizing the debate and focusing on crime and disinvestment to justify revitalization and management. The writing is clear, accessible and the data used throughout the article support various perspectives such as local government, long-term and new residents and community advocate. Her conclusions highlighted the potential role played, not only through policing, but also through planning and policymaking on displacement. Her conclusions have implications for future research on gentrification in urban communities throughout the US and beyond.”

Award Committee:

Hélène Bélanger, Committee Chair (Université du Québec à Montréal), Maureen Donaghy (Rutgers University), Hee-Jung Jun (Sungkyunkwan University), Travis Young (Pennsylvania State University), Stacy Moak (University of Alabama Birmingham), Katharine Nelson (Rutgers University), and Daniel Scheller (University of Texas at El Paso)

Award Winner:

Kathryn Howell earned her PhD in Community and Regional Planning for the University of Texas at Austin and is currently an assistant professor of Urban and Regional Planning in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. Before pursuing a PhD, Dr. Howell worked in state and local government positions in Maryland and Washington, DC focused on affordable housing preservation and inclusionary zoning. Her research unpacks concepts of physical and cultural displacement in changing cities and investigates ways that policy and planning can be used to address these issues. Dr. Howell’s research has interrogated the polices, governance structures and roles of tenants and advocacy in the preservation of affordable housing and the ways in which public space implementation and maintenance can facilitate or abridge the right to the city for communities of color. She continues to work with affordable housing advocates, organizers and policy makers in Washington, DC on affordable housing preservation policy creation and advocacy. Dr. Howell is also the co-founder and co-director of the RVA Eviction Lab where she explores the impacts of housing instability on mobilization and organizing through collaborative partnerships with community organizations in Richmond, Virginia.