2019 Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award

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

During the conference, awards were presented in recognition of outstanding scholarship and service. Among those honored was Lisa Bates (Portland State University).Bates was awarded the 2019 UAA-SAGE Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award.

Pictured from left to right: Lisa Bates (Portland State), Henry Taylor Jr., Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award Committee Chair  (University at Buffalo)

This award was established to highlight field-based urban scholarship and promote the dissemination of work by activist urban scholars. The award is co-sponsored by SAGE Publishing and UAA. The inspiration for this award is the career of Dr. Marilyn J. Gittell, former Director of the Howard Samuels Center and Professor of Political Science at The Graduate School at City University of New York. Dr. Gittell was an outstanding scholar and a community activist who wrote seminal works on citizen participation, and was founding editor of Urban Affairs Quarterly, (now known as Urban Affairs Review). Thus, the award seeks to honor the contributions of a scholar whose research record shows a direct relationship between activism, scholarship and engagement with community(ies).

Award Committee Assessment:

“Lisa Bates is an Associate Professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University. She is Director of the Center for Urban Studies and is affiliated with the Black Studies Department. Professor Bates’ work embodies the themes of the Marilyn J. Gittell activist scholar award. Her research focuses on social justice issues, including equitable development, gentrification, displacement and neighborhood change, and she uses insights derived from this research to guide her activism. Her work on Black Spatial Imaginary offers a unique way of examining black communities by exploring the interplay among past, present and future spaces in Black life, while her participation on the Portland African American Leadership Forum represents a significant example of using participatory planning methods to engage communities in the fight for fundamental change. She has published peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and has been an editor of special issues in journals related to equity planning issues. Additionally, she has participated in essay and magazine formats to reach audiences beyond academia. In 2018, Bates was named Portland Professor in Innovative Housing Policy, and she has won many other awards, including the inaugural Ed Sullivan Housing Advocate Award from Oregon’s Housing Land Advocates.”

Award Committee:

Henry Taylor Jr., Committee Chair (University at Buffalo), Kitty Epstein (Fielding Graduate University), Megan Glister (University of Iowa), Kathe Newman (Rutgers University), and Lemir Teron (SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry)

Award Winner:

Lisa K. Bates, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University.

Dr. Bates’ scholarship on housing policy and planning attends to the legacies of discrimination in urban policy-making. Her work on gentrification and displacement has been widely cited. In 2018, she was awarded the PSU Portland Professorship in Innovative Housing Policy, which supports translating her research into action. Her work includes deep engagements with community-based organizations working towards racial justice and housing rights, and a research and advisory practice with Portland’s planning agencies.

Dr. Bates is also co-founder of the Black Life Experiential Research Group, a 2019 Creative Capital award-winning art collaborative. The Black Life ERG is an interdisciplinary, transmedia art collaborative using research, socially engaged art practice, and spatial intervention to develop new visions of Black history, present, and possibility.

Her B.A. is in Political Science from the George Washington University, and she earned her Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining PSU’s faculty, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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