This year, Dr. William Rohe (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) was selected as the recipient of the 2021 Contribution to the Field of Urban Affairs Award, which is given to individuals whose body of work has contributed to defining the field.

Award Committee Assessment:

Pictured: William Rohe (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Pictured: William Rohe (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

“We are pleased to recognize Dr. William Rohe for Contribution to the Field of Urban Affairs. Dr. Rohe is the Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. For 25 years he directed the Center for Urban and Regional Studies, bringing it to prominence as a leading center for urban research. The interdisciplinary work of the Center makes academic research accessible to practitioners and policy-makers, focused on improving communities.

Across three books and over 70 peer-reviewed articles, his research has shaped the fields of housing and community development, and has focused, as one of his nominators described, on exploring “how people experience the impacts of policy.” Dr. Rohe’s impact is further demonstrated through his generous mentorship of junior scholars. His former graduate students remark on the time he invested in them: modeling the importance of pace, careful preparation of research, and a focus on the relevance and impact of research projects. Dr. Rohe has served the UAA well, including service on the governing board for nine years, with two years as Chair, leading numerous committees, and serving on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Urban Affairs since 2000. His work as an urban scholar, superlative mentor, and institution builder merit this recognition.”

Award Committee:

Leslie Martin, Committee Chair (University of Mary Washington), Carolyn Adams (Temple University), Nevin Brown (Independent Consultant), Marion Orr (Brown University), and Janet Smith (University of Illinois-Chicago)

Award Winner:

William (Bill) Rohe received his Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University and has been on the faculty of the Department of City and Regional Planning at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1978 where he has taught and conducted research on affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization. In 2005 the University recognized his contributions to scholarship with a Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professorship. In 1994, Bill was selected to direct the University’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies, a position he held until 2019. His research has been funded by a variety of public and nonprofit organizations including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. He has authored or coauthored several university press books, over 80 juried-journal article and 18 book chapters and was awarded best article awards from the Journal of the American Planning Association, the Journal of Planning Research, and Education and Housing Studies. In 2004 and again in 2015, Bill received Fulbright Research Scholarships to conduct studies in Barcelona and Glasgow. He also served on the Urban Affairs Association’s Governing Board, acting as the Board Chair or Vice Chair between 2007 and 2011.