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Gordon Douglas

Assistant Professor

Urban & Regional Planning

Current Research Activities

I am currently studying the emerging "Covid urbanisms" of the last year - responses to the pandemic as visible in the built environment - including a study of the Oakland Slow Streets initiative for which I currently have a grant proposal under consideration. I am also engaged in a multi-year study of the spaces and architectures of extreme inequality in the Bay Area. Looking at the concepts of space, place, core, and perifery, I have been conducting ethnographic and photographic research on sites ranging from tech campuses to tent encampments. A first publication from this research is currently under review and I intend to begin turning the project into a book over the next couple of years.

Research Connections to Current Events

My current projects are both very much concerned with current events. The research on Covid urbanism is of course directly relevant to the current moment (I am also currently teaching a course on this topic) and the Oakland Slow Streets study in particular will be of great use to the City of Oakland (the director of Oakland's Dept. of Transportation has already written his support for my study). My ongoing study on the architectures of inequality in the Bay Area is also highly timely, with its focus on both the increasingly sizable informal settlements of our region's unhoused population as well as the spatial impacts of the tech industry (only changing further now in light of the pandemic's implications for office work environments).

Personal Connections to Research

My research on the Bay Area is directly inspired by my own experiences living here and especially my ongoing advocacy and activism work around housing and homelessness in my own community of Oakland. Certainly the research on the Bay Area's architectures of extreme inequality is also inspired by the work of Mike Davis (e.g. City of Quartz) among others. The research on slow streets and other Covid urbanisms comes out of both my own prior research on informal urbanism and my current experiences living through the pandemic with my family in Oakland.

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Keywords

urban design, Covid urbanism, informal urbanism, gentrification, homelessness