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Personal profile

Office Address

Room 218 Temple Buell Hall 611 Taft Drive
Champaign IL 61820

Office Phone

217.265.8238

Personal profile

As an urban scholar of globalization my scholarship is situated at the intersection of sociology, geography, planning, and feminist studies, using case study and ethnographic methodologies. A native of Iran, I did my undergraduate studies at the College of Fine Arts at the Tehran University. I graduated with a Master's degree in Architecture at the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim and then completed my doctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Over the years my research and teaching has spanned several countries including Chile, Mexico, Canada, Australia, South Africa, the United States and most recently Togo. In 2014 I was named as University Scholar, a prestigious award the University of Illinois bestows on its faculty for excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.

My research concerns social and institutional aspects of urban development and planning that address basic human needs including housing and urban infrastructure and services that support it. I am particularly interested in the global and local development processes and contingencies involved in the formation of the city and citizens' struggles for dignified livelihood — namely, how groups disadvantaged by class, gender, race and ethnicity mobilize for resources such as shelter, basic infrastructure, and services and how institutional arrangements facilitate and frustrate provision and access to such vital urban resources. My scholarship on global inequalities, the kinds of questions I ask, the methodologies I use, and the insights I aspire to offer the public are all greatly influenced by my activist past and drive for social justice. In the 1980s and 1990s, I studied this relationship through the experience of low-income communities, particularly female-headed households in Latin America; since the mid-1990s I studied the struggle for justice and equity through the experience of racialized township residents in post-apartheid South Africa. In my most recent project, published as Global Heartland: Displaced Labor, Transnational Lives and Local Placemaking, I studied the relational development processes of placemaking in Togo, Mexico and Illinois. Using a relational frame of analysis that exposes global inequalities, Global Heartland reveals the development connections and dependencies across seemingly far-away communities across the globe that are intimately connected through everyday practices of their transnational families. For a documentary based on Global Heartland interviews, see "Moving Flesh," produced by artist-scholar-activists Sarah Ross and Ryan Griffis

My teaching covers the following: planning theory, international and community development; socio-cultural formation of cities; grassroots strategies and urban movements; global inequalities, migration and transnational urbanism; urban governance and the reconfigured state-society relations for provision of infrastructure, basic services and housing. I also serve as the Director of the PhD program and the coordinator of the Transnational Planning Stream at DURP. Students who are interested to find out more about the PhD in Regional Planning or about Transnational Planning Stream and the International Programs and Activities at DURP should consult the respective websites and feel free to contact me for further information.

Teaching

I teach at both undergraduate and graduate levels. My teaching covers the following: planning theory, international and community development; socio-cultural formation of cities; grassroots strategies; migration and transnational urbanism; the reconfigured state-society relations for provision of basic infrastructure services and housing; and a critique of the dominant global neoliberal policy framework. I also serve as the Director of the PhD program and the coordinator of the Transnational Planning Stream at DURP. Students who are interested to find out more about the PhD in Regional Planning or about Transnational Planning Stream and the International Programs and Activities at DURP should consult the respective websites and feel free to contact me for further information.

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the expert's scholarly documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

  • 3 Similar Profiles
town Social Sciences
planning Social Sciences
citizenship Social Sciences
Mexico Social Sciences
gender Social Sciences
housing policy Social Sciences
housing Social Sciences
community Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1993 2019

Global Heartland: Displaced Labor, Transnational Lives, and Local Placemaking

Miraftab, F., Jan 1 2016, Indiana University Press. 292 p. (Global Research Studies)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

town
Togo
labor
nationality
labor market

Constructing Solidarities for a Humane Urbanism

Salo, K. (ed.), Miraftab, F. (ed.), Huq, E. (ed.), Aristizábal Urrea, D. (ed.) & Ashtari, A. (ed.), Jan 14 2019, Publishing Without Walls.

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Open Access
solidarity
urban development
conversation
town
event

Insurgent Practices and Decolonization of Future(s)

Miraftab, F., Aug 23 2017, The Routledge Handbook of Planning Theory. Gunder, M., Madanipour, A. & Watson, V. (eds.). Routledge, p. 276-288

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

decolonization
planning
political philosophy
liberation
citizenship

Insurgent Planning: Situating Radical Planning in the Global South

Miraftab, F., Jan 5 2016, Readings in Planning Theory: Fourth Edition. Wiley, p. 480-498 19 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

inclusion
Planning
planning
citizenship
governance

Invented spaces of activism: Gezi park and performative practices of citizenship

Ay, D. & Miraftab, F., Jan 1 2016, The Palgrave Handbook of International Development. Palgrave Macmillan, p. 555-574 20 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

urban development
citizenship
development project
citizen
participation

Honors & Recognition

planning
racism
social change
equity
justice