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Urban Planning Writing

Repository of writings I did as part of my studies at SJSU. They are grouped by semester in reverse order, with the most recent at the top. Each title links directly to the pdf (where available) which will either open in your browser or be downloaded for offline reading.

Masters Planning Report

thesis, research, data analysis, community engagement, literature review
Designed to echo requirements that a professional planner might encounter in a job, the Masters Planning Report for the MURP program is the largest piece of work that we do on our own. Based on my own interest in public transit and community engagement, I looked at three projects in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Grad Slam Video

public speaking, research summary
I was chosen as a finalist for the SJSU Grad Slam 2022, also known as the Three Minute Thesis competition. I had three minutes and one slide to explain my research to a general audience. Watch a replay of the live, in-person final even above! (Link goes directly to my segment, but all the other presentations are also fascinating!) (Script text here.)

SoFA Pocket Park

community outreach, writing and analysis, survey development, client services
In collaboration with Veggielution, our class acted as a design firm to help them better understand their new neighbors at the SoFA Pocket Park in Downtown San José with the goal of making recommendations to Veggielution for both short- and long-term engagement opportunities. I was on the writing team for the initial report, and was solely responsible for the neighborhood profiles in Chapter 3 : Study Areas.
Our recommendations were initially a bulleted list, in the interest of focusing on the rest of our report during the semester. I was invited to lead the team over winter break to flesh them out and integrate the new Community Outreach Recommendations document into the original report. The combined version is linked above.

Literature Review

research, synthesis, analysis
One of two major assignments for the first semester of the "write your Masters Planning Report" class, this literature review focusing on mobility justice and equity scholarship largely stands on its own. Although it was substantially changed for the eventual report, I am including it here as an example of how I refined the topic as I progressed.

Cultural Identity

bias, privilege, inequity, inequality, self reflection, class, race
The culminating paper of a course diving into cultural identity and structural inequality in the US. Offered by the Communications department, I took this class to build a better understanding of my own privileges and how they influence my planning work so that I can better communicate across boundaries with cultural humility. I also reflected on how past political processes have produced in/equality in my life, how they influence where I am today, and what power I have in some situations to use that influence for positive change.

Career Pitch

leadership, career-building
I completed San Jose State's regular Leadership and Career Certificate Program with this linked capstone video project. The program helped me understand the core issues that brought me to urban planning, and express them in a concise 30-second "elevator pitch."

Sea Level Rise

costing, climate change, design review, rendering, presentation
A group project for a design studio course conducted entirely remotely. I was responsible for overall project management, as well as writing the narrative document as well as ensuring ADA compliance for all of our proposed designs. I was also responsible for research into the nature-based Mission Bay (SF) and engineered NYC "Big U" sea level rise mitigation plans to understand which aspects might be feasible in collaboration with existing Port of Oakland plans along the waterfront that included Jack London Square.

Local Transportation Funds

research, legal analysis, case study
In collaboration with the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), I wrote an analysis of the potential for Transportation Utility Fees to provide local governments with a source of revenue to fund local transportation initiatives. This included a legal and policy review as well as case studies from existing implementations in the US. I presented my findings and submitted my paper to MTI for potential inclusion in their final report (Nov 2021).

feminist city (Kern, 2020)

book review, feminism, marginalization
I agree with the online criticism that Kern could have done more to bring in perspectives outside her own, though feminist city is a worthwhile introduction to anyone who is not familiar with a woman’s experience of urban spaces. If someone in urban planning is not familiar with those experiences, this book is a great place to start. Kern also presents a compelling argument, though never articulated, for the need for more women (especially women with marginalized identities) in planning authority roles.

Detriot's City Rail

research, historical analysis
A crossroads from the beginning of European colonization (and likely before that as well), Detroit has always held a specific place in North American economies. From fur traders to steel mills to WWII manufacturing, and eventually to Motor City, moving workers around was always a priority. An early city plan by the famous L'Enfant created streets in the late 1880s that provided space for a public transit system that would be a political battle ground into the 1920s.

Climate Vision for Fremont

climate action plan, vision statement, policy analysis
A deep dive into Fremont, CA,'s current Climate Action Plan (CAP) process to understand existing conditions and pressures, and the goals the city has laid out. In this report, I provide an overview of the current situation in Fremont along with potential challenges in each area, and recommends ways to alleviate or mitigate negative impacts while building a more sustainable future for all.

I have also included a video of my final presentation. (3:33)

History of Little Portugal

history, statistics
Building a historic understanding of a neighborhood for statistical analysis based on data collected for an advanced report by another class in the department.

Euclid v Ambler

law, policy, zoning
In order to understand zoning laws in the US, I wrote a brief on the seminal 1926 case that examines the extent to which cities are allowed to exercise police power in zoning laws.

Pre-Planning Report

zoning, CEQA, development
Working with a client in Santa Cruz, I examined the proposal for a particular lot and the local zoning codes, with a focus on CEQA and development standards.

Impacts of BRT in India

research, local planning, BRT, evaluation
Taking an international perspective on planning, I spent several months researching the new Bus Rapid Transit implementation in Ahmedabad, India, to broaden my perspective on planning and project evaluation.

Community Engagement Recommendations

group work, community engagement, analysis
A group project involving outreach to the Alum Rock neighborhood of San Jose that was being conducted just as COVID restrictions were being put in place. I was solely responsible for the written report, which included analysis and data from group members.