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student research seminar

Doctoral Candidate Andrew Guinn and 2019 Master’s Candidate Matt Stern start off our student research seminar series:
(Next event: Thursday, February 28; 3.30-5; NE 101)

Andrew Guinn (PhD)

Revising the Modernist City: Democracy and Urban Change in Contemporary Brasília

For decades, planning conversations about Brasília, Brazil’s capital city which was constructed in the early 1960s, have been mostly negative. The city is frequently held up to epitomize the hubris and failure of modernist planning: it is auto-oriented, exhibits an extreme separation of uses, has no flexibility for adjustments, is culturally barren, etc. In this talk, I will examine the classic critiques of Brasília and evaluate their continued relevance in light of substantial changes in the city’s urban structure, governance and culture since the 1980s.

My goals are to offer an updated and pragmatic perspective of the legacy of modernist planning Brasília, and to gather ideas from the audience about how (and if) to further develop my arguments.


Matt Stern (MCRP) 

Chicago’s $1 lot sale program: measuring the crime and wealth-building impacts of returning 1,000 vacant urban parcels to community ownership

91 cities in the United States have been shrinking over the last few decades, creating a national issue of urban vacancy and reinforcing disinvestment trends. Many of these cities have been experimenting with innovative mechanisms to encourage reuse of city-owned vacant land. Since 2014, the City of Chicago has been selling vacant, city-owned, residentially-zoned properties to same block landowners for $1.

However, no study has yet to evaluate the impacts of the program on the city’s stated goals of increasing safety, generating wealth, fostering local control of land.  This research seeks to evaluate the program on these metrics.

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