Research Affiliates

Erica Avrami

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Erica Avrami PhD, is the James Marston Fitch Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia GSAPP, having joined the full-time faculty in 2014. Formerly the Director of Research and Education for World Monuments Fund and a Project Specialist at the Getty Conservation Institute, Erica Avrami has worked on a global stage, looking at heritage issues from different perspectives, in broadly ranging social, economic, and environmental conditions. By bringing international perspectives to her courses and developing studios beyond New York, Dr. Avrami challenges students to enhance their critical thinking skills and position their understanding of preservation theory and practice in a global context.

Dr. Avrami’s research and teaching focus on the intersection of heritage and sustainability, cultural heritage planning and management, values-based and participatory approaches to conservation, and the outcomes of historic preservation policy. Stressing the importance of maintaining a dynamic exchange between practice and scholarship, Avrami sees important horizons to explore in the field as climate change compels fundamental shifts in the way we design, construct, and management the built environment, and in how communities play a role in decision-making about their shared past and future.

Dr. Avrami earned her B.A. in Architecture and M.S. in Historic Preservation, both at Columbia. She completed her Ph.D. in planning and public policy at Rutgers University, where her doctoral research focused on the intersection of historic preservation and sustainability planning. She has also taught in in the preservation programs at the University of Pennsylvania and Pratt Institute. Avrami was a Trustee and Secretary of the US Committee of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (US/ICOMOS) from 2003 to 2010, and she currently serves on the editorial advisory board of the journal Change Over Time.                                       

Clara Irazábal

Clara Irazábal is Assistant Professor of Urban Planning in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University, New York City. In her research, she explores the interaction of culture, politics, and placemaking. She primarily focuses on Latin American cities and Latino communities in the US. Irazábal has worked as consultant, researcher, and/or professor in Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Germany, Spain, and the US; and has lectured in many other countries. She is the author of Urban Governance and City Making in the Americas: Curitiba and Portland (Ashgate, 2005) and the editor of Ordinary Places, Extraordinary Events: Citizenship, Democracy, and Public Space in Latin America (Routledge/ Taylor & Francis, 2008). She has published academic articles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

David King

David King is an Assistant Professor of Urban Planning at Arizona State University. His research explores the impact of local transportation planning on the built environment, public finance and accessibility. As part of this research he has written about the phenomenon of cruising for parking and used spatial regression techniques to analyze travel behavior. He also studies how public policy influences the adoption of new technologies to address congestion, energy and environmental concerns. These issues are the focus of Professor King’s teaching through his courses covering planning techniques and methods, transportation and land use planning and transport policy.

Patrick Kinney

Dr. Patrick Kinney is a Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences. Dr. Kinney’s teaching and research address issues at the intersection of global environmental change, human health, and policy, with an emphasis on the public health impacts of climate change and air pollution. His work in the 1990s on air quality and environmental justice in Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx led to important new insights into the impacts of diesel vehicle emissions on local air quality. Dr. Kinney has carried out numerous studies examining the human health effects of air pollution, including studies of the effects of ozone and/or particulate matter on lung health and on daily mortality in large cities. More recently, he developed a new interdisciplinary research and teaching program at Columbia examining the potential impacts of climate change on human health. Dr. Kinney was the first to show that climate change could worsen urban smog problems in the U.S., with attendent adverse health impacts. He also has projected future health impacts related to heat waves in the NYC metropolitan area. In a new research initiative, Dr. Kinney is working with clinicians at Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital to understand how past and future climate may affect pollen-related allergic airway diseases. Dr. Kinney earned his doctorate at the Harvard School of Public Health, where he studied the effects of air pollution on lung function in children as part of the Harvard Six Cities Air Pollution and Health Study.

Nicole Ngo

Nicole Ngo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Planning, Public Policy, and Management at the University of Oregon.  She earned her Ph.D. in Sustainable Development at Columbia University in 2013 and her research interests include health economics, environmental policy, and urban sustainability.  Her current research focuses on health and urban air pollution in the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa.  Please visit her website for more information:  Nicole has also conducted research focused on conditions in Nairobi along with CSUD’s Jacqueline Klopp and Patrick Kinney.  Nicole holds a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Science from the University of California, Irvine.


Andrea Rizvi

A_RizviAndrea Rizvi has a Ph.D. in Urban Planning Program from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University, New York.  Her research focuses on the practice of infrastructure provision in developing countries.  Her doctoral research explored the impact of different types of planning process on project outcomes, drawing on case studies of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) implementation in India.  Prior to embarking on her doctorate, she worked at the World Bank where she managed programs to deliver infrastructure services in poor urban and rural settlements.  She has over 15 years of experience as both a project manager and design practitioner in Australia, United Kingdom, South America and Eastern Europe.  She holds Masters Degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Technology and Policy (MSc.) and Environmental Engineering (MSc.) as well as an Honors degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Queensland in Australia.


Vera Tangari

Architect and Associate Professor at Federal University in Rio de Janeiro (FAU-UFRJ)Foto-Vera (2) in Brazil. Graduated in Architecture (Instituto Bennett de Ensino, 1981), with a Master of Science Degree on Urban Planning (The University of Michigan, 1983), and a Doctoral Degree in Urban Environmental Structures (University of São Paulo, 2000). She is a researcher at the Graduate Program in Architecture (PROARQ-UFRJ), advisor of doctoral and master thesis and dissertations, coordinator of the research group SEL-RJ (Open spaces systems in Rio de Janeiro) and vice-coordinator of the research group Prolugar (Quality of Place and Landscape). Main research fields include urban landscape morphology, urban design and architectural design, and interests comprise peripheral neighborhoods, urban expansion regions and low income settings, social housing design and architecture education. Vera is also a member of the directory board of the Brazilian Association of Landscape Architects and associated to the Brazilian Architects Institute. Email:

Jennifer van den Bussche

2006-10 (2)

Jennifer van den Bussche is the founder and director of Sticky Situations  in Johannesburg. She is a Project Manager who brings strong facilitation skills to her work, complimented by her experience in community development, as well as her background in construction, and training in architecture. Jennifer has used these skills to bring together talented teams in disadvantaged communities in Johannesburg to create successful outcomes in a range of projects including public art, sanitation upgrades and multi-media exhibitions and events. She studied architecture at Deakin University, Australia, and will complete a Masters in International and Community Development in 2015. As Global Studio Johannesburg project manager, Jennifer contributed to the success of Global Studio from 2007-09. In addition to Sticky Situations (founded 2010), she co-ordinates the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation’s (GSAPP) Studio X projects and activities in South Africa.

Sarah Williams

Sarah Williams is currently Director of the Civic Data Design Project, which is new research lab that is part of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) School of Architecture and Planning School. The Civic Data Design Project develops innovative tools and techniques that allow for the visualization, collection and spatial analysis of the vast data sets we now store about the places we live. The lab employs data visualization and mapping techniques to expose and communicate urban patterns and policy issues to broader audiences. Williams is also currently faculty of MIT’s Graduate School of Architecture and Planning.