Assistant Professor, City and Regional Planning Stuart Weitzman School of Design, University of Pennsylvania

Akira Drake Rodriguez is an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School in the Department of City & Regional Planning. Her research examines the politics of urban planning, or the ways that disenfranchised groups re-appropriate their marginalized spaces in the city to gain access to and sustain urban political power. Dr. Rodriguez’s forthcoming manuscript, Diverging Space for Deviants: The Politics of Atlanta’s Public Housing (University of Georgia Press 2021), explores how the politics of public housing planning and race in Atlanta created a politics of resistance within its public housing developments. This research offers the alternative benefits of public housing, outside of shelter provision, to challenge the overwhelming narrative of public housing as a dysfunctional relic of the welfare state. Dr. Rodriguez was recently awarded a Spencer Foundation grant to study how parent and educational advocates mobilize around school facility planning processes in Philadelphia.