When most people imagine what planners do, they think about street design and zoning. This year’s edition of Panorama brilliantly demonstrates just how much more there is to what we do. The student work you’ll see in these pages ranges from a rethinking of how planners view equity and advocacy, to examining the parallels between the legal contestation of public electricity and municipal broadband, to exploring how municipal development banks could finance green infrastructure. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I hope that when you read through this impressive volume you’ll appreciate the breadth and depth of our students’ work as much as I do.
I think you’ll also notice just how well-suited the work our students are doing is to the big challenges facing our world. Racial equity. Climate change. Financial precarity. These are the wicked problems our students tackle every day in our classrooms and in the field. It may sound cliché, but our students truly are devoted to making the world a better place. As you’ll see, they’re already doing just that.
As the chair of the Weitzman School’s Department of City Planning, and I could not be more proud of the work coming out of our department. Happy reading!
Professor & Department Chair
Bailey (he/him) is a first-year Master of City Planning student with a focus in Sustainable Infrastructure and Transportation Planning. He is passionate about the role of transportation accessibility and equity in building safe, climate-resilient, and vibrant communities. Prior to becoming a graduate student, he developed paid digital media campaigns for clients such as the Georgia Democratic Party and Voto Latino. When not browsing bus network maps, he is probably deep in a new dinner recipe or playing Beyoncé’s Renaissance on loop.
Riddhi is a second-year Master of City Planning student with a background in architecture and urban action, research, and advocacy. A firm believer in the potential of design and communication to transform our lives, she is currently exploring the intersection of mobility, infrastructure, and public space to develop solutions for social and ecological equity. When not glued to her laptop, you can find her petting a dog (or a cat), flipping through a book, sniffing coffee beans, or clicking photographs of almost everything.
micah (they/them) is a second year Master’s in City Planning student concentrating in Housing, Community, and Economic Development. They are a storyteller and systems meddler raised on vast swathes of fantasy and science fiction, which taught them the power stories have to change hearts, minds, and systems. As a designer, they’ve designed web experiences for the ACLU of Washington, the MIT Media Lab, the coveillance collective, and many others. When not pushing pixels, you can find them headbanging in grimy basements or racing (and beating) c*rs on their rusty fixed gear.
Katie is a first-year Master of City Planning student concentrating in Housing, Community and Economic Development. After studying anthropology as an undergraduate, Katie worked for a few years in the nonprofit sector, focusing on youth development and community support. Katie is interested in the intersection of culture, power, and community-led design, specifically how communities come together to create urban space that fits their needs. When not people-watching, Katie spends her timeplaying/listening to all things heavy, watching ‘90s romcoms and finding the best food and drink deals Philly has to offer.
Jackson is a design editor for Panorama and a third-year dual degree student in Landscape Architecture and City Planning programs. He believes that planners and designers can support the collective will of communities and amplify their people power through research, advocacy, and participatory action. His studies focus on the intersections of climate justice, community organizing, and methods of cooperative land ownership. Otherwise he’s out watercoloring on location or daydreaming about his next illustration project.
Jonathan is a first year city planning master's student concentrating in sustainable transportation and infrastructure planning. He comes to Penn with experience working at the School District of Philadelphia and at Philadelphia's Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity. Jonathan has an English degree from Reed College in Portland Oregon and also attended Deep Springs College in California. He believes that cities are remarkable spaces for sustainable and equitable life and wants Chestnut and Walnut Streets to be permanently closed to cars. If you have any questions, you can find him in Clark Park at 6:30pm every Wednesday.