Dr. Rebecca Walker

Assistant professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Rebecca Walker received her Ph.D. in urban planning at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and is joining the Department of Urban and Reigonal Planning at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research considers the intersection of housing, equity, and the environment in American cities. Using a racial equity lens, she examines how patterns of environmental injustice were produced historically and continue to be reproduced today. Using Mapping Prejudice's data on racial covenants, she considers the history of real estate developers collaborating with local governments to direct investments in urban nature into racially restricted neighborhoods, with lasting environmental consequences today. This research uses critical GIS perspectives and methodologies to interrogate urban landscapes of environmental injustice, the historic policies that produced them, and how sustainability interventions today might challenge or deepen spatial inequalities. Her research questions and methods are guided by the voices and leadership of environmental justice activists in Minneapolis and beyond.

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