Rachel Garshick Kleit Announced as Head of City and Regional Planning


Professor Rachel Garshick Kleit has joined the faculty of the Knowlton School of Architecture as Section Head of City and Regional Planning. Kleit comes to the KSA from the University of Washington, where she was associate professor at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs and adjunct associate professor of urban design and planning.  Her research focuses on the social impacts of housing on the lives of the poor, especially the relationship between housing location, neighborhood composition, social networks, and access to opportunity. Kleit has written on the social network impacts of housing programs that mix incomes, the HOPE VI program, housing self-sufficiency programs, housing choice processes for low-income people and on the role of the public housing authorities in the future of affordable housing. Additionally, she has been working on a stream of research addressing poverty more broadly, including the equity impact of economic development policies and the dynamics of fringe banking. 

Kleit’s research and teaching share an approach that considers the equity implications of a policy by identifying its intent, using theory to assess how the policy might work, and then testing both the policy expectations and the theory empirically.  To achieve this in her teaching, Kleit works to improve students’ critical thinking skills, enhance their ability to bring evidence to bear on the problems that motivated them to go to school, and make clear the importance of understanding the impacts of policies on the lives of individuals, especially those who have low incomes. 

In addition to the City and Regional Planning section’s emphasis on excellence, impact, and applied theory, Kleit was drawn to the section by its commitment to interdisciplinary work. States Kleit:

“I find collaborative work—both in research and teaching—to be the most fruitful. Collaborative work across specializations and disciplines forces one to articulate one’s biases and perspectives in new language, and it requires an openness regarding approaches to understanding problems and solving them. My personal efforts have supported cross-school and cross-departmental degrees, because I believe interdisciplinarity is vital to solving problems.”

Kleit holds an MA in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

As part of the KSA’s Baumer Lecture Series, Kleit will present the lecture The Changing Relationship Between Housing and Inequality in the Gui Auditorium at 5:30PM this Wednesday, October 31. See the Lecture Series page for more information.