The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Faculty Highlight: Welcome to the College of Architecture + Planning

Faculty Highlight: Welcome to the College of Architecture + Planning

The University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning welcomes three new faculty members to the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning: Danya Rumore, Ivis Garcia Zambrana, and Divya Chandrasekhar.

danyaDanya Rumore joins the faculty as a Visiting Assistant Professor. She is also the Associate Director of the Environmental Dispute Resolution Program in the Wallace Stegner Center in the College of Law. Her work and research focus on supporting collaborative decision-making around science-intensive environmental issues, with a particular focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation, water resource management, and mixed land-use.

“It’s an exciting time to be here,” says Danya. “The department has a focus on resilience, response, respect, and responsibility. These themes are core to my work and interest in helping communities and stakeholders work together to address the environmental challenges and risks they collectively face.”

Danya received her doctorate in Environmental Policy and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, she was the Assistant Director of the MIT Science Impact Collaborative and the Project Manager for the New England Climate Adaptation Project. Danya was a 2008 Fulbright Graduate Student Fellow to New Zealand, where she completed a Master’s of Science in Environmental Management and Geography and worked with the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Economics from Oregon State University. She is a co-author of the recently released book “Managing Climate Risks in Coastal Communities: Strategies for Engagement, Readiness and Adaptation.”

At the U, Danya teaches negotiation and dispute resolution for planners. She is also a research affiliate of the Ecological Planning Center and the Global Change and Sustainability Center. She says of her teaching and research: “I have a particular interest in really getting students engaged in connecting theory to practice, in helping them understand how what they are learning about in their classes and research relates to addressing real world challenges.”

Her advice for planning students? “Planning is a field fueled by passion. Figure out what really drives you and what skills you bring to the table, and marry those two into how you approach your practice, research, and education.”

IvisIvis Garcia Zambrana joins the faculty as an Assistant Professor. She plans to work in close collaboration with the University Neighborhood Partners. Her philosophy, methodology and ethos revolve around conducting research and plans in partnership with stakeholders, being from the grassroots or from institutionalized forms of government. Ivis offers community engagement as a major learning goal for students, “By working in real, hands-on projects that are about making connections between theory and practice. This can only happen if students are engaged with the community.”

Ivis is an urban planner with research interests in the areas of community development, housing, and identity politics. “My main interest areas include community development, education, affordable housing, issues of identity and culture, leadership and empowerment.” She has spent time as a professional planner in Albuquerque, New Mexico, San Francisco, California, Springfield, Missouri, Washington, D.C., and most recently in with the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Community Improvement, a research center within the University of Illinois at Chicago.

As a practitioner, Ivis has led several large-scale housing projects such as the BRAC Homeless Assistance Submission for the Concord Community Reuse Project and a program evaluation for the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund. Ivis earned her Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She holds dual master’s degrees from the University of New Mexico in Community and Regional Planning and Latin American Studies and a bachelor’s in Environmental Sciences from Inter-American University in Puerto Rico.

DivyaDivya Chandrasekhar joins the faculty as an Assistant Professor. Divya’s research focuses on how communities recover from disasters and other environmental change events, and the role of planning in this process. Her studies have examined participatory recovery planning, intensified plan-making after disasters, emergent institutional coordination, and recovery policy for prolonged displacement in the U.S., India, and Indonesia.

“I would like students to be aware of the world, as planning is about current events in the world,” says Divya. It is important for students to have a public interest focus and be engaged with the local communities. The more involved students are, the greater the knowledge they will gain.”

Divya specializes in qualitative inquiry and mixed method studies. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Natural Hazards Center at Boulder, the Mid-America Earthquake Center, the University of Illinois, and Texas Southern University. She was a National PERISHIP Fellow with the Natural Hazards Center in 2007-2008, and her work is published in national and international journals. “I focus more on long term recovery, such as socio-economic and physical recovery, than on immediate disaster response,” says Divya.

Divya has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy at Texas Southern University since 2010. She received her Master’s and Ph.D. degree in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010, and a Bachelor’s degree in physical planning from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi in 2003.