The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning
Sua Kim

Sua Kim

Disaster planning; Local Economic Development; Race, Ethnicity, and Gender planning

M.A. Urban Sociology, University of Seoul
B.A. Law, Sungshin Women’s University


Why did you decide to pursue a Ph.D. in the USA?

When I was in master’s degree in Urban Sociology, I read tons of articles that mainly focused on cities in the USA. I got fascinated and passionate about seeing how urban areas have been developed or declined through the lens of sociology. Also, most faculty members at the University of Seoul got a Ph.D. degree in the USA. When I worked with them, it was completely autonomy which I hadn’t really experienced before that environmental setting in South Korea. I was eager to study and grow through a Ph.D. program in the USA.


What is your research focus?

The main idea of my research is Local Economic Resilience: how to make a city to be more resilient economically from external shocks such as natural hazards, what are the practical process and sustainable plans to cope with hazards with the understanding of different city entities (i.e., local government, institutions, community, businesses, etc.). For the dissertation work, I focus on the local business as one of the significant factors in local economic recovery after disasters. Also, I want to examine the different patterns of resilience in the minority, women-owned businesses.


What is your philosophy of scholar?

I think research questions should come first. The process of literature reviews and conceptual framework based on the theory studies is the essential work to find the gap and decent research questions. The methodology needs to depend on the research question. Also, I’m a big fan of the rule of parsimony when it comes to methodology, the simple, the best.