City and Regional Planning

Akira Drake Rodriguez

Assistant Professor

Background and Research
Akira Drake Rodriguez's research examines the politics of urban planning, or the ways that disenfranchised groups re-appropriate their marginalized spaces in the city to gain access to and sustain urban political power. Using an interdisciplinary and multiple method approach, her research engages scholarship in urban studies, political science, urban history, black feminist studies, community development, urban policy, and critical geography using both qualitative and quantitative data and methods. This research agenda is particularly relevant in these politically unstable times, where cities continue to marginalize underrepresented minority groups by defunding public institutions, promoting urban policies that subsidize their displacement while limiting affordable housing options, and continuing the funding and support of a militarized police force. Prior to her fellowship, Dr. Rodriguez taught in the Planning department at Temple University and the Political Science department at Rutgers University–Newark. Dr. Rodriguez is currently working on her manuscript, Deviants in Divergent Spaces: The Radical Politics of Atlanta’s Public Housing, which is under contract with the University of Georgia Press. The book explores how the politics of public housing planning and race in Atlanta created a politics of resistance within its public housing developments. This research offers the alternative benefits of public housing, outside of shelter provision, to challenge the overwhelming narrative of public housing as a dysfunctional relic of the welfare state.   

PhD, Urban Planning and Policy, Rutgers University
MPA, Public Administration, University of Pennsylvania
BS, Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Courses Taught at the Weitzman School

CPLN 500: Introduction to Planning History, Theory and Practice
CPLN 624: Readings in Race, Poverty, and Place
CPLN 508: Urban Research Methods



“Remaking Black Political Spaces for Black Liberation.” Metropolitiques. 1 December 2016.