Assistant Professor Ariel Bierbaum’s research sits at the nexus of metropolitan inequality, planning practice, and public education. Drawing on interdisciplinary perspectives, she asks questions about the institutional contexts, policy formation, and lived experiences of planning interventions. She is interested in the ways that policy and planning for neighborhoods and schools – as distinct and intertwined endeavors – have created landscapes that codify race and class hierarchies endemic to the United States’ social, political and economic structures. Using primarily qualitative methods, her projects examine a range of issues including: public school closures and the reuse of school buildings, school-centered community development, transportation equity and educational access, school and housing segregation, cross-sector collaboration and governance, gentrification and displacement, equitable smart cities investments, and youth-driven urban change and civic education. Bierbaum’s work builds understanding of how planning can support educational equity, racial justice, and trajectories of opportunity for historically marginalized youth and families.
Bierbaum is affiliated faculty of the Maryland Transportation Institute and a fellow with the Maryland Equity Project in the University of Maryland College of Education. Her research has appeared in the Journal of the American Planning Association, Journal of Urban Affairs, Housing Policy Debate, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Urban Education, and the Transportation Research Record.