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Urban planning research papers receive Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning honors

Awards recognize exemplary student research and writing by master's degree candidates.

Elizabeth Reed Yarina MCP ’15, a teaching fellow with MIT-SUTD, and Lillian Jacobson MCP ’15 have been honored by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) for works they published during their graduate programs at MIT. Yarina was awarded the Edward McClure Award for best master's student paper, and Jacobson won the Donald A. Schön Award for Reflective Practice.

The Edward McClure Award recognizes superior scholarship in a paper prepared by a master’s student in an ACSP-member school. Submissions may address any topic of investigation generated in the course of pursuing a master’s degree in urban/city/community/town/regional planning. 

Yarina’s paper, “Nauru as State and Space of Exploitation: Current and Future Refugees,” addresses many issues important to planning, including poverty; migration, displacement, and social vulnerability; international relations; the built environment; environmental degradation; and the impacts of climate change. According to the ACSP, “Yarina’s clear writing and careful approach, emphasizing spatial and architectural perspectives, capably support her evaluation of extensive empirical information to generate insights with the potential to guide local action.”

Yarina is currently a teaching fellow in Singapore with MIT-SUTD. She will begin a Fulbright research fellowship in New Zealand in spring 2017 to study the spatial implications of Pacific Islander climate change migration on New Zealand’s cities.

Jacobson’s paper, “Drawing Outside the Lines: Participatory Design in Unincorporated Communities,” chronicles and analyzes her collaboration with high school students from a marginalized community in Santa Rosa, California. The ACSP said that “her thesis documents her successful attempts to elicit reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action among high school students.”

Jacobson is currently a project associate at MIG, a planning firm with headquarters in Berkeley, California.

The other 2016 student paper award recipients were: Mercedes Sharpe Zayas of the University of Toronto; Madeleine Koch of the University of Manitoba; Elizabeth Hewitt of Stony Brook University; Chenghe Guan of Harvard University; and Ricardo Cardoso of the University of California at Berkeley.

ACSP is a consortium of university-based programs that advances the quality of architectural education in the United States and abroad, administering annual awards to faculty and students who have distinguished themselves or made major contributions to the urban and regional planning profession.

Student awards were presented at the ACSP annual conference in early November. 

Originally published December 9, 2016 by MIT School of Architecture and Planning for MIT News.