PLAN 72: Student Profile
Student Profile: Leanne Farrell


Palo Alto CA

Degree Candidate

MCP 2010

Undergraduate Work

BA in International Relations with Honors Certification in Latin American Studies
Stanford University, 2002

Degree Candidate

MCP 2010

Interest Area

I’m interested broadly in the challenges to effective and accountable environmental governance in the Global South, particularly with respect to managing and mitigating negative impacts of industrial/infrastructure development and coping with environmental vulnerability.

Thesis Topic

Every week I have new ideas, but the current ones include:

• Approaches and challenges to climate change adaptation among cities in the Global South, particularly with respect to informal settlements in low lying or vulnerable areas.

• The evolving expectations of private developers’ responsibilities to affected communities and the environment, beyond narrow management of direct social and environmental impacts, when local government planning and enforcement capacity is weak.

Career Ambition

I want to be an analyst, problem solver and advocate working to make international development projects and programs (public or private) as environmentally sustainable, socially equitable, and procedurally inclusive as possible. In my career, I want to be doing work that allows me to continuously reflect on the tensions and difficult tradeoffs implied by these buzzwords, yet never to lose sight of their urgent importance.

Why MIT?

MIT, in the heart of the Cambridge/Boston academic mecca, is full of smart, productive people. I figured that being surrounded by them would make me smarter and more productive. Also, DUSP is a good fit academically: it has a strong environmental policy and planning program, and more depth in its course offerings on planning issues in international contexts than any other US planning school.