Refuge: Making neighborhood space
for immigrant life


How do urban plans affect immigrant communities?

My master’s project at University of Illinois at Chicago focused on urban planning policies to serve residents no matter their citizenship or visa status. Made at a point when the federal government is at best apathetic to and at worst actively destructive to the lives of non-US citizens living within the United States, the project focuses on the role of local officials in making space for the lives of the residents they serve.

As federal agents seek to ramp up “interior enforcement,” removing locals from their homes into camps or outside the country, city planners can identify policies and strategies to keep residents in their homes and communities. This includes increasing neighborhood density to allow for family unification, as well as funding legal assistance programs and pedestrianizing streets to forbid force multipliers like armored trucks in places of refuge.

The project gives theoretical backing to the necessity of working with residents no matter their citizenship status and offers local planners a menu, so they can identify policies which allow them to serve their communities by resisting the destruction of local neighborhoods. The plan includes an implementation guide, examining how the policies may look if enacted in Albany Park (an immigrant community in Chicago).

The project is embedded below, and I welcome feedback on my Contact page.