Farnaz Fatahi

Farnaz Fatahi, MS student, urban and regional planning

Designs resilient cities

“Farnaz continues to exemplify the positivity, curiosity, and collaborative nature we hope to see in our students.” -Travis Kraus, associate professor of practice and director, Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities

Tehran, Iran

Faculty mentor/advisor:
  Scott Spak, PhD, associate professor, School of Planning and Public Affairs, Graduate College

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
Master of Urban Planning, May 2025

Please describe your research:
We are examining the relationship between urban form (the physical layout of a city), vulnerability, and resilience in cities using big data. The Iowa Superfund Research Program (ISRP) provides funding for us. In order to determine their relationship with various urban form indicators, we are searching for toxic sites, redlining, health, and socioeconomic vulnerabilities as part of our research.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
This is the first attempt at a quantitative analysis that looks at multiple types of urban form resilience across multiple cities. Once the relationship between these indicators is established, it can serve as a guide for upcoming city building and urban planning and design.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?
After being admitted into the school (Master of Urban Planning in fall 2023), I began working on this research and working with Professor Spak.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
For me, research has had a significant impact on my success at Iowa. It gives me the chance to be published and presented, first and foremost. In addition, it truly makes a big difference in problem-solving abilities and provides plenty of chances to pick up new technical skills.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
My future goals involve using all the knowledge and abilities I have acquired to work in the field of urban planning and design. My preferred focus areas are walkability and open public spaces in urban areas.

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