Karolina's research interests focus on social, economic, and political issues in urban planning, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation. She analyzes the social and physical changes that occur in the public realm as a result of planning interventions, and the urban politics involved with planning and public policy decisions. She has investigated how planning policies related to preservation and adaptive reuse are implemented in Los Angeles, and what their influence on urban development trends has been. Karolina's dissertation examines the socio-economic impacts of Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZs) on neighborhood change and gentrification in the city of Los Angeles. A number of diverse neighborhoods has become designated in Los Angeles – this provides an interesting opportunity to study how the policy impacts vary upon application to neighborhoods that differ architecturally, as well as socioeconomically. The goal of her research is to provide relevant information for planners, preservationists, and policy makers both locally and in other cities. Karolina's dissertation work is supported by the Haynes Lindley Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.
Before returning to graduate school, Karolina worked as an urban planner for Los Angeles County and also interned at the Los Angeles' Office of Historic Resources. During her first year at UCLA she worked as the managing editor of Critical Planning, UCLA's urban planning journal, and served on the journal's editorial board in her second year.