Jessica Bremner is a PhD candidate in Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests lie at the intersections of spatial justice, gender, housing, participatory practices, and democracy. Her dissertation research examines the processes that shape the spatial inequality of water access in the Coachella Valley. Jessica was awarded the Babbitt Dissertation Fellowship from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy to support this research.
Prior to entering the PhD program at UCLA, Jessica was the Planning Director of Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), a non-profit community development and design firm based in Los Angeles, USA and Nairobi, Kenya. Jessica has coordinated, supervised, and implemented community development programs aimed at empowering communities around the world. Her projects have ranged in scope and scale from a on online portal to identify water and sanitation connections in Kibera, Kenya to a Play Street pilot project for the City of Los Angeles to the development of a 5-acre park in the Eastern Coachella Valley. She has led dozens of participatory workshops to design, build, and implement public space projects that address social, economic, and physical needs of low-income communities. Her projects and processes have been featured in the New York Times and exhibited at the Louisiana Art Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt in New York, USA. Her dissertation builds from six years of working in the Coachella Valley with KDI.
Before joining KDI, she assisted management and evaluation of the Inter-American Foundation’s Brazil and Ecuador grant portfolios and worked for the Planning Department of the City of West Hollywood. Jessica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and dual Master of Arts in Urban Planning and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Past research projects include examining informality and slum upgrading programs in Brazil and community-engaged research on unpermitted housing and displacement in Los Angeles.