Claire Nelischer

I am a doctoral student in Urban Planning at UCLA, broadly interested in public space governance, civic participation, and urban design. My current research centers on questions of spatial justice in the production and management of urban parks, and the role of planners, designers, and communities in shaping shared public environments and outcomes. This work is supported by a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).
I am interested in interdisciplinary approaches to public space research, and am a graduate of UCLA’s Urban Humanities certificate program and currently serve as a Graduate Student Researcher with cityLAB, an architecture and urban research think tank in UCLA’s Department of Architecture and Urban Design. Before pursuing doctoral studies, I worked in policy research, advocacy, and community engagement in Toronto and New York City, with a focus on the public realm. I hold a Master of Science in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and a Bachelor of Arts in Human Geography from Queen’s University.

Gus Wendel

Gus Wendel began the Ph.D program in Urban Planning in the fall of 2020. His research is broadly concerned with the intersection of race, gender and sexuality, urban design and governance, and neighborhood change. In his concurrent role as the Assistant Director of cityLAB-UCLA, Gus oversees several design-research projects examining the links between housing insecurity, long-distance commuting, and public space access and use. Gus also manages the multi-year Mellon Foundation award to the Urban Humanities Initiative, where he also co-produces the Digital Salon and is involved in teaching and research. Prior to UCLA, Gus worked for the Oregon Secretary of State and advocated for LGBTQ rights in the state of Oregon. Gus has a Master in Urban and Regional Planning from the Luskin School of Public Affairs and a BA in International Relations and Italian Studies from Brown University.