Samina Raja's research program focuses on the role of
planning and policy in building sustainable food systems and
Samina Raja, a UB food systems researcher, has won the
2014 William R. and June Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and
The 2014 award, given by Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of
Urban and Regional Planning, recognizes scholars engaged with the
theme “We Are What We Eat: Food Systems and the Healthy
Raja will receive the Dale Scholar Prize, while Heather Wooten
of ChangeLab Solutions in Oakland won the Dale Practitioner Prize.
Both will get $5,000 and spend two-and-a-half days at Cal Poly
Pomona, meeting with students and speaking at a colloquium.
Raja, associate professor of urban and regional planning, School
of Architecture and Planning, is founder of the Food Systems
Planning and Healthy Communities Lab at UB and a community
leader on food issues.
Her research program, which focuses on the role of planning and
policy in building sustainable food systems and healthy
communities, is funded by local and national sponsors, including
the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation and others.
In Western New York, her work has included partnering with
government officials and residents of Buffalo to identify how
low-cost changes in the design of the city could encourage
healthier eating and more physical activity.
On a national scale, she is principal investigator of a $4
million grant project that aims to increase the access that
consumers in underserved neighborhoods have to fresh produce and
other nutritional goods. She is also lead author of “A
Planners Guide to Community and Regional Food Planning:
Transforming Food Environments, Facilitating Healthy
Raja received her PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the
University of Wisconsin-Madison, and holds a master’s degree
in housing planning and bachelor’s degree in engineering.