Urban planning program adds two tenure-track faculty

Kelly Gregg and Jordana Maisel bring broad expertise in planning and design for inclusion, climate action and public health

Published September 17, 2020

The Department of Urban and Regional Planning has announced the addition of two tenure-track faculty bringing expertise in inclusive planning and design of pedestrian environments.

Kelly Gregg.

Kelly Gregg, PhD, comes to UB with expertise in pedestrian street design, sustainable landscapes and transportation policy.

Kelly Gregg, PhD, comes to UB from Ball State University and holds a doctorate in urban planning from the University of Toronto with research expertise in pedestrian street design, sustainable landscapes, and transportation policy.

Jordana Maisel, PhD, comes to the faculty with a joint role as research director with the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access in the School of Architecture and Planning. Maisel, an urban planner who holds a Master of Urban Planning and PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from UB, brings expertise in universal design and policy for housing, aging communities and transportation.

Daniel B. Hess, professor and chair of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, says the new hires deepen the program’s expertise in areas tied to critical society challenges. “With research and practice experience in planning and design for inclusion, public health and climate justice, Kelly and Jordana enrich our collective efforts to create more just and sustainable communities for all.”

Gregg’s place-based research is positioned at the intersection of planning, urban design, and landscape architecture. Specifically her work focuses on street design and pedestrian environments in both an historic and contemporary context. In her first semester with the program Kelly Gregg is teaching an undergraduate environmental design course that invites students to address retail and street design adaptations to enable physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and another that investigates climate justice in urban environments at a local and global scale. She is also co-teaching a graduate urban planning colloquium on graphic communication for urban planning.

Gregg strives to approach challenges in practice and in research with an interdisciplinary perspective that references her background in both planning and design. In addition to her doctorate she holds a Master of Urban Planning (MUP) and a Master of Urban Design (MUD) from The University of Michigan, and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) from The Pennsylvania State University.

Drawing Gregg to UB was the urban planning program’s community-engaged approach to teaching and research, including the work of its UB Regional Institute, which advances regional policy and planning through client-based projects. Says Gregg: “I see great opportunities at Buffalo to be supported in continuing my research agenda and developing new collaborations through research centers like UBRI. I am looking forward to learning how I can give back to the Buffalo community.”

The emerging scholar’s publications include a chapter published in the New Companion to Urban Design. Additionally, part of her dissertation work on pedestrian malls was published in the journal Planning Perspectives. She co-authored an article on ‘Complete Street’ municipal policy in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation.

Prior to joining the faculty at Buffalo, Gregg taught courses in planning, landscape architecture, and architecture at Ball State University. She also taught at the University of Cincinnati’s Niehoff Urban Studio and Community Design Center. Additionally, she worked at The Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan and assisted the Detroit Climate Action Collaborative (DCAC) in developing a community lead climate action plan for the City of Detroit. She has also worked on urban design visioning for climate adaptation in Manhattan, NY. This collaborative work was featured in The Atlantic Cities shortly after Hurricane Sandy in December 2012.

Jordana Maisel.

Jordana, PhD, will hold joint positions as assistant professor of urban planning and director of research for the IDEA Center. 

Maisel, whose appointment with the department begins in 2021, has been affiliated with the School of Architecture and Planning since 2004, when she joined the IDEA Center team to pursue her interests in design and policy for inclusive environments. She has taught courses in planning and design for inclusive environments as an adjunct instructor with the department for nearly 10 years.

At the IDEA Center, Maisel leads multiple national research programs in support of the Center’s internationally regarded work on universal design, with a particular focus on public transportation, street infrastructure, post-occupancy evaluations and accessible housing policy. She serves as co-director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Accessible Public Transportation (RERC-APT) from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). She is also the Center director for the RERC on Universal Design and the Built Environment, which was recently awarded its fifth, five-year grant award for $4.62 million. She is also co-lead on a NIDILRR field-initiated research project on Independent Wheelchair Securement and a Social Innovation grant from Toyota to study ride-hailing.

Maisel says her work in the field and classroom is mutually reinforcing. “I have constantly tried to integrate my research and teaching activities wherever possible. I find that the students are always eager to learn about ongoing research initiatives, and ultimately value seeing the practical application of what they’re learning in the classroom.”

Looking ahead to her new role, Maisel says she is eager to expand her engagement with both students and faculty, to enhance the teaching experience and diversify her research. “In addition to involving more students in my research efforts I hope that my new role within the department will allow me to expand my research portfolio as I build relationships with other planning faculty.”

A widely cited author, Maisel is co-author of the Goals of Universal Design, Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments (2012), Accessible Public Transportation (2018), and Inclusive Design: Implementation and Evaluation (2018), as well as numerous peer-reviewed publications.

In addition to her graduate degrees from UB she holds a BS in Human Development from Cornell University.