Assistant Professor, University of Maryland - College Park
Willow Lung-Umam is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland - College Park in the Urban Studies and Planning Program and director of community development at the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education. Her scholarship asks how urban policies and plans contribute to and can address social inequality, particularly in neighborhoods undergoing rapid racial and economic change. How do new residents reshape urban landscapes, especially in U.S. suburbs that, in recent decades, have become hubs of increasing diversity? What conflicts emerge? And how do plans and policies that seek to resolve these conflicts frustrate or facilitate equitable outcomes?
Willow is the author of Trespassers: Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia (University of California Press) and has written extensively on the topic of Asian immigrant suburbanization. Other recent projects have focused on gentrification, suburban poverty, opportunity mapping, and smart cities. Her research has appeared in various journals, such as Journal of Urban Design and Journal of Planning, Education and Research, and popular media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and The Atlantic’s CityLab. Willow’s research has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, Enterprise Community Partners, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and other local, state and federal agencies and foundations.
Willow is an affiliate faculty at American University’s Metropolitan Policy Center and at the University of Maryland’s Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity, the Department of American Studies, the programs in Historic Preservation and Asian American Studies, and a faculty associate at the Maryland Population Research Center. She was also a Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar and Ford Postdoctoral Fellow.
Willow teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban inequality and diversity, social planning, and community development. Prior to joining the UMD faculty, she worked professionally on master-planning projects in low-income communities, and with non-profits, public agencies, and private firms on issues of public housing and community development.
She holds a Ph.D in landscape architecture and environmental planning from the University of California - Berkeley, an M.C.P in urban studies and planning from the University of Maryland - College Park, and a B.S in comparative studies in race and ethnicity from Stanford University.