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Focus on new faculty: Revel Sims

October 18, 2016
Photo: Revel Sims

Assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Program • Hometown: Los Angeles • Educational/professional background: BA in history, 2000; MA in urban planning, 2006; Ph.D. in urban planning, 2014 — all from UCLA • Previous position: Visiting assistant professor, Chican@ and Latin@ Studies Program, UW–Madison; honorary fellow, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UW–Madison




How did you get into your field of research?

I decided to enter into urban planning for two reasons: because I was interested in working collaboratively on community development projects in order to change and improve living conditions in Los Angeles; and because I viewed the UCLA Department of Urban Planning as one of the leading programs that developed leaders in this area.

What attracted you to UW–Madison?

As I learned more about the “Wisconsin Idea” I came to realize that this mission fit closely with my own work and beliefs.

What was your first visit to campus like?

My first visit to campus was exciting while at the same time slightly anxiety provoking because my situation was not established.

Favorite place on campus?

The Lincoln statue.

What are you most enjoying so far about working here?

Being able to commute easily on bicycle.

Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea?

Tremendously. My work deals with urban displacement and gentrification and some of this incorporates community-based participatory methods for both my own academic research needs as well as producing relevant information that can be used to improve the living condition of residents. As I understand it, the Wisconsin Idea promotes a similar objective and I am pleased to be able to work at a university where this concept has been codified into the institution’s mission.

What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties?

Urban displacement that is not caused by war or natural disasters is often assumed to result from gentrification pressures. My work on eviction in Los Angeles has uncovered different types of everyday urban displacement through eviction that can be considered pre-gentrification or non-gentrification related.

Hobbies/other interests:

Bicycle riding and wrenching; gardening; cooking; camping.

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