For the new associate faculty director of the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, her latest job is simply the next step in a progression from working architect to urban planning scholar.

Kian Goh, who studies the politics around cities’ responses to climate change, is an assistant professor of urban planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. It was while working as an architect in and around New York City in the early 2000s that she found her interests expanding beyond the buildings she was designing, especially regarding urban inequalities and the impacts of climate change.

Goh said the typical presumptions of objective research in the social sciences sometimes conflicts with the desire to see the problem from the point of view of oppressed groups, in order to challenge unjust systems and promote greater equity in decision-making in cities. Overcoming that hurdle is one of the objectives of her recently published book “Form and Flow: The Spatial Politics of Urban Resilience and Climate Justice.”

“This type of positional research is more attuned to how institutional power actually works,” Goh said. “And it’s what I think the Institute on Inequality and Democracy does incredibly well. I'm so excited to be part of it.”

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