Maia Woluchem is a graduate of MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Currently, she is a Technology Fellow on the Civic Engagement and Government Team at the Ford Foundation, where she builds work at the intersection of civic organizing, power building, and technology. Her work there builds the capacity of organizers working on issues of structural democracy, broader civic coalitions, and those fighting for broad and equitable access to democracy.
Maia's work at MIT was focused on both fair housing, and the intersection of technology and race. While there, she co-edited a forthcoming book on the legacy of fair housing legislation entitled Furthering Fair Housing: Prospects for Racial Justice in America’s Neighborhoods. Prior to MIT, Maia was a Research Associate at the Urban Institute, in the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Center and Housing Finance Policy Center, broadly focused on issues of affordable housing and education in Washington, DC. While there she also helped foster the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, a network working to advance the effective and equitable use of data across government, civil society groups, and academia.
Students in this course will explore the spatial aspects of inequality, including racial segregation, concentrated poverty, and government structure. Course materials will investigate the consequences of these inequalities for individuals, communities, and American society as a whole, as well as how these seemingly-intractable problems were created by and continue because of public policy decisions. This course will be an interactive experience, requiring preparation before coming to class and active exchange during class.
The intertwined public health, economic, social and political crises facing cities have brought renewed attention to entrenched racial inequality and oppression in the United States, particularly anti-Black racism. Students in this course will develop a critical understanding of causes and consequences of racial inequality in America with a focus on spatial inequality, racial segregation, and concentrated poverty in cities. We will start by contextualizing the current political moment with an exploration of the role public policy played in creating and perpetuating urban inequality. We will then focus on the continued consequences of spatial inequality and racial segregation on individual and community well-being and the significance for contemporary policy issues, spanning political representation and voting rights, to gentrification and displacement, policing, and inequality in access to quality education, healthy neighborhoods, and employment. We conclude with the visions for a more just and equitable future articulated by activists, scholars, and front-line community groups. This course will draw on classic academic materials on American urban history, contemporary research, multimedia such as podcasts and music, and investigative and data journalism.