Junfeng Jiao

Assistant Professor

Junfeng Jiao is an assistant professor in the Community and Regional Planning program and founding director of Urban Information Lab at UTSOA. He received his PhD in Urban Design and Planning from the University of Washington.  

His research focuses on using information technologies (GIS, GPS, Drone, smart phone, social media, wearable devices, etc) to quantify built environments and understand its impact on people’s behaviour (e.g. travel, physical, eating etc) and its health consequence. Specifically, he is interested in understanding how people react and reflect the built environments where they live, work, and play. He has investigated how built environments affect people's access to grocery stores, transit facilities, and bicycle infrastructures, and how people describe cities in cyber space through Twitter. He firstly coined the term of Transit Desert and developed various measurement methods. His intensive research on Transit and Food Deserts were widely reported by the Associated Press, Yahoo, MSN, NBC, NPR, USA today, Finance and Commerce, City Lab, The Conversation, Chicago Tribute, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, Seattle Times, Seattle Met, Dallas News, Houston Chronicle, Austin Statesman, Texas Tribune, Wired etc.

He has worked on projects funded by the NIH, USDOT, UT Austin, Intel, WSDOT, RWJF, and others.  These works have been published in journals like Journal of Urban Planning and Development, Journal of Urban Design, Journal of Urban Technology, Land Use Policy, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Transport and Land Use, and Journal of Public Transportation etc.  He is the co-chair for Analytical Methods & Computer Applications track at the ACSP conference and on the editorial board of Transportation Research Part D, PLOS one, and AIMS Public Health. He published six book chapters through the Springer and Routledge.

[file:owner:field_full_name]  @UTSOA

Robert Paterson

Associate Dean for Research and Operations (Interim)

Professor Paterson specializes in land use and environmental planning. He has completed over 50 projects over the past 22 years at UT-Austin (through over $6 million in sponsored research grants, contracts and awards), and was a recipient of a Faculty Fellow in Social Science Research Applied to Hazards and Disasters award through the National Science Foundation. Recent and on-going research projects include grants and contracts with Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Meadows Foundation. Professor Paterson teaches graduate level courses in Sustainable Land Use Planning, Environmental Impact Assessment, Sustainable and Disaster Resilient City Planning, and Plan Implementation. 

Paterson is active in professional planning practice within Texas, providing multiple opportunities for professional development seminars and conferences for Texas APA planners. He has served on numerous state and regional planning advisory boards and task forces, the Texas APA Board as Awards Chair and Education Foundation member. He has been the recipient of the School of Architecture’s Outstanding Lecturer and Community Service awards.

Presentations at academic and professional conferences in the past three years include: The National Conference of the American Planning Association,  the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Conference, National Partners for Smart Growth Conference, and the Association of European Schools of Planning Congress.

Dr. Paterson’s three most recent research projects are focused on better metrics for Scenario Planning for Sustainable Communities, Scenario Planning for Disaster Resilience, and Plan Implementation theory and practice.

 Places Project access at:



Greg Griffin

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Greg's research explores crowdsourcing for participatory planning, particularly through cases in sustainable transportation and health. Currently, ​he is a Ph.D. candidate and member of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture's Urban Information Lab working on his dissertation, called "Sociotechnical Co-production of Planning Information: Opportunities and Limits of Crowdsourcing for the Geography and Planning of Bicycle Transportation". He also works as a researcher with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, leading projects such as Street Noise Relationship to Vulnerable Road User Safety.

Previously, Greg worked as a state park planner and regional transportation planner, and taught Transportation Systems at Texas State University. Greg is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, bicycles whenever possible, and sometimes tweets @gregpgriffin.


Louis Alcorn

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Louis Gerald Alcorn is a graduate student in the Community and Regional Planning (CRP) program at the University of Texas at Austin, pursuing a dual degree in Transportation Engineering. Prior to attenidng UT Austin, Mr. Alcorn worked as a transit service planner for Austin's public transit provider, Capital Metro and previously as a financial analyst at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). In his professional experience, he focused on finding creative solutions to enhance coordination efforts across departmental/agency lines through the establishment of partnerships and working groups. He has a passionate drive to improve safe and accessible mobility options through data-driven prioritization of space-efficient travel modes.

Mr. Alcorn's current research within the School of Architecture's Urban Information Lab (UIL) focuses on analyzing origin-destination bicycle-share system data in Austin, Houston and San Antonio with a lens of relating station location popularity with the surrounding built environment and transit density/connectivity.  

Favorite Quote: "A developed country is not a place where the poor have is where the rich use public transportation." - Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia


Christopher Bischak

Graduate Research Assistant

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Chris is a current Master's of Community Planning student. He grew up in Alexandria, Virginia and graduated from T.C. Williams High School. In 2014 he recieved his bachelor's degree from The University of Virginia with a double major in Environmental Science and History. Prior to coming to the University of Texas he was science teacher with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. His current focus in the Urban Information Lab is on GIS based transportation analysis concerning transportation deserts and gaps in public transportation systems.


Jianwei Chen

Graduate Research Assistant

Jianwei Chen is currently pursuing his master degree in Computer Science in University of Texas at Austin. Prior to that, he received his bachelor degree in Civil Engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
Jianwei is currently a graduate research assistant at the Urban Information Lab trying to help understand the different patterns of bike share services in US cities, he believes technologies like data mining and machine learning could add more insights to moder urban planning research.


Nicole McGrath

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Nicole McGrath is a graduate student in the Community and Regional Planning (CRP) program and a Graduate School Mentor Fellow. 

Prior to attending UT Austin, Nicole spent 3 years working as an Air Transportation Specialist based in McMurdo Station, Antarctica, coordinating the movement of cargo between the station and remote polar field camps. In between deployments, she worked for her hometown's planning department in South Florida. Nicole is currently part of UT's Urban Information Lab and her research interests focus on making public transit more equitable and accessible. When she's not working, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and watching Game of Thrones with her husband and 2 cats. 



Hao Wu

Visiting Researcher/Scholar

Hao Wu is now a visiting PhD student in UTSOA. He is pursuing his doctoral degree in urban design in Tongji University in China. Prior to that, he got his bachelor and master degrees of architecture, from Qingdao Tech University and Chongqing University in China respectively.

His current research focuses on the inclusive urban design, especially the walkable neighborhood environments for older adults’ walking activities. By investigating people’s travel behaviors in Shanghai, China, he found it is indispensable to pay more attention to the walkable environments for elder people with limitations like hearing loss, vision impairment and physical declines. He believes that urban designers should spare no efforts on making up an inclusive city environment.




Jackson Archer

Jackson received his B.A in Government from UT Austin in 2012. As an undergrad, he worked for the university's bicycle program, and saw it grow into what it is today. Jackson has worked for the Center for Transportation Research (CTR) at UT Austin for the past 3 years, where he has focused on network modeling and traffic simulation. At CTR, he has been a part of numerous applications in the city of Austin, including she SH 45 SW study, the Mobility35 study, and the Drag Transit Relocation study. Jackson is focusing his graduate work on bike and transit mapping applications and data visualization.


Nathalie Kip

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Nathalie received her B.S. degree in Architecture and recently graduated with her M.S. in Community and Regional Planning from The University of Texas.

Her undergraduate research includes a study on the relationship between transportation and sustainable development, which was presented in poster format at Spaces and Flows: Fourth International Conference on Urban and ExtraUrban Studies at the University of Amsterdam in November of 2013. 

Her master's thesis research focused on determining the impact that Austin's first comprehensive watershed protection ordinance had on mitigating the negative impacts of land development on stream health in the city. 

For more information on her design and research experience, please visit her website

Tatum Lau  @UTSOA

Tatum Lau

Tatum is interested in the capacity for public space and infrastructure to be tools for political engagement and ecological transformation.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and a Masters in Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources from London Metropolitan University. She has a broad range of experience having worked in architectural research and publishing and the non-profit sector in Johannesburg.  She moved to the UK to focus on affordable housing and taught at the University of Bedfordshire.  Tatum has returned to graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin and is completing a dual degree in Urban Design and Community and Regional Planning in order to pursue a career as an urban practitioner and educator.


Zachary Lofton

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Zack Lofton graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration from Louisiana State University. After completing his undergraduate studies, he worked in New Orleans, LA to help senior citizens and people with disabilities obtain affordable and ADA accessible housing subsidies. At the Urban Information Lab, he is the researcher for the Green Fee-supported Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Study and Implementation Plan. He has also been a graduate research assistant with UT-Austin’s Center for Transportation Research examining the potential for autonomous vehicles. Zack is focusing his graduate studies on public and active transportation as it relates to equity and livability. 


Akik Patel

Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning

Akik received his undergraduate degree in Urban Planning from the Center for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT University), India. During his undergraduate studies, he interned at various organizations such as an academic institution, transportation consultancy and private firm that dealt with research on topics like transportation and climate change. This set of experiences solidified his interest in the nexus between land-use, transportation and climate change. His bachelors’ thesis was on the study of “Impacts of public transportation on air quality (PM2.5, CO2 and NOX) through the case study of BRTS (Bus Rapid Transit Service) in Ahmedabad. Akik is focusing his graduate studies on integrating transportation and public health using tools like GIS and TransCAD. He wishes to study and support the communities that are facing challenges caused due to transformation of their built environment.


Miles Payton

Master of Landscape Architecture First Professional


Susan Sharp

Susan Sharp comes to UTSOA after receiving a BA in Geography from Clark University and working for several years in transportation and environment. Professionally, Susan's work has focused on mobile emissions reduction projects, carsharing, and writing assignments spanning from grant writing to ghostwriting. In addition to pursuing two Master's degrees from The University of Texas, she works as a graduate research assistant in the Center for Sustainable Development. She will graduate in 2017 with a MS in Sustainable Design and an MS in Community and Regional Planning.


Juan Yunda

Ph.D. in Community and Regional Planning

Juan is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin in the program Community and Regional Planning. He has an undergraduate degree in architecture from the National University of Colombia and a joint master degree in urban design and planning from Bauhaus-Weimar University and Tongji University in Shanghai. For his M.Sc., he conducted research on the subject of urban redevelopment forms and their social impacts in the city of Xiamen, China. During his time in Europe, he participated in research projects focused on airport regions and urban revitalization, and as practitioner, he worked on urban design and architecture projects in China, Spain, Bulgaria and Germany. In Colombia, he has been conducting research and teaching in architecture and urban design at the Pilot University in Bogota. In addition he has worked as urban planning consultant for both public and private entities on transportation, affordable housing and zoning codes. He has been awarded grants and distinctions for his academic research by the Colombian Ministry of Education, Colombian Science and Technology Department, the Colombian Architects Society, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Institute for European Urban Studies and the Fulbright Commission. Juan's research interests include sustainable urban design, urban morphology, socio-spatial segregation and informal settlements in Latin America.