About Me

I am an urban sociologist who studies urban development, urban form, and inequality, with a particular focus on racial-spatial inequality. In my work, I examine the socio-spatial processes that contribute to inequality through urban growth, governmental planning decisions, environmental issues, and demographic changes.

Empirically, I have often focused on the social spaces of urban life, including public spaces, parks and other green spaces, and sites of commemoration. Drawing on research from cases such as New York’s High Line, Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park, and Chicago’s Washington and Jackson Parks, I have published extensively on the historical and contemporary dynamics of the production of urban space.

Theoretically, I aim to contribute to urban sociology, the sociology of race, and critical urban studies in three primary ways. First, my work draws attention to the ways that race should be incorporated within theories of urbanization. This work involves developing links between critical urban theory and critical race theory as well as critically examining the historical development of urban theory and the marginalization of the ideas of WEB Du Bois and other scholars of color. Second, my work critiques the unequal impacts of contemporary urban development, examining the ways that contemporary urban policies and ideologies exacerbate socio-spatial disparities. Third, my work attempts to reframe understandings of urban-environmental relationships through a reconsideration of nature’s socially constructed place in urban life.

I received my PhD in Sociology from Northwestern University in 2017. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Rice University. You can contact me at k.loughran@rice.edu.