Nazanin Ghaffari holds a Ph.D. in urban planning and public policy from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is interested in navigating disciplinary terrain in urban planning, public administration, feminist geography, and social anthropology to highlight the racialized, classed, gendered, and sexualized blind spots and biases found within conceptualizations of public spaces. Her research concerns inclusionary and/or exclusionary strategies incorporated by signature public spaces governance regimes through design, programming, policing, and management processes. She also investigates how design and planning empower historically marginalized communities through artistic interventions and bottom-up innovations to advance social, racial, and climate justice. Trained as an architect, urban designer, and urban planner, Nazanin has over a decade of professional experience with the United Nations Development Programme, UN-Habitat Mitigation Office, Asia-Pacific Slum Upgrading Working Group, Tehran Municipality Research Center, private design firms, grassroots and community organizations in the Middle East and North Texas.
Ghaffari works with the Rebuild Foundation, an artist-led, neighborhood-based cultural organization on the South Side of Chicago. Ghaffari studies how the Rebuild Foundation has and could use its physical space and location to strengthen its community, serve as a voice for the community, and help the community reverse the effects of discriminatory practices that have long acted against it.