Student Spotlight: Atticus Jaramillo
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Atticus Jaramillo is a Research Associate the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies and a doctoral student in the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At CURS, he assists with evaluations of the Charlotte Housing Authority’s Move to Work and Jobs Plus Programs. His research focuses on how housing and community development policies shape adolescent’s life-course trajectory and, more broadly, the relationship between urban planning and social inequality.

Before moving to North Carolina, Atticus worked as a researcher for housing and community development organizations in the Twin Cities region including Minnesota Housing Partnership, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, and the University of Minnesota Extension. He received a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.

Here’s more from our conversation with Atticus:

Q: Which ACSP member school do you attend?
A: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Q: What specialty are you studying?
A: Housing and Community Development

Q: Why did you select your particular specialty?
A: I first became interested in urban planning after taking an undergraduate course in environmental history. This course not only sparked my interest in how cities reflect social and political history but also how the built environment can be a mechanism of disadvantage. When I continued to graduate school, I discovered that the housing and community development specialization provided me with the unique opportunity to explore my interests and, perhaps more importantly, learn about policy tools for addressing issues such as neighborhood disadvantage and housing affordability.

Q: Do you have a current job or internship in your specialty?
A: Yes. I currently work as a research associate for the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies.

Q: Is there a particular class or professor that has made a great impact on you? How so?
A: While I've taken many fascinating courses, one course that had a particular impact on me was Dr. Ryan Allen's course "Immigrants, Urban Planning, and Policymaking in the US." This course gave me the opportunity to learn about the distinct difficulties that immigrants face to integrating into the social and economic fabric of cities and, in doing so, introduced me to my current research interest in how housing and community development policies shape systems of disadvantage in US cities.

Q: What's your favorite project you’ve worked on, in class or in practice?
A: As a research associate at the Minnesota Housing Partnership, I had the opportunity to work on a project that examined the potential impact of apartment sales on Twin Cities' unsubsidized affordable housing stock. This is one of my favorite projects because it gave me the opportunity to work with many different actors in the Twin Cities affordable housing community and learn more about the private rental housing market.

Q: What future goals do you have in your field?
A: I hope to work as a planning faculty member, or pursue some other research-oriented career. Ultimately, my goal is to find a job that allows me to pursue my research interests and help communities develop better solutions for addressing housing issues.

Q: How has planning school changed your daily habits?
A: Like most planners, I try to drive less and walk/bike/take transit more often. I also try to get more involved in my community and support innovative development projects.

Q: What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A: A teacher.

Q: How many different cities have you lived in and which was your favorite?
A: Five. I'm going to say St. Paul just because everyone from Minneapolis always makes fun of St. Paul.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
A: There are a lot of places I'd like to go, but L.A. is at the top of my list right now. I just want really good street food.

Q: What is the title of the last book you read? What did you learn from it?
A: The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness by Rebecca Solnit. I learned that revolution is the culmination of a million little acts.

Q: What’s your favorite color and how would you creatively incorporate it into a planning project?
A: I like pale blue. Maybe that could be the new standard color for "high-density residential" on landuse maps.

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