Research Team

Armin Akhavan

PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering, Northeastern University

armin.akhavan@gmail.com

Armin Akhavan is a city and regional planner, spatial analyst, and information design and visualization specialist. Armin researches urban planning problems through analysis of spatial data, where he translates information into arguments through models, comparisons, visualizations, and maps. His work spans diverse platforms which include web- application development, scraping web data, data sonification, and database development. Before joining the Urban Informatics Lab at Northeastern, Armin worked at MIT’s Center for Advanced Urbanism, MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy and Boston Area Research Initiative. After receiving an undergraduate degree in planning from Tehran, Iran, Armin received a Masters in Urban and Regional Policy, and is working to get an MFA in Information Design and Visualization, and is a candidate for a PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering at Northeastern University .

Edgar Castro

BS in Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University

castro.ed@husky.neu.edu

Edgar is a research assistant working as a programmer and system administrator for the Urban Informatics and Resilience Lab at Northeastern University. Works on creating visualizations; scraping and aggregating geospatial data; maintaining lab servers, cloud machines, and databases; and creating and using tools to assess the ease of movement of people through cities under different scenarios.

Alex Ciomek

PhD in Sociology, Harvard University

ciomek@fas.harvard.edu

Alexandra Ciomek is a Ph.D candidate in the Sociology Department at Harvard University broadly interested in urban neighborhoods, public safety, and crime prevention. At BARI, she works to better understand the city and the use of its services through work on various data sets from the Boston Neighborhood Survey to 911 calls. For her dissertation, Ciomek is studying the social networks of gang members and how they change across space and time.

Sarina Dass

B.S. in Data Science, Northeastern University

dass.s@husky.neu.edu

Sarina Dass is a third-year undergraduate interested in the intersection of data science and urban policy. As a research assistant at BARI, Sarina has analyzed housing data, worked with geographical infrastructure data, and created models to examine patterns and disparities in school choice data.

Talia Kaufmann

PhD in Public Policy, Resident Doctoral Fellow at Network Science Institute, Northeastern University

talia.kaufmann@gmail.com

Talia Kaufmann is a PhD student in Public Policy and a Resident doctoral fellow at the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University. Her research is devoted to planning cities with data by deploying quantitative analysis methods in the practice of city planning. Talia’s current research is a collaboration with The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to measure accessibility to services in cities across the world with the goal of creating a ranking of cities by the level of accessibility they provide to their residents. Talia holds a Master’s degree in City Planning from MIT and a B.Arch from Tel-Aviv University. Before joining MIT, Talia served as a city planner and a planning information manager at the Tel Aviv-Yafo City Planning Department in Israel.

Justin de Benedictis-Kessner

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Boston Area Research Initiative

j.debenedictis-kessner@northeastern.edu

Justin is a political scientist who focuses on political behavior, public policy, urban politics, and experimental and quantitative methodology. His research examines how citizens hold government accountable, and how psychology, communication, and electoral institutions can subvert their ability to do so. Justin received his PhD from the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his B.A. in Government and Psychology from the College of William & Mary.

Brian Levy

Postdoctoral Fellow in Sociology, Harvard University

blevy@fas.harvard.edu

Brian Levy holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. His research investigates how people sort into neighborhoods, implications of segregation for life chances, and neighborhood effects on socioeconomic outcomes.

Saina Sheini

PhD in Public Policy, Northeastern University

sheinimehrabzadeh.s@husky.neu.edu

Saina is a PhD candidate in public policy. She is interested in discovering the underlying patterns of urbanization and development along with urban sustainability and resilience. She has done research on the resilience of the energy and transport sectors in the metro-Boston region under normal operating conditions and in light of a shock to these sectors, such as an extreme weather event, developing a network that captures how various agencies and other entities interact with each other. She is now helping to develop a social media-based methodology for measuring and observing the social resilience of communities.

Mike Shields

PhD in Sociology, Northeastern University

shields.mi@husky.neu.edu

Mike is a Sociology Ph.D. candidate who serves as a research assistant at the Boston Area Research Initiative. Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Mike retains a passion for “everything urban” and enjoys exploring and understanding the social fabric of urban living. Mike currently conducts research on gentrification, neighborhood change, urban sustainability, and “big data” in the social sciences.

Riley Tucker

PhD in Criminology, Northeastern University

tucker.r@husky.neu.edu