Meet the hard-working team behind Urbanism Next.
Urbanism Next Lead, SCI Co-Director, and Associate Professor | University of Oregon
Nico Larco is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Oregon and is a Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative, a nationally and internationally awarded, multidisciplinary organization that focuses on sustainability issues as they relate to the built environment. Professor Larco’s research focus includes sustainable urban design and he is the lead on SCI’s Urbanism Next Research Initiative which focuses on how technological advances are changing city form and development.
Professor Larco has received numerous national and international awards for his work and was recently a Distinguished Fulbright Scholar in Spain. He has published in journals such as the Journal of Urban Design, the Journal of Urbanism, and the Journal of Architecture and Planning Research. His work has been the subject of articles in the New York Times, Forbes, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Streetsblog, Planetizen, and the Financial Times of London. He is a licensed architect, has worked professionally in the fields of Architecture, Urban Design, Planning, and Development, and is a principal of Larco-Knudson, an urban design consulting firm.
Urbanism Next Program Manager
Becky Steckler, AICP, is the Urbanism Next Program Manager for the University of Oregon. She has over 20 years of experience in project management and land use planning. Before coming to the University of Oregon, she worked as an independent contractor for a wide array of public and nonprofit clients, most recently as the Program and Policy Manager for the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association (OAPA). Ms. Steckler worked on legislative and policy issues, trainings and events, health and planning, and communications for OAPA. Before becoming a contractor, she worked for the Department of Land Conservation and Development, ECONorthwest, and the California Coastal Commission.
Rebecca Lewis, PHD
Rebecca Lewis is an Assistant Professor in Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon and Research Director for the Sustainable Cities Initiative. She is a faculty affiliate of the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland. Her research broadly focuses on land use policy, growth management, state transportation spending, and housing in rural communities. Dr. Lewis was a 2010 Lincoln Institute of Land Policy C. Lowell Harriss Dissertation Fellow and received 2012 Barclay Gibbs Jones Award for the Best Dissertation in Planning from the American Collegiate Schools of Planning for her dissertation evaluating the efficacy of smart growth in Maryland. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of the American Planning Association, State and Local Government Review, and the American Journal of Public Health. Her research has been funded by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, the Department of Land Conservation and Development and the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy.
Benjamin Y. Clark is an assistant professor of public administration in the School of Planning, Public Policy and Management at the University of Oregon. His research focuses on autonomous vehicles, public sector crowdsourcing, 311 systems, coproduction, local government management, and budgetary/financial management. He has been an Executive Committee member of the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM) since 2013. Prior to his career in academia he worked for nearly a decade as a public servant at the local, federal, and international levels.
Professor of Business Law | University of Oregon
Roberta Mann is the Mr. & Mrs. L.L. Stewart Professor of Business Law at the University of Oregon School of Law, where she teaches courses on income tax, business entity tax, real estate tax, and tax policy. A cum laude graduate of the Arizona State University College of Law, Mann received her LLM in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center with distinction. Her scholarship focuses on sustainability and energy topics ranging from carbon taxes to the water-energy nexus. She served as the only tax lawyer on a National Academy of Sciences study panel on the greenhouse gas impact of the Internal Revenue Code. Before beginning her teaching career, Mann served on the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation and was a senior attorney at the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service. She is a member of the American College of Tax Counsel and serves on the American Bar Association Tax Section Council as Council Director.
Marc Schlossberg, PHD
Professor and Co-Director of SCI
Marc Schlossberg, PhD is a Professor of City and Regional Planning and co-director of the Sustainable Cities Initiative (SCI) at the University of Oregon. His teaching, research, and community engagement focus on sustainable transportation, livable community design, and the processes that can accelerate implementation of more sustainable policy and practice. Schlossberg is a is a two-time Distinguished Fulbright Scholar (United Kingdom, 2009-10, Israel 2015-16) and also a founding Executive Committee member of the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), one of five national University Transportation Centers in the United States. Schlossberg also co-leads the Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N), an international effort to leverage the underutilized talent and capacity of universities to accelerate societal change toward justice, sustainability, and happiness.
Executive Director | George S. Turnbull Portland Center and Agora Journalims Center
Regina G. Lawrence (PhD, University of Washington) is a professor in the School of Journalism and Communication and Executive Director of the George S. Turnbull Portland Center and the Agora Journalism Center at the University of Oregon. Her research focuses on the role of the media in public discourse about politics and policy. She has been chair of the Political Communication section of the American Political Science Association, book editor of the journal Political Communication, and a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard. Dr. Lawrence’s books include When the Press Fails: Political Power and the News Media from Iraq to Katrina (University of Chicago Press, 2007, with W. Lance Bennett and Steven Livingston), winner of the 2016 Doris A. Graber Best Book Award from the Political Communication section of the American Political Science Association, and Hillary Clinton’s Race for the White House: Gender Politics and the Media on the Campaign Trail (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2009, co-authored with Melody Rose). Her current research focuses on political reporters’ use of social media to cover presidential politics, on female candidates’ communication strategies and news coverage of women politicians, and on media and civic engagement. Her work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals including the Journal of Communication, Political Communication, Political Research Quarterly, Journalism, Journalism Studies, and International Journal of Press/Politics.
Chair in Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement | Univeristy of Oregon
DeVigal is the inaugural Chair in Journalism Innovation and Civic Engagement and the first professor of practice at the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC). The Agora Journalism Center is devoted to transformative advancements for better journalism and stronger democracy. The center energizes research, teaching and learning to foster a culture of constant innovation and diverse collaboration to serve the public good. DeVigal also served as the multimedia editor at The New York Times, where he helped guide the newspaper’s print-driven format into the multimedia era. He integrated new approaches to interactive storytelling with The Times’ long tradition of journalistic excellence to help shape the industry with techniques still in use today.
Urbanism Next Program Coordinator
Amanda Howell is the Urbanism Next Program Coordinator for the University of Oregon. She recently completed a master's in urban and regional planning at Portland State University and was the project manager for an affordable housing transportation study sponsored by the California Department of Transportation during her studies. Before moving to Portland for graduate school, Amanda provided programmatic support to the Prison University Project, a Bay Area nonprofit that operates an on-site, degree-granting program for people incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she has long been interested in the built environment and is glad to be working with Urbanism Next examining the secondary impacts that emerging technologies will have on cities.
Urbanism Next Fellow
Paige Portwood is a second year Master of Community and Regional Planning Candidate and first year Urbanism Next Fellow at the University of Oregon. Her studies predominately concentrate on Community Development, the Build Environment, and Land Use Planning. Her central research topic is focused on the impacts of e-commerce on commercial and retail land use in Eugene, Oregon. Alternatively, she is conducting a study to compile a toolkit which cities can use to properly evaluate the safest routes to school for students. Following graduation, Paige hopes to work in fields related to economic development or transportation and looks forward to applying concepts such as Smart Growth and sustainable cities as a practitioner.
Director | University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication
Donna Z. Davis joined the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication faculty in
fall 2010, where she taught in Eugene for one year before heading to Portland to teach in the
school’s Strategic Communication master’s program. She now serves as director of the program.
She brings more than 25 years’ experience in public relations, fundraising, and nonprofit
communication to the classroom, including 10 years as producer and host of Family Album Radio,
an award-winning, daily, two-minute radio program distributed through NPR; leading corporate
support efforts for the NPR and PBS affiliates at the University; and working with a number of state,
national and international environmental organizations. She also was the first working mother to
serve as State President of the Florida Public Relations Association.
Davis earned her PhD in mass communication from the University of Florida, where she studied relationship formation in 3D immersive virtual environments. Her ethnographic research continues to focus on the potential uses of virtual reality, virtual worlds, gamification, and other emerging social media, with special interest in disability communities and advocacy. She is in her third year of a grant from the National Science Foundation to study both the potential positive and/or negative effects of embodiment on the creation of life experience, relationships, identity and community in social virtual reality (see www.ourditigalselves.org ). She and her co-PI, Tom Boellstorff from UC Irvine are also exploring how the evolution of emerging VR technologies are changing those experiences.
She was also an inaugural faculty fellow for the SOJC Agora Journalism Center for Innovation and Civic Engagement, extending her work with people with Parkinson’s disease who participate in a support community in a virtual world. She also recently received Agora funding to study the role of presence and immersion in 360-degree video use on advocacy behaviors for an environmental organization.
Urbanism NExt Fellow
Steph is a graduate student in the School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management working on her Master of Community and Regional Planning degree. As an Urbanism Next Research Fellow, she is investigating the potential impacts of autonomous vehicles on active transportation and street design. Steph is also the president of LiveMove, a student group that promotes active transportation and livability. This past summer she was able to study abroad in Europe, visiting Denmark, Sweden, and the Netherlands to experience their robust bicycle infrastructure. Enthralled by her ability to reach any destination by bike or train, her goal is to create the same level of access in the United States. In her free time, Steph enjoys hiking and knitting.
Urbanism Next Fellow
Jenna Whitney is a Masters of Community and Regional Planning candidate and Urbanism Next Fellow at the University of Oregon who is interested in transportation (especially autonomous vehicles), growth management, and sustainable practices. Jenna is currently focusing her studies on how local jurisdictions can prepare for autonomous vehicles, and enjoys her pets and recreational water activities in her spare time.