Planning professor, guests discuss what planners do in podcast series

Listen to Yu Xiao’s podcast series.

When Yu Xiao, an associate professor at Texas A&M, tells people she studies and teaches urban planning, they often ask her “What is that?”

She aims to tell the public what urban planning is, and how planners’ work affects the built environment and society in “Planning and Design,” a podcast she hosts featuring interviews with professional planners, planning faculty and students.

In a podcast episode, Phil Berke, Texas A&M professor of urban planning, discusses a scorecard he helped develop that helps city planners assess whether a community’s hazard plans actually target areas most vulnerable to natural hazards such as floods or hurricanes.

In another episode, Tyree Finley, a Master of Urban Planning student, discussed how planning aids children living in low-income neighborhoods and contributes to equality in society.

The podcast is the latest planning-related project by Xiao, whose reseach focuses on economic development, hazard resiliency, and disaster management and recovery.

In a current study, Xiao is identifying factors affecting the recovery of three New York City boroughs hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, which struck in October 2012.

She and a team of researchers are examining decisions made by residential and businesses owners affected by the storm, how disaster aid policies influences these decisions, and how the relationships between policy and decision-making change over time.

This understanding, she said, is critical to effective policy design and implementation and can greatly improve a community’s natural disaster resiliency.

Xiao earned a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2008, a Master of Urban Planning degree at UIUC in 2004, a Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies and Regional Planning degree and a Bachelor of Management in Electronic Business degree at Beijing University in 2002.

posted July 21, 2016