Urban Studies Director and Professor Ali Modarres has been awarded a 2018 Livable Community Award by Futurewise. The Seattle-based non-profit works with communities across Washington to “implement effective land use planning and policies that prevent waste and stop sprawl, provide efficient transportation choices, create affordable housing and strong local businesses, and ensure healthy natural systems.”
Futurewise named Modarres its 2018 Community Champion. A statement on the organization’s website reads: “There are few land-use and transportation leaders in Pierce County who have not worked with or been influenced by the work of Ali Modarres.”
Futurewise referenced The South Sound Alliance (SSA) as a reason why it chose Modarres as this year’s community champion. The SSA is a leadership council made up of cities and towns in Pierce County and South King County. It is a regional collaborative, focusing on data-driven strategies that help create and sustain healthier communities, an improved environment, and an innovative and thriving economy. UW Tacoma is an institutional partner in this process and provides some of the data analytics and research that participating jurisdictions require.
Modarres specializes in urban geography and has written published works across a range of disciplines including social geography, immigration, urban development and planning policy. He serves on a number of research and policy advisory boards including the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and City of Tacoma’s Affordable Housing Technical Advisory Group. Modarres served as the editor-in-chief for Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning for eight years and currently serves on the editorial boards of three academic journals.
Modarres came to UW Tacoma from California State University, Los Angeles in 2013. He is a strong advocate for the university and the community at large. “If teaching at a public university is an act of social justice, collaborating with communities and participating in the co-production of knowledge is a natural continuation of that practice,” said Modarres. “To be a dedicated public scholar is to be a community champion. Receiving rewards for that is, indeed, a humbling experience. I can think of many other colleagues who deserve this recognition. Some more than I do.”
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org