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Erin Elizabeth Lilli

erindinerErin is a third-year PhD student in the Environmental Psychology program at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and holds a Master of Architecture and a Master of Science in Architecture with an emphasis on Sustainable Design from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Prior to joining the GC community, Erin worked as an independent architectural/graphic designer and architectural marketing coordinator for an international design firm. In addition, Erin’s interest in socially just design led her to numerous volunteer projects including those with the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of Architecture for Humanity of which she was a co-coordinator.

Erin is currently finishing research on neighborhood change in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn drawing on relational social politics and the relational place making model to identify tactics that constitute – the often conflicting and contradictory – political, economic, and material aspects of Bay Ridge’s neighborhood identity. Also, Erin is working with Claire Cahen and Susan Saegert co-authoring an article on the successes and challenges for two Community Land Trusts.

In addition to her own research pursuits, Erin is a teaching assistant in Urban Studies at Queens College and works in CUNY’s Center for Human Environments in three capacities: as a research assistant for a nationally funded project with the Housing Environments Research Group studying the impacts of Community Land Trusts on disrupting inequalities;  as a co-founder and member of the User Design Information Group currently developing research to study contemporary models of social science praxis in design firms; and as a Research Associate for the Public Space Research Group where she is working with Setha Low and Troy Simpson on a literature review for the Center for the Future of Places, funded by the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.

When she has the time and energy to revive some hobbies, they would include painting, figure drawing, reading, and a little classical guitar. Erin is also a fan of flea markets, antique stores and second hand clothes.

Research Interests: gentrification, neighborhood change, relational social politics, place identity, political economy of place, affordable housing, community land trusts, community struggle


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 Supported by the CUNY Doctoral Students Council.