Professor explores urban issues in the world's most conflicted cities
Urban planning and policy expert Scott Bollens, respected for his research in the world's most conflicted and chaotic regions, will assume UCI's endowed chair dedicated to researching pathways to peace and international cooperation on July 1.
The Drew, Chace, and Erin Warmington Chair in the Social Ecology of Peace and International Cooperation was created in 1989 by a donation from Robert and Lori Warmington of Corona del Mar, and was named for their three children. Bollens, who has taught at UCI since 1991, is the second faculty member to hold the post.
In the course of his research, Bollens has traveled the globe interviewing more than 220 urban professionals in places such as Jerusalem, Belfast, Johannesburg, Sarajevo and Spain's Basque region.
"Scott Bollens' research has produced important insights into the significant connections that can be made between urban planning and the amelioration of conflict," said C. Ronald Huff, dean of social ecology. "His appointment as Warmington Chair will enable him to continue efforts to better understand conflicts in cities around the world and identify methods to encourage their peaceful resolution."
Bollens' work explores how major international conflicts influence local land development, and the provision and location of housing, community facilities and cultural resources. In some cases, one area of the city is well-maintained and functioning, while another area - perhaps where an ethnic, political or religious minority lives - is in disrepair and lacks basic services. Bollens has found that city planners play a significant role in exacerbating or helping to overcome major inter-group conflicts. Thus, the city is not only affected by, but can influence, the magnitude and manifestations of nationalistic conflict.
"I'm thrilled about this opportunity to further my research," said Bollens, a professor of planning, policy and design. "Whether we're talking about Baghdad, Jerusalem or Santa Ana, it's essential to understand how local government can help or hinder peaceful relationships between ethnic groups."
This spring, Bollens published Cities, Nationalism, and Democratization (Routledge Press), which helps explain why some cities in conflict-ridden regions emerge as bastions of peace and stability while others do not. It is the third in his series of books about cities in Western and Southern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
He has consulted and given presentations around the world, including in Austria, Spain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, South Africa, Israel, Palestine, Sweden, Canada and England.
Bollens succeeds Helen Ingram, who is retiring this summer.
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