Justin’s research focuses on the intersection of law and urban policy, particularly as they relate to social stratification and spatial dimensions of inequality. In recent publications, he has explored the relationship between space, power, and inequality in the context of immigration federalism, residential segregation, lending discrimination, environmental justice, and mass incarceration. Both an urban planner and a lawyer, Justin clerked for federal trial and appellate judges where he worked on civil and criminal cases in wide variety of areas, from civil rights to national security, from financial regulation to environmental protection. Before graduate school, Justin worked as a community-based planner for an environmental justice organization focusing on brownfield redevelopment, as the advocacy director for a non-profit fighting predatory lending practices, as the program manager for a project bringing youth and prisoners into critical dialogues about justice, and of the trainer for a domestic violence crisis center instructing police in Ciudad Juárez how to support of survivors of sexual assault. Building on his book chapter, “Can the just city be built from below: brownfields, planning, and power in the South Bronx,” Justin is currently working on a project that examines the extent to which New York State’s Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) program reconfigured the organizational networks of community-based environmental justice organizations and community development corporations that received brownfield planning grants. For each BOA grant recipient, the analysis compares the composition and structure of the recipient’s partner organizations in the BOA program with the composition and structure of that recipient’s network outside of the program. In so doing, it seeks to estimate the network effects of the policy, highlighting the role of different types of brokerage. It also uses qualitative data gathered from semi-structured, open-ended interviews within the organizations to contextualize the network findings. Justin’s other projects include work on local government responses to immigration, research on the effect of contemporary racial residential segregation on socio-economic outcomes for native-born young adults, investigation of the mechanisms of racial discrimination in mortgage lending, and historical analysis of early 20th century racial zoning laws and their impact.
Dr. Justin Steil