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About Lisa K. Bates

Lisa K. Bates, PhD is Professor in the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning at Portland State University and is a Portland Professor in Innovative Housing Policy. She is also affiliated with PSU’s Black Studies department. Her scholarship focuses on housing and community development policy and planning, and her research and practice aims to build new models for emancipatory planning practices and to dismantle institutional racism. Recognition of her work includes the 2019 UAA-SAGE Marilyn J. Gittell Activist Scholar Award and the 2016 Dale Prize for scholarship advancing community self-determination and racial justice. 

Dr. Bates’ work includes deep engagements with community-based organizations working towards racial justice and housing rights and supporting Portland’s anti-displacement coalition. She also has an advisory partnership with local government partners including research, planning, and policy formulation and evaluation. Her work to describe gentrification and displacement in Portland has been widely cited and used as a model for planning to address neighborhood change. She is currently collaborating with Dr. Amie Thurber to evaluate Portland’s ground-breaking policy to support housing opportunities for families displaced over multiple generations of urban renewal.   

Dr. Bates is a 2019 Creative Capital awardee, recognizing her practice at the intersection of art, urban planning, and radical geographic thought. Through collaboration with multimedia artists, the works ask us to develop new visions of Black history, present, and possibility. This radical Black spatial imaginary practice includes the Portland African-American Leadership Forum People’s Plan, which asked “what would it be like if your city, neighborhood, community loved Black people?” and the art exhibition and social emergency response center HERE|Humboldt, developed as part of the collective Black Life Experiential Research Group. 

Her B.A. is in Political Science from the George Washington University, and she holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to joining PSU’s faculty, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Present Associate Professor, Portland State University Urban Studies and Planning
Present Director, Portland State University Center for Urban Studies
Fellow, Portland State University Institute for Sustainable Solutions

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Dale Prize for Excellence in Scholarship in Urban Planning

Contact Information

Urban Center 370E


Journal Articles (15)

Contributions to Books (8)

Reports (16)