Laura Schmahmann

laura.schmahmann at

PhD Candidate
City and Regional Planning
University of California Berkeley
United States

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Welcome! I am a PhD Candidate within the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. My research fields include economic geography (specifically the location of industries and agglomeration economies) and the political economy of local and regional economic development. I am interested in understanding both inter- and intra-regional inequality and how it is shaped by the geography of jobs.

My dissertation explores the political economy of warehouse development across California, through a mixed-methods cross-comparative study of two regional economies, the Inland Empire and North San Joaquin Valley. At the local level, my analysis focuses on land use politics in several cities where there is a concentration of warehouses. At the regional level, my analysis focuses on the role of the Inland Empire and North San Joaquin Valley as e-commerce regions in the context of California and the United States.

While at UC Berkeley, I have held positions at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, in the Green Economy team and Labor-Management Partnerships team, and at the Urban Displacement Project. Before commencing my PhD, I worked as an urban planner for eight years in an economics and planning consulting firm in Australia. In that role, I managed a wide range of projects for local, state and federal governments including economic development strategies, housing studies and integrated transport and land use strategies. I hold a Bachelor of Planning (Honours Class 1) and Master of Philosophy (Planning and Urban Development) both from the University of New South Wales. My Masters research explored empirical evidence of knowledge spillovers and its role in driving firm location within two creative industry clusters in Sydney.

Image description: aerial of a neighbourhood with a large warehouse on the left adjacent to a residential community on the right, in Rialto, California. Image source: Google Earth, 2023

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