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Shania Santana

Shania Santana

Photo of Shania Santana

About

Pronouns: She/Her

Why I'm majoring in Urban Studies: 

I am majoring in urban studies because it gave me the opportunity to bring my whole self into the classroom. Urban studies is an interdisciplinary program and has the flexibility to allow me to incorporate all of my interests into my major-- my love for cities, environmental justice, education, housing, transportation, neighborhood change, art, community, public health, and more. Furthermore, in my urban studies classes and activities, my lived experiences are respected, valued, and welcomed by my peers and my teachers. The content in the major is incredibly relevant and important to understanding how cities got to where they are today. I am an urban studies major because to me, urban studies is the way in which I learn how to address social injustice and be equipped with the understanding to then actually do my part.

What I like best about Urban Studies

Definitely all the people! Everyone in the urban studies program is incredibly supportive, excited to change the world, and passionate about everything they’re involved in. My peers involved in the urban studies program are some of the sweetest, most genuine and caring individuals I’ve met. I also loved doing the Stanford in New York off campus program in the fall quarter of my junior year, the theme was: The Arts, Architecture, Design and Urban Studies, and it was probably one of the best experiences I’ve had while at Stanford.

Since you are pursuing an honor thesis, tell us about it: 

My thesis will explore the process of community-led urban planning in Chicago, Illinois, identifies the community institutions leading these efforts, and investigates if collaboration between community institutions and urban planners is a key aspect of community-led urban planning. Recently, neighborhoods across Chicago have experienced physical and social change due to urban revitalization, city politics, violence, gentrification, and population change among other things. However, the narrative of these changes center improvement efforts made by city officials and overlook efforts led by community organizations and local stakeholders. Therefore, using a combination of case studies of particular community organizations and interviews with members of those organizations and with city urban planners, I seek to understand the process and narratives of community-led urban planning in Chicago. I believe that understanding this process can lead to an understanding of how we can repair and restore marginalized neighborhoods.

Career goal / Future plans: 

One of my goals is to obtain a master’s in urban and regional planning because I will be an urban planner one day. I will learn how to use urban planning for liberation and community empowerment. In the future, I will pursue all that brings me happiness and growth.

Fun fact about you: 

A fun fact about me is that I make too many specific movie references in conversations with friends. Also, I have a cat named Pipette and a dog named Kiwi and I love them both.