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Deirdre Oakley

Associate Professor & Director of Undergraduate Studies

Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2003
Urban and Community, race, inequality, GIS and Spatial Analysis
1057 General Classroom Building
(404) 413-6511

Research and Teaching Interests

Dr Oakley’s research focuses primarily on how social disadvantages, often created or reinforced by urban policy choices, are compounded by geographic space. She focuses on three distinct but interrelated areas: (1) homelessness and affiliated questions concerning government-assisted housing and service provision; (2) geographically-based economic development efforts targeting distressed inner-city communities; and (3) unequal public education opportunities rooted in the pervasive segregation that prevents younger generations from escaping poverty. She is a member of the Department’s Race and Urban concentration.

Since 2008 she has been collaborating with Drs Reid and Ruel on two complementary NIH and NSF-funded projects examining the impact of public housing elimination in Atlanta. Their study is following over 350 public housing residents through pre- and post-relocation. The overall goal is to get comprehensive documentation using a number of methods concerning the impact of relocation over time. This includes examining the built environment and social contexts of destination neighborhoods, as well as the former public housing residents’ perceptions. The study has an undergraduate internship program where Sociology majors can get hands-on research experience.

Drs Oakley, Reid and Ruel began a smaller scale project in Galveston, TX in 2010. In 2008 Hurricane Ike destroyed most of the city’s public housing. But unlike New Orleans, Galveston is rebuilding all of it, a decision that has become politically contested.

Dr Oakley is also the Editor of Social Shutter, a photo essay blog about community and urban life. Social Shutter is a collaborative effort with Sociology graduate students Angie Luvara and Chandra Ward.

Deirdre Oakley
Deirdre Oakley