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Claire Cahen

Assistant Professor, Urban Affairs & Planning (UAP)
Dr. Claire Cahen posing for a photo in front of the Graduate Life Center.
140 Otey Street, Blacksburg, VA 24061

Claire Cahen (she/ her/ hers) is an Assistant Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech. Her research interests center on urban austerity, community development, labor, and racial justice. Her current project examines how parents, students, and teachers negotiate cuts to public education in Newark, N.J. More broadly, it asks: in the post-2008 conjuncture, how is austerity normalized and how is it contested? Dr. Cahen has published in a range of social science journals, including Labor Relations, Antipode, City and Community, Metropolitiques, and Housing Studies. She has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses, including “Multicultural Cities” and a course on the "Psychologies of People in Place: From Climate Change to Gentrification."

Ph.D. in Environmental Psychology, The Graduate Center at CUNY, 2022

M.Phil in Environmental Psychology, The Graduate Center at CUNY, 2019

B.A. in English, Pomona College, 2011

Journal Articles

Cahen, C. (2022). Between entrapment and freedom: Race and the governance of neoliberal school reform in Newark, NJ. Race, Ethnicity and the City. Under review.

Cahen, C. Teacher unionism and the bargain for the common good. Metropolitics, 6 July 2021. URL:

Cahen, C., Lilli, E., and Saegert, S. (2020). Ethical action in the age of austerity: Cases of care in two community land trusts. Housing Studies. doi: 10.1080/02673037.2020.1807472.

Cahen, C., Schneider, J., and Saegert, S. (2019). Victories from insurgency: Re-negotiating housing and citizenship at the margins. Antipode, 51: 1416-1435. doi:10.1111/anti.12558

Cahen, C. (2019). Does individualizing the labor contract hurt women? Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 58: 317-375.


Book Chapters

Schneider, J., Cahen, C. and Saegert, S. (2017). Formations of participation: The pathways of emergent  community land trusts. In: R. A. Hays (ed.), Neighborhood Change and Neighborhood Action: The Struggle to Create Neighborhoods that Serve Human Needs (49-91). Maryland: Lexington Books.


Other Creative Works

Wang, R., Cahen, C., Acolin, A., and Walter, R. J. (2019). Tracking Growth And Evaluating Performance Of Shared Equity Homeownership Programs During Housing Market Fluctuations. Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Accessible at:


Cahen, C., Saegert, S., and Schneider, J. (2018). Interrupting Inequality through Community Control of Land. Shelterforce (Special Issue), Spring 2018, Accessible at:

  • Urban austerity
  • Neoliberalism
  • Community development
  • Racial justice
  • Labor
  • Urban Affairs Association member
  • American Association of Geographers member
  • The Racial Imaginary Institute fellow

Fellow with the Center for Humanities, Virginia Tech (2022)

Doctoral Research Initiative Award, The Graduate Center, CUNY (2020)

Marilyn Gittell Doctoral Research Award in Urban Studies, The Graduate Center, CUNY (2017)

Edna Thompson Prize in Undergraduate Writing, Pomona College (2011)

Phi Beta Kappa Graduate Studies Award, Pomona College (2011)

Center for Rural Education Seed Grant (PI Claire Cahen, Co-PI Rebecca J. Hester, $6,000)

CPSVP Pathways to Peace Grant (PI Rebecca J. Hester, Co-PI Claire Cahen, $14,063)

New Faculty Mentoring Grant ($1500)