Karen Chapple, Ph.D., is a Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. Chapple specializes in housing, community and economic development, as well as regional planning. She has most recently published on job creation on industrial land (in Economic Development Quarterly), regional governance in rural Peru (in the Journal of Rural Studies), and accessory dwelling units as a smart growth policy (in the Journal of Urbanism). Her recent book (Routledge, September 2014) is entitled Planning Sustainable Cities and Regions: Towards More Equitable Development. In Fall 2015, she launched the Urban Displacement Project, a research portal examining patterns of residential, commercial, and industrial displacement, as well as policy and planning solutions. In 2015, Chapple's work on climate change and tax policy won the UC-wide competition for the Bacon Public Lectureship, which promotes evidence-based public policy and creative thinking for the public good.
As a faculty affiliate of the Institute of Governmental Studies and the Institute for Research on Labor & Employment, Chapple is currently engaged in three research projects (totaling $1.3 million) related to sustainability planning, specifically, on residential and commercial/industrial displacement. In 2006, she founded UC Berkeley Center for Community Innovation, which has provided over $1.5 million in technical assistance to community-based organizations and government agencies. This has included research on the potential for gentrification and displacement near transit-oriented development (for the Association of Bay Area Governments); more effective planning for affordable housing and economic development near transit (for the Great Communities Collaborative); the relationship between the arts, commercial and residential revitalization in low-income neighborhoods; and the role of the green economy and industrial land in the California economy. She has also led a national contest sponsored by the Annie E. Casey Foundation to generate ideas for local and state job creation targeting disadvantaged communities. Chapple has also worked on regional and local economic development research projects in Mexico, Spain, Thailand, Israel, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Guatemala, Colombia, and Abu Dhabi. She provides policy advice to many local, state, and national elected officials and also serves as a member of the Berkeley Planning Commission (appointee of Lori Droste).
Chapple holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from Columbia University, an M.S.C.R.P from the Pratt Institute, and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. She has served on the faculties of the University of Minnesota and the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to UC Berkeley. From 2006-2009, she held the Theodore Bo and Doris Shoong Lee Chair in Environmental Design. She is a founding member of the MacArthur Foundation's Research Network on Building Resilient Regions. Prior to academia, Chapple spent ten years as a practicing planner in economic development, land use, and transportation in New York and San Francisco.
In her courses, which are on community and economic development, regional planning, and planning and economic analysis methods, Chapple brings planning practice into the classroom, links scales (from the parcel to the region) and disciplines (from design to economic development), and focuses on critical, balanced evaluation of ideologies and outcomes.