Marla Nelson, Ph.D., holds the Freeport Professorship in Urban & Public Affairs. Dr. Nelson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Planning and Urban Studies at the University of New Orleans where she teaches and conducts research in local economic development, community development and urban revitalization. Nelson’s recent work on New Orleans addresses planning and policy interventions to deal with vacant and abandoned property and the difficulties city officials have faced in translating the desire for a safer, better city into policies that could direct a just redevelopment. She has published in Cityscape, the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Economic Development Quarterly, the Journal of Urban Affairs, the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Planning Practice and Research and Urban Studies.
Active in local and national organizations, Nelson is member of the national and Louisiana chapters of the American Planning Association (APA), the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), Planners Network, the Urban Affairs Association Governing Board and the Vacant Property Research Network Advisory Board and serves on the board of two community based organizations in New Orleans. Nelson received her B.A. in economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and her MCRP and Ph.D. in urban planning and policy development from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.