Willow Lung-Amam headshot

Willow Lung-Amam

Associate Professor
Director of Community Development, National Center for Smart Growth
Director, Small Business Anti-Displacement Network
Room 1227


I am an Associate Professor in the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland, College Park. At UMD, I also serve as Director of the Small Business Anti-Displacement Network, Director of the Urban Equity Collaborative, and Director of Community Development at the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education. My scholarship focuses on how urban and suburban policies and plans contribute to and can address social inequality, particularly in neighborhoods undergoing rapid racial and economic change.

I have written extensively on suburban poverty, racial segregation, immigration, residential and commercial gentrification, redevelopment politics, and neighborhood opportunity. My book, Trespassers? Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia (University of California Press, 2017), takes an intimate look at the everyday life and development politics in a Silicon Valley community as it transitioned from majority-White to majority-Asian American. My forthcoming book, The Right to Suburbia: Combatting Gentrification on the Urban Edge (University of California Press, 2024) looks at redevelopment politics and equitable development organizing the Washington, DC suburbs. My research has also appeared in various books and journals, such as Journal of Urban Affairs and Journal of Planning, Education and Research.

I am a regular contributor to Bloomberg’s CityLab. My work has also been featured in various popular media outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, National Public Radio, New Republic, and Al Jazeera. It has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Justice, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Enterprise Community Partners, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, and other government agencies and private foundations. I have advised the White House’s Domestic Policy Council and National Economic Council on federal policy related to tenant protections and affordability.

I am a nonresident fellow at the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center and a nonresident senior follow at the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies program. I also am Affiliate Faculty at American University's Metropolitan Policy Center and at the University of Maryland's Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity, Department of American Studies, programs in Historic Preservation and Asian American Studies, and Maryland Population Research Center. I am a former Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar, Ford Postdoctoral Fellow, and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellow. I serve on boards of the National Housing Law Project, Society for American City and Regional Planning Historians, and Journal of the American Planning Association, and advisory committees for Poverty & Race Research Action Council and the Purple Line Corridor Coalition.

I teach graduate and undergraduate courses in urban inequality and diversity, social planning, and community development. Prior to joining the UMD faculty, I worked professionally on master-planning projects in low-income communities, and with non-profits, public agencies, and private firms on issues of public housing and community development. 

I hold a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.C.P in Urban Studies and Planning from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a B.S in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University. My full curriculum vitae is available here.

PhD in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
University of California, Berkeley
Master in Urban Studies and Planning
University of Maryland
Bachelor of Science in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity
Stanford University