Title: Research Assistant & Master of City and Regional Planning Candidate
Organization: Cornell University
Location: Ithaca, NY
Robyn Wardell is a second-year graduate student of City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. She has eight years of professional experience and a keen interest in land use practices that build vibrant communities. She is a self-starter with extensive experience in program development, project management and volunteer board coordination. She believes in the power of community and networks to make real change and to build vibrant places we all want to live in. Her previous work focused on food access in a diversity of contexts, from rural Maine to urban Flint, MI and Portland, OR. Most recently, she developed and ran a national leadership program for AmeriCorps alumni seeking to build careers in public health, education, food systems and school food specifically.
She decided to return to school in order to explore the intersection between the way we design and allocate resources within our built environment and the health of the communities that inhabit it. Her graduate work has given her an understanding of how land use laws and regulations affect not only the physical form of our communities, but also their social and cultural contexts. She is currently conducting research on age friendly land use practices in rural communities through comprehensive plan reviews, survey analysis and interviews. Through this process, she has come to understand both the challenges and opportunities for building health into zoning and land use practices in small towns. She is also working on a project to understand how the physical, locational and programmatic attributes of recovery housing in Maine affect residents’ quality of life and personal success in recovery.