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Vikas Mehta

Title: Associate Professor, Fruth/Gemini Chair, Ohio Eminent Scholar, Urban Design Certificate Coordinator
Office: Daa Addition
Tel: 513-556-4292
Email: vikas.mehta@uc.edu

Vikas Mehta, Associate Professor of Urbanism, is the Fruth/Gemini Chair, Ohio Eminent Scholar of Urban/Environmental Design and Coordinator for the Urban Design Certificate. Dr. Mehta’s work focuses on the role of design and planning in creating a more responsive, equitable, stimulating and communicative environment. He is interested in various dimensions of urbanity through the exploration of place as a social and ecological setting and as a sensorial art. This work emphasizes the sense of place and place distinctiveness, design and visualization of urban places and activities, and cities and regions as just, equitable and sustainable living systems. Dr. Mehta’s work on the urban street emphasizes the street as a heterogeneous, multicultural, multigenerational and multiuse public space. He has developed new measures of sociability that have advanced existing methods to study human behavior in public spaces. Dr. Mehta is the author of Public Space, a 4-volume anthology (Routledge, 2015) and The Street: a quintessential social public space (Routledge, 2013 and 2014) that received the 2014 Book Award from the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) and was also a finalist for the 2014 Francis Tibbalds Award for Best Book of the Year.

Dr. Mehta is the co-editor of Children, Youth and Environments journal.

Education

  • Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park, MD, 2006 (Urban and Regional Planning and Design, Specialization: Urban Design).
  • M.Arch., Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD, 1998 (Architecture).
  • Dip.Arch., Institute of Environmental Design, Gujarat, India, 1990 (Architecture).

Research Information

Research Interests


Dr. Mehta’s research explores the sense of place and place distinctiveness, planning, design and management of urban places for sociability, and cities and regions as just, equitable and sustainable living systems. His research, teaching and community engagement efforts are committed to focusing design and planning toward urban vitality and regeneration, environmental sustainability through urbanism, creating place identity through urban communication, understanding of environment-behavior relationships, multi-cultural understanding of place for the sustainable growth of cities and regions. Dr. Mehta’s work has advanced the existing methods to study human behavior in public spaces and has developed measures of sociability of public spaces that are useful to urban designers, planners, architects and landscape architects.

Publications

Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Mehta, V. (2014). Evaluating Public Space. Journal of Urban Design, 19 (1), 53-88.
  • Mehta, V. (2011). Small Businesses and the Vitality of Main Street. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 28 (4), 271-291.
  • Mehta, V. and Bosson, J. K. (2010). Third Places and the Social Life of Streets. Environment and Behavior, 42 (6), 779-805.
  • Mehta, V. (2009). A Tale of Two Streets: Comparative Experiences on Streets in the East and West. Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, 3 (5), 231-242.
  • Mehta, V. (2009). Look Closely and You Will See, Listen Carefully and You Will Hear: Urban Design and Social Interaction on Streets. Journal of Urban Design, 14 (1), 29-64.
  • Mehta, V. (2008). Walkable Streets: Pedestrian Behavior, Perceptions and Attitudes. Journal of Urbanism, 1 (3), 217–245.
  • Mehta, V. (2007). Lively Streets: Determining Environmental Characteristics to support Social Behavior. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 27 (2), 165-187.

Published Books

  • Mehta, V. (2013). The Street: a quintessential social public space. London: Routledge. [Link]
  • Mehta, V. (2015). Public Space. London and New York: Routledge. [Link]

Book Chapters

  • Mehta, Vikas (2014). The Street as Ecology. In Agyeman J. and Zavestoski, S. (Eds.), Incomplete Streets: Processes, Practices, Possibilities. New York: Routledge.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2012). Lively Streets: Determining Environmental Characteristics to support Social Behavior. In Weiping, W., Dongquan, L. and Hibbard, M. (Eds.), Best of Recent North American Planning Scholarship: Selections from Journal of Planning Education and Research. China Architecture and Building Press.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2015). Everyday Social Behavior as a Basis for Design. Urban Design: Tools & Resources for the Planning Practitioner New York: Routledge.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2016). (In Press). Streets and Social Life in Cities. In Haas, Tigran (Eds.), The Future of Places, Stockholm, Sweden: Ax:son Johnson Foundation.

Other Publications

  • Mehta, V. (2009). Tampa Urban Design Studio 2009. School of Architecture and Community Design, University of South Florida.
  • Mehta, V. (2008). Education Abroad India 2008. School of Architecture and Community Design, University of South Florida.
  • Mehta, V. (2011). Urban Design. Craft and Context: SACD at 25 School of Architecture and Community Design, University of South Florida.

Technical Reports

  • Mehta, V. (2006). Lively Streets: Exploring the Relationship between Built Environment and Social Behavior. Active Living Research Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation..

Additional Publications

Review

  • Mehta, V. (2014). (Rev. of Mapping Controversies in Architecture by Albena Yaneva). Journal of Urban Technology..

Presentations & Lectures

Invited Presentations

  • Mehta, V. (2015). Streets and Social Life in Cities. Future of Places Conference, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • Mehta, V. (2015). The Ecology of the Street. [r+d] Workshop of [r+d] post-carbon Vienna/Future Urban Mobility Lab, Vienna, Austria.
  • Mehta, V. (2015). Strings of Beads: streets as social networks. Linear Livability International Conference, Department of Architecture and Design, Politecnico di Torino, Turin, Italy.
  • Mehta, V. (2015). The Street: An Urban Ecology. TEDx UCincinnati, Cincinnati, OH.
  • Mehta, V. (2013). The Street: a quintessential social public space, Making Streets as People-Places. American Planning Association’s National Conference inaugural symposium “Public Space Biennial of the Americas”, Chicago, IL.
  • Mehta, V. (2013). Creating Lively Community Streets. Growing In Place: Sixth Annual Natural Learning Initiative Symposium on Intergenerational Urban Design for Children and Families, NC State University, Raleigh, NC.
  • Mehta, V. (2012). The Street as Place. Space and Place, Department of Sociology. College of Arts and Science, University of South Florida., Tampa, FL.
  • Mehta, V. (2009). Urban Vitality for a Sustainable Future. Earth Day sustainability forum. Sponsored by Anthropology Club, Academic Initiatives and Student Environmental Association, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.
  • Mehta, V. (2009). Public Space-Sociability-Walking. School of Art and Art History. College of The Arts, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.
  • Mehta, V. (2009). The Street as Place. Humanities Institute, New Faculty Research Panel, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.
  • Mehta, V. (2007). Streets as People-Places. Designing Our Region – Tampa: Small Medium Large, Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL.
  • Mehta, V. (2006). Public Space in Urban India. Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.
  • Mehta, V. (2016). Public Space: What Why How. Habitat III Thematic Meeting on Public Space, Barcelona, Spain.

Paper Presentations

  • Mehta, Vikas (2014). The Neighborhood Commercial Street as an Agent of Sustainability. American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Conference, Tampa, FL.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2015). Personalized, Rich and Rewarding: The Full Potential of Empirical Research, Special session - Rewriting the Field (presented by three past EDRA Book Award winners). Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), 46th Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2011). Landscape Urbanism as an Urban Design Paradigm?. Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) conference, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2010). Re-stitching the Urban Pattern of Ybor City: A typo-morphological analysis. International Seminar of Urban Form (ISUF) Conference, Hamburg, Germany.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2010). Integrating Landscape in the Urban Design Curriculum. Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) Conference, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2009). Evaluating Public Space. Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) 50th National Conference, Crystal City, VA.
  • Mehta, Vikas and Chandler, Rod (2009). Resolving Sustainability at the Lot, Block and Neighborhood levels. Work from the 2009 Tampa Urban Design Studio. Campus + Community Sustainability Conference, Tampa, FL.
  • Mehta, V. (2009). The Phenomena of Everyday Places in the City. 2nd Architecture and Phenomenology Conference, Kyoto, Japan.
  • Mehta, V. (2009). Reclaiming and Revitalizing the Urban Core: urban design alternatives. Work from the 2009 Tampa Urban Design Studio - Retooling Development in these Economic Times. Florida Planning and Zoning Association Conference, Tampa, FL.
  • Mehta, V. (2009). Urban Design Lessons from a Third Place. 47th International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Conference, Portland, OR.
  • Mehta, V. (2009). Designing the Main Street for Children. Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) 40th Annual Meeting, Kansas City, MO.
  • Mehta, V. (2009). Sense of Place in Everyday Spaces: Lessons for Urban Design. Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) Conference - Leadership in Architectural Research, between academia and the profession, San Antonio, TX.
  • Mehta, V. (2008). Territoriality and Social Interaction on Main Streets. Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) 39th Annual Meeting, Veracruz, Mexico.
  • Mehta, V. (2008). Small Businesses and the Vitality of Main Street. Urban Affairs Association (UAA) 38th Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD.
  • Mehta, V. (2008). Third Places and Social Life of Streets. Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) 48th National Conference , Milwaukee, WI.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2007). Streets for People: Determining Urban Design Characteristics using Behavior Mapping and User Interviews. International Conference of European Spatial Development Planning, Leuven, Belgium.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2006). Lively Streets: Exploring the Relationship between Built Environment and Social Behavior. Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) 47th National Conference, Fortworth, TX.
  • Mehta, Vikas (2005). Lively Streets: Exploring the Relationship between Built Environment and Social Behavior. Journal of Planning Education and Research (JPER) Writing Workshop, University of California, Berkeley, CA .
  • Mehta, Vikas (2004). From Open Spaces to Public Places. American Planning Association (APA) National Conference, Washington, DC.

Poster Presentations

  • Mehta, Vikas (2006). Built Environment, Social Activity and Walking Behavior Active Living Research Annual Conference, Coronado, CA.

Honors & Awards

  • Winner - Book Award, Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), 2014.
  • Finalist - Best Book of the Year - Francis Tibbalds Award, Urban Design Group, UK, 2014.
  • Chester Rapkin Award - Honorable Mention for Best Research Paper of the year in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, 2008.
  • Summer Research Grant - Designing the Walkable City, College of The Arts, University of South Florida, 2013.
  • Faculty Research Grant - Designing the Walkable City , College of The Arts, University of South Florida, 2012 to 2013.
  • Provost’s Summer Research Grant - Reading Landscapes, Telling Stories: Mapping the Culture of Place, University of South Florida, 2011.
  • Faculty Research Grant. The Street: a quintessential social public space (book project), College of The Arts, University of South Florida, 2010 to 2011.
  • Faculty Research Grant - Exploring “Found” Space: the untapped urban public domain, College of The Arts, University of South Florida, 2009 to 2010.
  • Provost’s Summer Research Grant - Representing and Evaluating Public Space in the City, University of South Florida, 2009.
  • Innovative Learning-Centered Grant: Faculty Creativity in Teaching - Evaluating Public Space: creating a user-friendly web-based instrument, University of South Florida, 2009.
  • Faculty Research Grant - A Tale of Two Streets: Comparative Experiences on Streets in the East and West, College of The Arts, University of South Florida, 2008 to 2009.
  • Active Living Research Program’s Doctoral Dissertation Grant, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living Research Program, 2005 to 2006.
  • Doctoral Fellowship Award, University of Maryland, 2004 to 2005.
  • Doctoral Fellowship Award, University of Maryland, 2003 to 2004.
  • Travel Grant to Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Conference, Fannie Mae Foundation, 2004.
  • Alumni Design Award for Graduate Thesis Project, Morgan State University, 1998.
  • Merit based Scholarship Award for Graduate Studies, Morgan State University, 1998.
  • Best Overall Performance Award for Major (Architectural Design Studio), School of Architecture, Institute of Environmental Design, Gujarat, India, 1990.
  • Best Performance Award & Scholarship for Architectural Design Studio VIII, School of Architecture, Institute of Environmental Design, Gujarat, India, 1988.
  • Best Performance Award & Scholarship for Architectural Design Studio V, School of Architecture, Institute of Environmental Design, Gujarat, India, 1986.
  • Best Performance Award & Scholarship for Architectural Design Studio IV, School of Architecture, Institute of Environmental Design, Gujarat, India, 1986.

Experience & Service

Work Experience

  • 2012 to 2014, Associate Professor of Urbanism, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.
  • 2006 to 2012, Assistant Professor of Urbanism, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.
  • 2006 to 2006, Adjunct Professor of Urban Design, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA.
  • 2001 to 2003, Architect & Project Manager, RCG Architects, Baltimore, MD.
  • 1998 to 2001, Architect & Project Manager, GWWO Architects, Baltimore, MD.
  • 1994 to 1997, Principal Architect, In-house Architecture Office, Somaiya Trust, Bombay, India.
  • 1993 to 1994, Principal Architect, Private Practice, New Delhi, India.
  • 1991 to 1993, Architect, Ashok B. Lall Architects, New Delhi, India.
  • 1990 to 1991, Architect, Design Atelier, New Delhi, India.