Maya Sapienza

Job title: 
Class of 2023
2023 John Gardner Fellowship

In May 2023, Maya graduated from UC Berkeley withan Urban Studies major and a minor in Sustainable Design. Taking undergraduate and graduate courses in urban design, sustainability, landscape architecture, city planning, and U.S. housing policy, Maya explored how cultural, political, and economic processes structure the urban landscape through an interdisciplinary lens. She focused on issues of gentrification, geographies of urban justice, and struggles over public (and private) space.

In addition to her coursework, Maya served as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Brandi T. Summers, where she examined Black houselessness and transportation infrastructure in West Oakland. As part of this project, she produced layered, historical aerial maps of West Oakland to show how surface parking lots evolved over time into spaces that contain encampments of houseless residents. Maya also worked with the Oakland Department of Transportation, putting her academic knowledge into practice, and gaining hands-on experience in the planning field. There, she developed a set of diverse outreach tools and methods to connect with West Oakland residents about neighborhood traffic changes.

Research interests: 

Major(s): Urban Studies

Minor(s): Sustainable Design