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John McCartin (MUP 16) awarded APAs Charles Abrams Scholarship

Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) student John McCartin (MUP ’16) has been named the winner of the American Planning Association’s 2015 Charles Abrams Scholarship.

The Charles Abrams Scholarship is given annually to a student enrolled in a graduate planning program in one of the five schools at which the late Charles Abrams taught. An internationally recognized authority on housing and urban affairs, Abrams founded the New York City Housing Authority in the 1960s and taught at Columbia University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the New School, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard. He had a long-held desire to assist students enrolled in planning programs.

“I’m deeply honored to receive the APA’s Charles Abrams Scholarship,” McCartin says. “This program helps grow a diverse student body, and ideally a more engaged planning profession. I can only hope to follow the lead of Charles Abrams in working for a more just urban future.”

This academic year, McCartin is working on a thesis examining service workers’ organizations and their role in the urban planning process. This topic, he says, grew from a final project he completed for a qualitative methods course at the GSD last spring and, in turn, from research he conducted for his first-semester core studio at the GSD. McCartin also runs the student group WorkingGSD.

The GSD had a Charles Abrams Scholarship winner most recently in 2013 with Jennifer Lee (MUP ’14), who is currently an assistant planner at the City of Newark’s Community Economic Development Corporation.

“We are really excited that John has received this honor, our second student to receive this scholarship in three years,” says Ann Forsyth, professor of urban planning at the GSD. “Charles Abrams’s work focused on key social dimensions of planning including encouraging affordable housing and promoting anti-discrimination activities. John's activities in economic justice reflect that very important tradition in planning, one that is still very relevant and timely.”