PhD candidates Justin Stern, Adam Tanaka among eight Harvard students named 2018 Harvard Horizons Scholars

Harvard Graduate School of Design PhD candidates Justin Stern and Adam Tanaka are among the eight scholars from around the University selected as 2018 Harvard Horizons Scholars. Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences administers the program, which honors eight PhD candidates each year.

The program culminates in a symposium of brief, compelling talks where these scholars present their research from the Sanders Theatre stage. Stern and Tanaka will join the other six 2018 Harvard Horizons Scholars for this year’s symposium on April 11, 2018, at 4:30 p.m. in Sanders Theatre.

Stern and Tanaka’s selections mark the first time that a GSD student has been honored by the Harvard Horizons program.

Stern_Justin picStern is a fifth-year PhD Candidate whose research focuses on the interplay of economic development and city planning in rapidly urbanizing regions in East and Southeast Asia. His dissertation looks at how the growth of the BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry is driving new patterns of urban development in key regions in which the industry is concentrated, with particular emphasis on India and the Philippines.

Questions addressed in Stern’s research include: In what ways do the contemporary urban forms of cities in Asia, and their dominant building typologies, reflect the economic and political restructuring of the previous half century? What role do large-scale, diversified corporate conglomerates, such as Samsung Group in Korea and Ayala Corporation in the Philippines, play in urban development? And how can the experience of Seoul and other cities in East Asia, as inductive role models, better inform rapidly developing regions in Southeast Asia and beyond?

Stern holds a Master of Urban Planning degree from the GSD and completed his bachelor’s degree at Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Oxford. During the 2012-2013 academic year, Justin served as a Fulbright Fellow in Seoul, South Korea and was the recipient of a Harvard-Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellowship. He is currently a Graduate Student Associate at the Harvard Asia Center and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Stern is a four-time recipient of the Derek-Bok Center Certificate in Teaching Excellence.

Tanaka_A_photoTanaka is a PhD candidate in urban planning with a particular focus on affordable housing and real estate development. His research interests lie at the confluence of urban history, political science and business studies. His writings on cities have been published by Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, Journal of Urban History (forthcoming), Slate, Van Alen, Gotham Center for New York City History, and Metropolitiques, among others.

During the current academic year, Tanaka is completing his dissertation on large-scale, middle-income housing in New York City. Offering a counterpoint to familiar narratives of post-war suburbanization and central city disinvestment, the dissertation analyzes a number of vast subsidized developments built for middle-income New Yorkers from the 1940s through 1970s. The dissertation investigates the political and financial alliances that facilitated these projects – with a particular focus on the role of private developers in the city’s affordable housing industry – as well as the factors that abruptly terminated this “large-scale approach” in the mid-1970s.

Tanaka also generated buzz locally last December with an interactive map cataloging holiday decorations around Somerville.

Tanaka received a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history and urban studies from Princeton University and an Master of Urban Planning degree from the GSD. He has held fellowships from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.