Project Team

  • Karen Chapple, Ph.D.
    Faculty Director

    Karen Chapple, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she holds the Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. Chapple studies inequalities in the planning, development, and governance of regions in the U.S. and Latin America. Her recent books include Planning Sustainable Cities and Regions: Towards More Equitable Development (Routledge 2015, and winner of the John Friedmann Book Award); Transit-Oriented Displacement or Community Dividends? Understanding the Effects of Smarter Growth on Communities (with Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, MIT Press, 2019); and Fragile Governance and Local Economic Development: Theory and Evidence from Peripheral Regions in Latin America (with Sergio Montero, Routledge, 2018). In Fall 2015, she co-founded the Urban Displacement Project, a research portal examining patterns of residential, commercial, and industrial displacement, as well as policy solutions.

    Chapple holds a B.A. in Urban Studies from Columbia University, an M.S.C.R.P from the Pratt Institute, and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. She has served on the faculties of the University of Minnesota and the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to UC Berkeley.

  • Claudia von Vacano, Ph.D.
    Executive Director

    Dr. Claudia von Vacano is the Executive Director of Data for Housing, the D-Lab and the Digital Humanities at Berkeley, and is on the boards of the Social Science Matrix and Berkeley Center for New Media. She has worked in policy and educational administration since 2000, and at the UC Office of the President and UC Berkeley since 2008. She is also the lead online course developer of the SAGE Campus Introduction to Applied Data Science Methods for Social Scientists. Claudia has created a meta-organization at UC Berkeley: Data Science for Social Good. Under this rubric, she is leading an online hate speech research project with the support of the Anti-defamation League that employs machine learning. She is deeply committed and invested in supporting diversity in data science through a partnership with the Data Science Division and the Data Scholars program.

    She received a Master’s degree from Stanford University in Learning, Design, and Technology. Her doctorate is in Policy, Organizations, Measurement, and Evaluation from UC Berkeley. Her expertise is in organizational theory and behavior and in educational and language policy implementation. The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation, and the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, among others, have recognized her scholarly work and service contributions.

  • Tim Thomas, Ph.D.
    Director of Instruction

    Tim Thomas is a postdoctoral scholar at the Urban Displacement project specializing in urban sociology, demography, and data science. His research focuses on how neighborhood change, housing, and displacement affects household socioeconomic stratification by race and gender in the United States. Tim is also the Principal Investigator for the Evictions Study, a multi-metropolitan analysis on the neighborhood drivers of eviction using census data and text mining court records. Tim's research agenda is marked by an intellectual foundation in policy-relevant research operationalized through civic and academic collaborations that address real-world problems and advances scholarly research. In 2019, his team's work on evictions provided empirical evidence that helped pass several tenant protection laws in Washington State.

    In addition to his work on evictions, Tim has published academic articles and reports on migration, gentrification, homelessness, hate crimes, and displacement. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Washington and was a Moore/Sloan Data Science Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington's eScience Institute.

  • Patty Frontiera, Ph.D.
    Director of Curriculum

    Patty Frontiera is the UC Berkeley D-Lab Data Services Lead and Co-Director of the Berkeley Federal Statistical Research Data Center. She is also the official campus representative for ICPSR, the Roper Center, and the Census State Data Center network. Patty’s area of expertise is geospatial data, visualization and analysis. Patty leads the geospatial data and analysis team at the D-Lab where she develops the geospatial workshop curriculum, teaches workshops and consults on geospatial topics and projects. As the previous D-Lab Instructional Services Lead, Patty has extensive experience managing a program that delivers approximately 150 workshops per semester. Patty has also been a lecturer in the UC Berkeley Data Science Education Program for which she lead the development of an introductory geographic information course in Python (ESPM88a), one of the first of its kind in the nation.

    Patty received her Ph.D. in Environmental Planning from UC Berkeley where her dissertation explored the application and effectiveness of generalized spatial representations in geographic information retrieval. Her work has focused on the design and development of online environmental planning and information systems to support evidence-based decision making. Specific areas of interest include web-based planning information systems, spatial databases, environmental informatics, and spatial analysis and visualization.

  • Emmanuel Lopez
    Communications and Curriculum Manager

    Emmanuel is a Master's of City Planning Student focusing on Housing and Economic Development. Originally from Southern California, he is passionate about fair access to affordable housing and climate resilience/adaptation. He is excited to learn new ways to integrate data science and housing policy and hopes to frame his passion for equity and sustainability towards addressing climate change and displacement. Emmanuel holds a Bachelor's in Political Science and Economics from UC San Diego. If he's not in Wurster Hall, you can find him climbing at the local crag with chalky hands or playing board games with friends!

  • Ethan Erbinger
    Curriculum Developer

    Ethan is a curriculum developer on the Data for Housing team. He is experienced in Python and enjoys teaching others how data science can be used in planning to promote regional and local goals. Ethan is also a student in the Master of City Planning program at UC Berkeley. He is interested in how geospatial data and travel demand models can be used to develop accessible and sustainable transportation

  • Special Thanks to
    Kathleen Wilson and Max McDonald!

    Without your help, we wouldn't be looking this good!