Degree(s) Earned
M.U.P. ’16

Current Employer: Los Angeles Department of City Planning

Hometown/Country: Rochester Hills, MI

Current City/Country: Los Angeles, CA

/ Alumni / Master of Urban and Regional Planning,

Wajiha Ibrahim

City Planner

“Learning how to turn complicated ideas or data into a visual has gotten me far in my career.”

Why did you choose Taubman College?

The faculty at Taubman were welcoming, interested in what I wanted to get out of a M.U.R.P., and had fascinating research work that I was excited to take part in.

Describe the work that you do.

I focus on housing and homelessness prevention efforts within the Department of City Planning for L.A. This involves engaging with residents and local stakeholders to understand barriers to housing access and opportunity, gentrification and displacement trends, and finally writing policy to ensure that housing is affordable, accessible, and available for people of all races, ages, and economic backgrounds.

What are some of the projects that you have worked on recently?

I’ve spent the last two years on a team of six people writing the 2021-2029 Housing Element Update, a lengthy policy framework for housing residents of L.A. for the next eight years. The Housing Element includes a housing vision for the city as well as goals, policy, and programs to implement said goals. The intent is mainly to protect tenants, prevent displacement, ensure affordable housing access, and increase housing opportunities for all residents. I’m psyched to have played a key role in this monumental effort!

How did Taubman College prepare you for your career?

My focus at Taubman was international city planning, which is what most of my work prior to joining LACP involved. My work experience focusing on informal housing and housing inequity in the Global South equipped me to bring ideas around housing policy and design to L.A.

What is an important lesson that has stayed with you from your time at Taubman College?

Urban planning is a discipline that combines engineering, architecture, anthropology, sociology, environmental science, etc. Rarely will you find yourself in a room full of planners, so become fluent in the language that transcends occupational borders — VISUALS! Learning how to turn complicated ideas or data into a visual has gotten me far in my career and I thank Professor María Arquero de Alarcón for that!

What did you like best about attending Taubman College?

I loved being able to take classes that were cross-listed with departments (i.e., Architecture, Public Policy). I also took full advantage of research work with faculty at Taubman and felt like I got firsthand planning experience that way.