Portrait of Nichola Lowe
Currently reviewing Ph.D. applicants
Urban and Regional Planning Area
Areas of Expertise
Economic development; income inequality and poverty; urban and regional planning; climate change and work


    Nichola Lowe, PhD, is a professor in the areas of urban and regional planning and community economic development at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. She is also the director of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP). 

    Lowe's research focuses on the institutional arrangements that lead to more inclusive forms of economic development, particularly the role of local policy and practice in aligning industry innovation and equity. 

    She studies emergent labor market institutions that shape employer behavior and open up opportunities for frontline workers to transfer existing and newly acquired skills to more secure and technologically sophisticated work environments—a topic central to her book
    Putting Skill to Work: How to Create Good Jobs in Uncertain Times (MIT Press 2021). 

    In addition, her research explores the link between innovation and local knowledge, especially the mediating factors that enhance the knowledge contribution of actors traditionally viewed as peripheral to processes of innovation, industrial upgrading, and climate resilience. 

    Prior to joining the Humphrey School faculty, she was a professor and interim chair of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


    PhD in Urban Studies and Planning (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003)

    MS in International Agricultural Development (University of California Davis, 1996)

    BS in Political Economy of Natural Resources (University of California Berkeley, 1992)