“Geography really offers an opportunity to bring abstract theory and grounded, everyday experience together in a way that we can start to imagine how to both frame problems, but also how to figure out solutions and pathways to solving those problems.”

The work of Nik Heynen, professor in the Department of Geography, is centered in the scholar-activism of social and environmental justice and has helped forge closer connections between the academy and society. He is interested in how the social constructs of race, class and gender have intersected to produce uneven geographical development. He studies how social movement institutions organize across space to identify and secure adequate resources for communities. Heynen currently serves as the co-director of UGA’s Cornelia Walker Bailey Program on Land and Agriculture. He is a steering committee member of the NSF “Housing Justice in Unequal Cities” research network, bringing together research communities to study evictions, homelessness, displacement, segregation and informal housing settlements. He is also an advisory board member for a new partnership, funded by the Mellon Foundation, between UGA’s Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and the Penn Center National Historic Landmark District.

Nik Heynen was named a Distinguished Research Professor in 2021. Learn more about the UGA Research Awards.