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The University of Texas at ArlingtonThe University of Texas at Arlington


Congratulations Class of 2020

I feel extremely fortunate to have been given the opportunity to serve you as dean. As the Class of 2020, you have shown tremendous resilience in the face of unprecedented adversity. I am deeply grateful for the hard work of our distinguished faculty, who have taught and mentored you, and for the important role, your loved ones played in supporting you. You will always be in our hearts. Don’t forget to stay in touch. I wish you all the very best as you enter this next chapter of your lives.

- Dean Adrian Parr



Spring 2020 Ph.D. Graduate

Dissertation Title: City-planning, urban imaginary, and the branded space: Unfolding the role of city plans and placemaking in shaping Dallas emerging urban imaginary

In my doctoral research, I worked on “branded space” and “urban imaginaries”, based on the Symbolic Economy and predicated on the Modern Social Imaginaries, and the way cities can be imagined by representations of the urban landscape through symbolic images, meanings, and narratives. Framed within the neoliberal growth paradigm, this research brings attention to the “branded space”, where such urban imaginaries gain a greater presence. My preliminary research has appeared in the Journal of Planning Literature. 

Dissertation Supervisor: Dr. Ivonne Audirac

Doctoral Program: Urban Planning and Public Policy (UPPP)


Sahar Esfandyari 

Spring 2020 Ph.D. Graduate

Dissertation Title: The effect of crime on ridership, an in-depth analysis of how transit station neighborhood characteristics prevent crime and encourage ridership

This study investigates the impact of crime on Light Rail Transit (LRT) ridership. Using the geo-locating technique and Structural Equation Modeling, the results show that crime has a positive impact on ridership. This positive effect reflects a rise in ridership associated with an increase of criminal incidents due to high activity and high demand of public transit use by captive riders.

Dissertation Supervisor: Dr. Jianling Li

Doctoral Program: Urban Planning and Public Policy (UPPP)

Tahereh-Granpayehvaghei.jpgTahereh Granpayehvaghei

Spring 2020 Ph.D. Graduate

Dissertation Title: The Geography of Creative Clusters and Firm Productivity: Empirical Evidence From 20 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in the United States

My research is at the intersection of urban planning, arts management, economic development, and sociology. I ask how we can leverage creative clusters to maximize their potential in the modern urban planning process, while minimizing their negative outcomes for local communities. Given the challenges facing cities to balance the shift from a manufacturing to a service economy, my research focuses on how cities use arts and culture to enhance community livability and economic growth. Based on a quantitative approach using a large national dataset, I determine the location of the different types of creative clusters within the United States and investigate their relationship with firm productivity.

Dissertation Supervisor: Dr. Ardeshir Anjomani

Doctoral Program: Urban Planning and Public Policy (UPPP)

Cheers! To the Class of 2020

While we await the postponed commencement ceremonies, we invite graduates, families, friends, alumni and the entire UTA Community to celebrate on May 17 at 7:30 p.m. CDT with Interim President Teik Lim and Student Body President Gavin Mitchell.

Please check your UTA inbox frequently for any updates regarding the commencement ceremony.

For general information regarding commencement at UTA, please visit the University’s Commencement webpage.


Watch the Spring 2020 Virtual Celebration