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Janet Smith, PhD, Associate Professor
Co-Director of Voorhees Center

Janet Smith is an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center for Neighborhood and Community Improvement, a research center that focuses on working to improve the conditions and lives of people in the Chicago metropolitan area. Janet's teaching, research and community service focuses on equity issues in local housing planning and policy implementation.

Bachelor of Fine Arts (1985) and Master of Urban Planning degree (1990) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a Ph.D. of Urban Studies from Cleveland State University (1998).

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Research Interests

Recent research includes the transformation of public housing in Chicago and US; housing and health outcomes; expanding housing opportunities for people with disabilities; and implementing community driven strategies to preserve affordable housing. Previous funded research includes a homeless needs assessment for the Chicago region; a process study of relocating Chicago Housing Authority tenants; and the Regional Rental Market Analysis, a critical study of the supply and demand for affordable housing in the Chicago area that has helped build a regional dialogue on affordable housing.

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UPP 501 Urban Space, Place and Institutions
UPP 505 Plan-Making
UPP 506 Plan-Making Studio
UPP 541 Community Development Practice
UPP 542 Metropolitan Housing Planning
UPP 588 Research Methods and Evaluation

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Recognition / Awards

Urban Affairs Association Service Honor Roll, 2014

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Andrew Greenlee, Sharon Lagenza, Janet Smith, Kate Walz. April 2011. Moving or Moving Up? Understanding Residential Mobility for Housing Choice Voucher Families in IllinoisA project of: Housing Action Illinois, UIC Voorhees Center, and Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. Available at

Janet Smith, Andrew Born, Megan Barcus, Jeanny Wang. January 2011. Open to All? Different Cultures, Same Communities: A look at immigrants and housing in Chicago’s northern suburbs. Report for Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs, available at

Jacobs, David, J. Wilson, S. Dixon, J. Smith, and A. Evans. 2009. The Relationship of Housing and Population Health: A 30 Year Retrospective Analysis.Environmental Health Perspectives, 117 (4): 597-604. Publisher's link.

Where are Poor People to Live? Transforming Public Housing Communities. M.E. Sharpe, 2006. Bennett, Larry, Janet Smith, Patricia Wright (editors).

Diminishing High-Rise Public Housing. In Chicago Architecture: Histories, Revisions, Alternatives, University of Chicago Press, 2005.

HOPE VI and New Urbanism: Eliminating Low-Income Housing to Make Mixed-Income Communities. Planners Network, No. 151: 22-25, 2002.

The Space of Local Control in US Public Housing Devolution. Geografiska Annaler B, 83 (4): 221-233, 2000.

Cleaning Up Public Housing By Sweeping out the Poor. Habitat International, 23(1): 49-62, 1999.

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Suite 2100 ADH (MC 345)

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