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Talia Kaufmann

PhD in Public Policy

Graduated in 2022

Talia Kaufmann has a PhD student in Public Policy in the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, with a concentration in Urban and Regional Studies. She collaborates with International organizations, local and municipal governments to develop data-driven tools for decision-makers in city planning. Her goal is to illuminate spatial inequality in access to services and provide policy makers with the tools to improve the quality of life of underserved urban communities. Her research tackles questions such as: how many commercial/recreational/public amenities should be added to a given neighborhood or city and where should those amenities be most needed? And, how far should an urban resident walk/drive/take public transport rides to reach the closest park or supermarket from their home?

Talia is trained as an Architect (B.Arch, Tel-Aviv University) and a City Planner (MCP, MIT). Before joining MIT for her Master degree, Talia served as a city planner and a planning information manager at the Tel Aviv-Yafo City Planning Department in Israel. Her research got international recognition by institutions as the World Bank, the OECD, the Government of Israel and more.

Talia has been collaborating with the OECD for the past 3 years. She worked closely with the urban indicators team at the organization during summer and fall 2018 as an experiential fellow in Paris, France. At the OECD, Talia wrote a report titled ‘Measuring accessibility to services across cities: A framework for accessibility indicators by walking, driving and public transport’. The report demonstrated the potential of using Google’s fine-grained amenity data for accessibility indicators and was presented at the OECD Workshop on Modernising Statistical Systems for Better Data on Regions and Cities. Talia continues to work with the OECD to expand this framework and produce indicators for decision-makers.

Talia’s current collaboration with the Government of Israel is dedicated to implementing accessibility metrics in decision-making processes. As an experiential fellow, Talia is working with The Israel Planning Administration (IPA) that is responsible for all spatial planning efforts throughout the country. The fellowship project goal is to incorporate Talia’s data-driven metrics in a tool for regional plan submission to produce plan evaluation and ‘accessibility insights’. This experiential opportunity is valuable to demonstrate how essential data-driven metrics can be for planning practices and support Talia’s dissertation work.

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