UB researcher wins Dale Prize for efforts to promote healthy cities

Release Date: December 18, 2013

Samina Raja.

Samina Raja, University at Buffalo associate professor of urban and regional planning

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Samina Raja, a food systems researcher at the University at Buffalo, has won the 2014 William R. and June Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning.

The 2014 award, given by Cal Poly Pomona’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning, recognizes scholars engaged with the theme, “We Are What We Eat: Food Systems and the Healthy City.”

Raja will receive the Dale Scholar Prize, while Heather Wooten of ChangeLab Solutions in Oakland won the Dale Practitioner Prize. Both will get $5,000 and spend two-and-a-half days at Cal Poly Pomona, meeting with students and speaking at a colloquium.

Raja, associate professor of urban and regional planning, is founder of the Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab at UB and a community leader on food issues.

Her research program, which focuses on the role of planning and policy in building sustainable food systems and healthy communities, is funded by local and national sponsors including the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and others.

In Western New York, her work has included partnering with government officials and residents of Buffalo to identify how low-cost changes in the design of the city could encourage healthier eating and more physical activity.

On a national scale, she is principal investigator of a $4 million grant project that aims to increase the access that consumers in underserved neighborhoods have to fresh produce and other nutritional goods. She is also lead author of “A Planners Guide to Community and Regional Food Planning: Transforming Food Environments, Facilitating Healthy Eating.”

Raja received her PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and holds a master’s degree in housing planning and bachelor’s degree in engineering.

About the Dale Prize: The Dale Prize is made possible by an endowment provided by the late June Dale, wife of the late William R. Dale. Bill Dale was a founding faculty member of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Cal Poly Pomona. He also served as chair of the department and dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Environmental Design. Inaugurated in 2004, the Dale Prize focuses on a different planning theme each year.

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