Brock Hicks

I am an urban planner and researcher working at the intersection of climate, displacement, and urbanization. I have 10+ years of experience in research, program management, community development, and housing and land use policy in Latin America, the US, and recently East Africa. I excel at self-directed projects, building strategic partnerships, and connecting the dots from the big picture to the details.

Three common threads tie my professional interests together: 1) displacement, migration, and urbanization; 2) cities as frontline actors confronting spatial inequalities and climate change; and 3) the opportunity for cities to serve as centers for collaboration and innovation in governance and the co-production of knowledge and policy by local governments, grassroots organizations, and social movements.

See my CV below and see the website menu at left for publications and work samples.



Program management ● Strategic partnerships ● Quantitative & qualitative research ● GIS ● Cross-cultural collaboration ●

Community development, housing, & land use ● Technical, analytical, & lay writing


2013 – 2015

UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellow, Latin American Institute.

Member of the Departmental Staffing Working Group (2014 – 15). Reviewed cases of professors up for promotion in the Department of Urban Planning.

Member of the Departmental Curriculum Working Group (2013 – 14). Reviewed current curriculum and proposed changes for the Department of Urban Planning.

GPA 3.9


UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design. IN[CITY] Summer Institute

Full tuition scholarship.

2002 – 2006

University of Denver. B.A. – International Studies; Spanish. Minor in Anthropology

Semester abroad in Chile with the School for International Training: Culture, Development, and Social Justice program

Semester abroad in Argentina with the COPA Buenos Aires Universities program

Lambda Alpha National Anthropology Honor Society

GPA 3.7



Native speaker.


Fluent in speaking, reading, writing and translation. Competent interpreter.


Intermediate proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing.


9/2021 – present

Akiba Mashinani Trust (Kenya). Affiliated Researcher (part time)

Leading a research project on climate-displaced people living in Kenya’s informal settlements. Establishing partnerships with stakeholder civil society, government, and international organizations. Developing the research design and proposal. Establishing relationships with community leaders; conducting participant observation in affected communities. Collecting interview and survey data from a minimum of 50 households in settlements in the cities of Nairobi, Nakuru, and Kisumu. Read more about the project here.

11/2015 – 9/2021 (5.9 years)

UrbanFootprint. 2 positions

Product Manager. 1/2018 – 9/2021 (3.6 years)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working with state agencies and front-line organizations in Louisiana, California, and Georgia to develop tools, data, and analytics for assessing social vulnerability, economic stress, and food and housing security. These tools aid decision-makers to allocate limited resources where they are most needed, advocate for federal relief resources, and to inform policies to confront the unemployment and eviction crises.

Manage the design, development, and deployment of software features for the UrbanFootprint modeling platform, supporting customers to map, measure, and analyze more than 4,000 planning projects in over 700 cities across the U.S. Coordinate across internal teams and a diverse customer base (500+ users from the planning, mobility, energy, government, research, and real estate industries).

Engage customers to assess product fit, administer surveys, and facilitate feedback sessions to inform product roadmap and feature design. Played a pivotal role on the product team as urban planning expert during a critical growth period that led to $11.5M in Series A funding and 3x growth in ARR.

Project Manager. 11/2015 – 12/2018 (3.2 years)

Managed consulting services projects for regional land use planning initiatives. Clients included the World Bank, county and city governments, and NGOs across California, the Midwest, and China. Coordinated teams of public and non-profit entities and private consulting firms.

Managed data development and analysis for regional planning scenarios. Collaborated with teams on the development and deployment of advanced geospatial models. Analyzed data to produce a suite of regional planning metrics. Led development of fiscal impacts and stormwater models (in collaboration with the EPA and NRDC).

9 – 12/2019

Santa Clara University. Adjunct Lecturer

Taught the undergraduate course Introduction to Geographic Information Systems. Course content included basic and intermediate concepts of GIS and framing, development, and presentation of spatial research questions. Developed curriculum, delivered lectures, guided research projects.

11/2014 – 10/2015

American Federation of Teachers. Consultant

Managed a research project on the sociospatial effects of charter schools on Los Angeles neighborhoods. Wrote a comprehensive research report. Created longitudinal and spatialized datasets; analyzed urban neighborhood change via advanced geospatial methods and descriptive and multivariate statistics.

9 – 12/2013 and 9 – 12/2014

UCLA Department of Geography. Graduate Student Instructor

Led two discussion sections of 30 students each for a course on the economic geography of globalization. Synthesized content for weekly reviews. Planned discussion activities geared towards critical analysis. Used data to drive instruction.

6 – 12/2014

City of Los Angeles. Policy Planning Intern

Assisted in land use research, GIS mapmaking, and the preparation of text and graphics for the South Los Angeles New Community Plans (Land Use Element). Designed cross-cultural outreach materials in Spanish and English.

12/2013 – 9/2014

UCLA Department of Urban Planning. Graduate Student Researcher

Analyzed Mexican census data for research on segregation, land regularization, housing policy, urban spatial structure, and household formation. Edited scholarly articles for publication.

Contributed to an OECD report, intended to guide policy in Mexico, on international best practices for infill development.

Conducted interviews with Mexican public agencies and wrote a literature review on the titling of property and land regularization processes in Mexican cities; the resulting scholarly article was published in the Journal of Peasant Studies.

9/2012 – 8/2013

Food First / Institute for Food and Development Policy. Research Intern

Interviewed US quinoa importers and produced a comprehensive literature review for a development report on quinoa production and trade in Bolivia. Conducted interviews, compiled data, and wrote news articles for Food First publications.

7/2009 – 9/2011

US Peace Corps (Honduras). Protected Areas Management Adviser

Designed and managed multiple community development and food security projects. Wrote grant proposals and administered funds. Delivered technical skills trainings and developed training manuals. Supported local organizations and led the formation of women’s groups for food security projects.

Managed a regional improved stoves initiative in collaboration with an international NGO. Stoves installed in 670 homes across 28 communities. NGO leveraged the initiative to expand to communities region-wide.

Developed curriculum and led trainings for a region-wide program for agroforestry certification and income diversification projects. Collaborated with an intermunicipal organization to train public officials and coffee farmers from 13 departments.

8/2007 – 9/2008 Maui, Hawaii

Mama's Fish House. Server

6 – 12/2006 Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Progressive English Services. Teacher



Exceptional communication and writing skills. Well-versed in technical, analytical, and lay writing. Competent editor.


Strong graphic and cartographic representation skills. Working knowledge of physical planning and urban design.

Qualitative research methods

Working knowledge of semi-structured and structured interviews, survey design, focus group facilitation, and participant observation.

Quantitative and geospatial research methods

Expert in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Well-versed in geospatial and statistical modeling.


Jupyter notebooks. Stata, SPSS. ArcGIS, QGIS. Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop. SketchUp.


Python for data science. Pandas. Geopandas, Shapely, PostGIS. SQL. Git.


2014/15 academic year

Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. UCLA Latin American Institute

Tuition remissions and stipend. Fellowship designed to deepen training in Latin American languages and area studies. Focused coursework in international development and urbanization research throughout Latin America as well as Brazilian Portuguese language training.


Full tuition scholarship for the [IN]CITY Summer Institute. UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design


Social Science Foundation Scholarship. University of Denver


Leir Scholarship for Study Abroad. University of Denver


Lambda Alpha National Anthropology Honor Society. University of Denver

2002 – 2006

Academic & Fees Scholarships. University of Denver

Professional Development

Insights for Innovation, IDEO U (2021). Course on qualitative and UX research methods.

Certificate in GIS, City College of San Francisco (2013). Series of three courses in GIS.

Agroforestry Technician, Trees for the Future (2010). Certification in agroforestry techniques and education.

Permaculture Design, Central Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute (2009). Permaculture systems design.


See my LinkedIn profile for recommendations from colleagues and employers.