Skip to main content

Professor, City and Regional Planning



Dr. Lowe is the interim director of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies and an associate professor in the UNC Department of City and Regional Planning. Her work focuses on the institutional arrangements that lead to more inclusive forms of economic development and, specifically, the role that practitioners can play in aligning growth and equity goals.

Lowe conducts research in three related areas of economic development. The first is her focus on workforce intermediaries and the strategies of skill reinterpretation they use to engage businesses in a negotiated process around skill, including increasing employer responsibility for work-based skill development. The second area is her research on immigrant construction workers and the innovative strategies they and their allies devise to make their contributions to industry upgrading and upskilling more visible and valued. The third research area is Dr. Lowe’s work on smart approaches to state and local economic development, including efforts to align strategic forms of industrial recruitment and entrepreneurial support in ways that extend quality job opportunities to displaced workers and less educated individuals. Combined, this work unpacks the processes and practices that contribute to more equitable and inclusive forms of regional economic development and labor market adjustment. She has conducted most of this research in the North American context and recently in collaboration with researchers in the United Kingdom.

Dr. Lowe joined UNC-Chapel Hill’s Department of City and Regional Planning in 2005 after receiving her Ph.D. in Economic Development and Planning from MIT. She has consulted on projects for the International Labour Organization, Inter-American Development Bank, Bank of the Northeast Brazil, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise, the North Carolina Council for Entrepreneurial Development, and the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology.