Nisha Botchwey Wins 2021 Dale Prize

Headshot of Nisha Botchwey

December 17, 2020 | Atlanta, GA

By Zoe Kafkes

Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning and Associate Dean for Academic Programs with Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) Nisha Botchwey was announced the Scholar Prize winner for the 2021 William R. and June Dale Prize for Excellence in Urban and Regional Planning. This year’s award theme is, “Planning in the Pandemic: Public Health and Social Justice.” 

Botchwey’s research concentrates on the intersection of public health and the built environment, with an emphasis on youth engagement. She also holds an appointment as an adjunct professor with Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.

“I am humbled and thankful to be awarded the 2021 Dale Prize,” Botchwey said. 

“The current crisis has reminded us how interconnected planning is with public health, forced us to innovate our educational delivery systems, and spotlighted the continued disparities that plague low income and BIPOC communities,” she said. “I hope this prize announcement and the activities that follow ignite action for us to plan, design, and maintain healthy places that allow all communities to be resilient and thrive, especially the most marginalized.”

Botchwey is the director of the Healthy Places Lab within the School of City and Regional Planning. Through the lens of the built environment, the lab addresses the complex social, economic, and environmental determinants of health. Its research and projects focus on community engagement, youth advocacy, health equity, and measurement of the built environment with emerging technologies.

“Dr. Botchwey has always included social justice in her teaching and research,” College of Design Dean Steven P. French said. “Investigating the social justice aspects of the pandemic is an important extension of her research program. I am thrilled to have her recognized with the Dale Award.”

Botchwey began her role with GTPE in March immediately before the transition to virtual learning. She has played a key role in Georgia Tech’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I was confident that Nisha Botchwey’s experience with community engagement would enhance GTPE growth plans and elevate the quality of our offerings for an ever-increasing, diverse population of learners,” Nelson Baker, dean of Georgia Tech Professional Education, said. 

“She put this experience to work immediately as a leader of the Institute’s rapid transition to virtual learning at the start of Covid-19. She is extremely effective and driven, and her unique perspective is what ties it all together and exemplifies the Institute’s mission to improve the human condition. We are extremely proud, but not at all surprised, that she has won this prestigious award in recognition of her important work in this area,” he said.

The Dale Prize is awarded by California State Polytechnic University, Pomona’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning to one scholar and one practitioner each year. It aims to honor planning excellence and encourage dialogue between scholarship and practice. Awardees participate in a colloquium where they present their work and interact with students. This year’s celebration will be completely virtual.

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