Dr Carla Kayanan


Carla Maria Kayanan is a political-economic geographer with strong interests in the spatial organisation of work in the tech-economy and the resultant landscapes of urban inequality. Her research raises important theoretical issues related to large changes in industrial production and employment trends, as well as practical place-based considerations related to issues of justice, inclusivity, and regional growth. 


Prior to joining Maynooth, Carla held two IRC postdoc positions at UCD’s School of Geography investigating the role of metropolitan regions in Ireland’s National Planning Framework (NPF). Her recent publication in Territory, Politics, Governance based on findings demonstrates theoretical contributions to state-space scholarship, while a policy report reflecting on lessons learned five years into the NPF displays a long-standing practice, interest and belief in bridging research and policy. Other recent publications include a critical analysis of Dublin’s Edge City development and ongoing research on innovation districts. As part of the Data Stories team, Carla hopes to make a positive policy impact on Ireland’s housing and homelessness crisis and to develop a robust understanding on the connection between data governance and housing injustice. As an Assistant Lecturer, Carla intends to bring research insights into the classroom to create lively and engaging spaces for student discussion.


Carla teaches undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Geography and Critical Data Studies. She holds a PhD from the University of Michigan, an MA from the University of Chicago, and a BA from the University of Maryland College Park. Her work appears in academic journals and policy papers. 

Research Interests

At its core, I study the role urban planning and economic development have on creating socio-spatial inequality. This has taken various forms, from analysing innovation districts and their impacts on proximate low-income communities, to current work on Data Stories. Recently completed projects examine how Dublin’s tech-sector development contributes to issues of housing affordability, accessibility and rising homelessness; studying new emergent metropolitan governance structures resulting from Ireland’s National Planning Framework; and disentangling the detrimental impacts of Ireland’s urban-rural binary. 

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2023 Moore-Cherry, Niamh; Siggaard Andersen, Camilla; Kayanan, Carla Maria (2023) 'Engaging 15-Minute Cities as a New Development Model: The Potential of Waterford City' In: Urban Planning for the City of the Future. Bingley, UK : Emerald Publishing. [Link] https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80455-215-520231008
2023 Kayanan, Carla Maria; McCann, P.C. (2023) 'Innovation Districts and Misplaced Economic Development Incentives' In: Building the 21st Century City Through Public Private Partnerships: A tool for real estate developme. Abingdon, England; New York, NY : Routledge.
2022 Kayanan, C.M., Moore-Cherry, N., Clavin, A. (2022) 'Narratives, Inequalities and Civic Participation A Case for ‘More-Than-Technological’Approaches to Smart City Development' In: Equality in the City: Imaginaries of the Smart Future. Bristol, UK : Intellect Books.
2021 Kayanan, C.M., Moore-Cherry, N., Clavin, A. (2021) 'Cities Under Lockdown: Public Health, Urban Vulnerabilities, and Neighborhood Planning in Dublin' In: Volume 2: Housing and Home. Bristol, UK : Policy Press. [Link] [DOI]

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2023 Zoll, Deirdre; Vasudevan, Raksha; Gauger, Bri; Gelbard, Sarah; Kayanan, Carla Maria; Mah, Julie; Reyes, Ariadna (2023) 'Notes from the Trenches: Reflections from Recent PhD Graduates on Navigating the Academy'. Journal of Planning Education and Research, . [Link] https://doi.org/10.1177/0739456X231195729
2023 Philip Lawton (2023) 'From Edge City to City Edge'. Built Environment, 49 (1):58-74. [Link] https://doi.org/10.2148/benv.49.1.58
2023 Joshua Drucker; Carla Maria Kayanan (2023) 'Innovation Districts: Assessing Their Potential as a Strategy for Urban Economic Development'. Urban Affairs Review, . [Link] [DOI]
2023 Kayanan, C.M.; Moore-Cherry, N.; Tomaney, J. (2023) 'Metropolitanization, civic capacity and metropolitan governance: Ireland in the metropolitan century'. Territory, Politics, Governance, . [Link] [DOI]
2022 Moore-Cherry N.; Kayanan C.M.; Tomaney J.; Pike A. (2022) 'Governing the Metropolis: An International Review of Metropolitanisation, Metropolitan Governance and the Relationship with Sustainable Land Management'. Land, 11 (5). [DOI]
2022 Kayanan C.M.; Drucker J.; Renski H. (2022) 'Innovation Districts and Community Building: An Effective Strategy for Community Economic Development?'. Economic Development Quarterly, 36 (4):343-354. [DOI]
2022 Kayanan C.M. (2022) 'A critique of innovation districts: Entrepreneurial living and the burden of shouldering urban development'. Environment and Planning A, 54 (1):50-66. [DOI]
2021 Moore-Cherry, Niamh; Kayanan, Carla Maria; Tomaney, John (2021) 'National Planning principles and regional and local governance - the NPF three years on'. Town and Country Planning, (July/August).
2020 Zandiatashbar A.; Kayanan C.M. (2020) 'Negative consequences of innovation-igniting urban developments: Empirical evidence from three US cities'. Urban Planning, 5 (3):378-391. [DOI]
2018 Kayanan C.M.; Eichenmüller C.; Chambers J. (2018) 'Silicon slipways and slippery slopes: techno-rationality and the reinvigoration of neoliberal logics in the Dublin Docklands'. Space and Polity, 22 (1):50-66. [DOI]
2017 Buckman S.; Trivers I.; Kayanan C.M.; Black T. (2017) 'Hope for new communities as an alternative to sprawl?: Insights from developer perceptions of amenities in future new communities in the U.S. and U.K'. Land Use Policy, 60 :233-241. [DOI]

Published Report

Year Publication
2023 Niamh Moore-Cherry; Carla Maria Kayanan; John Tomaney (2023) Metropolitanisation as pathway to more effective urban and regional development in Ireland: Policy lessons and reflections. UCD Geary Institute for Public Policy, . [Link]
2020 Kayanan, Carla Maria; Pajević, Filipa (2020) Bright lights, tech city for the no collar worker. The Transnational Institute, . [Link]
2019 Drucker, J., Kayanan, C.M., Renski, H. (2019) Innovation Districts as a Strategy for Urban Economic Development: A Comparison of Four Cases. SSRN, . [Link] http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3498319
2014 Bieri, D., Kayanan, C.M. (2014) Improving TIF Transparency and Accountability: Towards a Consolidated View of TIF Activities in Michigan. SSRN, . [Link] http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2476143
2014 Trivers, Ian; Buckman, Stephen; Kayanan, Carla Maria; Black, Tristan (2014) Innovations in New Communities Survey 2014. Urban Land Institute, .

Book Review

Year Publication
2023 Carla Maria Kayanan (2023) Review of University City: History, Race, and Community in the Era of the Innovation District. [Book Review] [Link]
2019 Kayanan, CM (2019) Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation. HOBOKEN: [Book Review] [DOI]
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