Elham Shekari is a doctoral student in the department of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University. Growing up in Chicago and having an intrinsic curiosity about the social web of relations of people and their built environments, she developed an interest in understanding the intricacies of city and urban life—from the conglomeration of masses of people across diverse ages, backgrounds and abilities, the mass transit and transportation systems, the multimodal infrastructures, the architectural designs and streetscapes, the greenspaces and parks, the museums and conference centers, and how urban designs affect our day-to-day lives and the historical backdrop of how they came to be.
Elham’s major interest is in transportation planning for healthier communities and the relationship between transportation and the built environment. She has come to develop a particular interest in understanding transportation systems and its impact on public health—especially in terms of how auto-oriented developments has contributed to sedentary lifestyles and poor chronic conditions across the world. She hopes that her research can shed further light on how transportation infrastructures that incorporates walking, transit, multimodal infrastructures such as bike lanes and wide sidewalks, and micro-mobility options (such as e-scooters), and dense and compact developments can help contribute to more active populations and thus, healthier physical outcomes. The amount of time devoted to transportation and the mode through which transportation to and from various destinations takes place is an interesting research topic that may lend to important implications for the quality of our lives, and physical health.