Jana Cephas is a designer and historian who studies the effects of large socio-economic forces on cities, how technology and technical thinking mediate the encounters between people and places, and how labor practices interface with the totalizing effects of architecture. Jana analyzes both ordinary and critical spatial practices to recover the knowledges transmitted through the bodies and buildings of urban environments. In her current book project, Fordism and the City, Jana deploys these frameworks to examine the agonism structuring Fordism and urbanization in early twentieth-century Detroit.
Jana is also the founding director of Studio Plat, a geospatial research and development practice that examines the past, present, and future of cities. Studio Plat’s mission is to support communities of urban change makers in part by helping mission-driven organizations make cities better places to live, work, and play, and by making urban research available and accessible to the broader public. Jana’s urban design work has built upon these themes by integrating scholarship and practice to produce innovative and lively urban spaces, such as the St. Joseph Rebuild Center, a disaster recovery center in New Orleans that was awarded a 2009 Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence and the 2009 NCARB Prize for the Creative Integration of Practice and Education.
Prior to coming to Northeastern, Jana was a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Society of Fellows at the University of Michigan. She holds a Ph.D. in Architecture and Urbanism from Harvard University, an M.Arch. from the University of Detroit Mercy, and was the 2011 Critical Studies Fellow at Cranbrook Academy of Art.